An amazing season came to an end Sunday in the biggest game on the national stage, as the Boston University women’s ice hockey team fell, 4-1, to top-seeded Wisconsin in the championship game of the NCAA Frozen Four at Tullio Arena in Erie, Pa.
After a scoreless first period, the Badgers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second, capped by a power-play tally at 15:36 of the period. BU responded with a breakaway goal by Marie-Philip Poulin (SED’14) just 24 seconds later to cut the deficit in half.
Wisconsin never allowed the third-seeded Terriers to draw even, however, and added an insurance goal with 3:27 left in regulation. With help from senior forward Meghan Duggan, who yesterday won the 2011 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, honoring the top player in NCAA Division 1 women’s ice hockey, Wisconsin closed out the scoring with an empty-netter in the final seconds to earn its fourth national title in the last six seasons.
Goaltender Kerrin Sperry (CAS’14) made a career-high 33 saves for the Terriers, the first team from Hockey East ever to advance to the national title game.
In only its sixth year as a varsity team, BU ended the season with a 27-7-4 record, breaking the program mark for victories.
And since 17 of the 21 players who dressed for Sunday’s championship tilt will return next season, the future looks bright for the Terriers.
Holly Lorms (SMG’11), Jillian Kirchner (SAR’11), and Lauren Cherewyk (COM’11) graduate this year with a program record for wins by a class, with 77. Graduate student Catherine Ward (GSM’12), who came to campus last fall to use her final year of collegiate eligibility, was named to the All-America Second Team on Thursday.
Head coach Brian Durocher (SED’78), who has built his alma mater’s women’s hockey program into one of the country’s best, is a candidate for the National Coach of the Year award, which will be presented later this week.
BU advanced to the title game with a 4-1 triumph over second-seeded Cornell in the semifinals on Friday evening. After allowing the Big Red to score the game’s first goal just 5:29 into the contest, Ward tied it up before the end of the first. Kirchner and Jenelle Kohanchuk (CGS’10, SAR’12) each scored in a span of 50 seconds in the middle period to give the Terriers a lead they would not relinquish.
Also playing in an NCAA game on Friday, the men’s basketball Terriers showed the nation that they are a program on the rise with an impressive effort against top-seeded Kansas in the second round of the national tournament in Tulsa, Okla.
Despite a final score of 72-53 in the Jayhawks’ favor, the Terriers were in the game almost all the way. They made things interesting by trailing by only four points at halftime and getting to within six, 47-41, with 10 minutes left in the game. But Kansas was able to pull ahead, demonstrating why it’s been near the top of the national rankings all season long.
Playing in his final collegiate game, John Holland (CGS’09, COM’11) scored a game-high 19 points, while D. J. Irving (CGS’12) registered 11 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds.
Brian Kelley can be reached at email@example.com.