Dog Eat Dog: Terriers vs Huskies in Hockey East Semifinals
BU women looking for fifth straight league crown
After a decisive 6-1 victory in the third game of a best-of-three Hockey East quarterfinal series against Vermont on February 28, the BU women’s ice hockey team advances to the semifinals tomorrow, Saturday, March 5, facing a familiar, but formidable, foe in the Northeastern Huskies.
The Terrier women, led by head coach Brian Durocher (SED’78), defeated Vermont 3-0 in game one of the quarterfinal series on February 26, but fell to the Catamounts 4-2 the following day, setting up a win-or-go home match on Sunday. It was the Catamounts who had to go home. The Terriers enjoyed home ice all weekend at Walter Brown Arena and made sure Sunday’s game wasn’t their last, pouring in six goals from five players.
“The kids relaxed and played well in the final game, and that’s something I try to make sure we’re ready to do when it comes to playoffs—not being uptight and not worrying about making mistakes,” Durocher says.
Saturday’s league semifinals, being played at Merrimack College, feature a field of mostly Boston-centric teams battling not only for the Hockey East crown, but for an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, which begins March 11. The first semifinal game sees an undefeated Boston College as top seed, facing fourth-seed University of Connecticut. Third-seeded BU then takes on second-seeded Northeastern. The winners will go head-to-head in the Hockey East championship game on Sunday.
“Northeastern has earned their stake in the tournament and Boston College is just a fantastic team, so we’re going to have to get by two really tough teams,” says Durocher.
In this season’s fourth meeting of the two, the Huskies hold a 3-1 advantage over the Terriers. One of those wins was in this year’s Beanpot semifinal, when Northeastern edged out BU 3-2.
The latest edition of the crosstown rivalry will be in a single-elimination setting, but the game plan for the Terriers will be the same as for previous matches: stop Huskies forward Kendall Coyne. The senior standout has tallied 82 points this season, with 5 goals and 3 assists against BU. She ranks first in Northeastern ice hockey history in career goals (140) and points (247).
“Without a doubt, defensively we’ve got to keep a close eye on Kendall Coyne,” Durocher says. “It’s not one person’s job—it’s everybody’s job. We want to take her out of her rhythm, and it’s very hard to do that.”
One of the players tasked with slowing Coyne down is defender Alexis Crossley (CAS’17), but it isn’t just Coyne the Terriers have to be concerned with, she says. “They’re a good skating team and their defense plays well at both ends of the ice. They have some pretty offensive defense, so we need to find a way to get in front of them and make our own plays happen from there.”
The 22-13-2 Terriers have momentum going for them as they head into the Hockey East semifinals—they’ve won five of their last seven games. Besting Northeastern and then the winner of the Boston College–Connecticut matchup on Sunday would give the Terriers their fifth-straight Hockey East title.
“We can go from a solid season to a pretty darn good season with two more wins, because that gets you a Hockey East championship and a trip to the NCAA Tournament,” says Durocher. “So we would automatically reach a couple of big goals.”
As has been the case all season, the Terrier women will benefit from the leadership and athletic prowess of wing Sarah Lefort (SAR’16), who became BU’s all-time leader in points scored (183) after a goal and an assist last weekend against Vermont. Her career goal (92) and assist (91) totals surpass the record of 181 points set by former teammate and two-time Olympic gold medalist Marie-Philip Poulin (CAS’15).
“There have been a lot of great names that have come through the BU program in the past, so it’s definitely an honor to be up there with them,” says Lefort. “My points are just a result of hard work and great chemistry with my linemates throughout the years.”
The men’s ice hockey team starts its Hockey East tournament play this weekend as well. The Terrier men take on the University of Massachusetts in a best-of-three opening round series at Agganis Arena on Friday, March 4, Saturday, March 5, and if needed, Sunday, March 6. The winner of the series will advance to the men’s Hockey East quarterfinals next weekend.
The Boston University women’s ice hockey team faces Northeastern in the Hockey East semifinals on Saturday, March 5, at 4:30 p.m., at Merrimack College, 315 Turnpike Rd., North Andover, Mass. The second semifinal game, BC vs UConn, precedes, at 1:30 p.m. The championship game is Sunday, March 6, at 1:30 p.m., at Merrimack. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for 14 and under; purchase tickets here, in person, or by calling the Merrimack box office at 978-837-5324.
The BU men’s hockey team will host the Hockey East quarterfinals Friday, March 4, through Sunday, March 6. The Terriers will face off in the best two out of three series against UMass tonight, March 4, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 5, at 7 p.m., and if needed, Sunday, March 6, at 7 p.m. All games will be played at Agganis Arena. Purchase tickets ($21) here or at the Agganis box office, 925 Commonwealth Ave.
Josh Gutchess can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments