MINNEAPOLIS – Few Division I women’s hockey teams this season have been as successful spreading the wealth offensively as Boston University, and the Terriers proved it Friday night.
BU’s four goals in its 4-0 national semifinal win against Mercyhurst came off the sticks of four different Terrier players, thus continuing a trend this season where BU has been able to rely on many weapons as opposed to the just one or two big stars that many teams have to lean on heavily.
Eight players on this season’s Terriers squad have at least 23 points this season, and four of those eight found the net against the Lakers Friday night.
Fans were only settling into the Ridder Arena seats when Terriers senior forward Janelle Kohanchuk put her team-leading 24th goal of the season past MU goaltender Stephanie Ciampa 13 seconds into the game.
BU then doubled its lead exactly one minute into the second period when senior forward Isabel Menard found the net for her 16th goal of her final collegiate campaign.
Two more BU goals came in Friday’s third and final frame, and the first of those two came from a Terrier that, offensively, normally flies well under opponents’ radars. Senior defenseman Kathryn Miller had only scored nine goals in her nearly four full seasons in Boston before Friday’s game, but she scored her second goal of the season past Ciampa at the 3:02 mark of the night’s third period.
|2013 WOMEN’S FROZEN FOUR|
|National Championship Game:|
|Box Score | Recap | Highlights | Photos|
|Feature: Gophers build tradition at Ridder Arena|
|Final Preview: Tough Sunday ahead|
|Game 2: Boston U. defeats Mercyhurst|
|Game 1: Minnesota escapes BC in OT|
|Highlights | Scoreboard|
|Feature: Gophers’ Davis proves mettle|
|Feature: Boston U. spreads offense|
|Preview: Pressure lifts for Minnesota|
|Preview: Mercyhurst wants respect|
|Brackets: Interactive | Printable|
|More: Scoreboard | Champ. Info|
BU junior forward and Terriers’ captain Marie-Philip Poulin then rounded off her team’s scoring Friday with their fourth goal of the night and her 18th of the season at 9:57.
Just about the only thing that went against BU in the end Friday was that it was unable to secure a shutout for senior goaltender Kerrin Sperry. Sperry played well, stopping 26 of the 27 shots on goal that she faced, but the Lakers’ Christie Cicero scored with 1:53 left in the game after picking up a loose puck in front of Sperry’s crease and slotting home.
BU’s top two lines produced goals Friday night – Poulin and Kohanchuk play together along with freshman forward Sarah Lefort on the Terriers’ top line. Head coach Brian Durocher said that he’s glad his team has been able to enjoy such a luxury instead of having to rely on just one line to score most of the team’s goals.
“It’s obviously hard to say, ‘okay, we’re going to shut down this line or match up against this [other] line,’ and having really two top lines is fantastic for us,” Durocher said.
“I keep calling kids on the back line to keep it pretty simple, but they’ll get their shots on net, and they’ll put pressure on people.”
Sperry echoed her coach’s sentiments, saying she’s confident that anybody on the team could score when presented with the opportunity to do so.
“I believe that everyone on our team on any given day could take [the puck] down and put it in the net,” Sperry said. “We have some girls on the team who might not play as much and are playing their roles supporting, and I think that depth can’t always be described through the number of points that you score or how many shutouts you have, but your teammates know about you.”
BU will play for its first national championship Sunday against Minnesota. Although the Golden Gophers will have home-ice advantage in the game, Sperry felt that BU’s march to the summit is continuing at speed, and that the Terriers have what it takes to take on the undefeated Gophers with a potential first national title on the line.
“I feel that this team is very strong, not only because we have talent, but also because we have girls on this team who support us and believe in us,” Sperry said. “And we have a coaching staff who have supported us and believed in us, and we have a school that has continued to support us, financially or otherwise, at a remarkable rate, and I think that could give us some success.”
Success has already come, of course, in that BU has made it as far as it has this season. On Sunday afternoon, though, the Terriers could take that one last step forward and reach the very top of the mountain.