By Claire Smieszny
Boston University women’s ice hockey (5-6-1, 4-5-0 HE) fell to the Providence College Friars (4-9-0, 3-5-0 HE) 2-1 in Providence, Rhode Island on Saturday. This loss marks BU’s third in a row after falling to Harvard University and Boston College this past week.
“We put together a good effort in the third…they came out and did a little bit better, but a little too-little-too-late,” coach Tara Watchorn said.
The game started with Providence playing aggressively out of the gate. The Friars sustained good pressure in BU’s defensive end for much of the first period, recording an impressive fourteen shots in the first 10 minutes compared to BU’s mere three.
Unfortunately for Providence, graduate goaltender Alexa Matses was on fire for the Terriers. Matses stood strong in net to keep the score 0-0, making several impressive saves such as a poke check on graduate forward Grace Shirley right in front of the net.
Several penalties were exchanged in the period, with the Terriers doing a good job drawing responding fouls on Providence. The power plays BU had would bring out their best chances of the period, and get them closer to the Friars in the shot count.
The game would remain scoreless heading into the first intermission, with the Terriers catching up to the Friars and getting a couple good chances on net to finish out the period, such as a close miss by sophomore forward Sydney Healey off a pass from sophomore forward Clara Yuhn on the power play.
Going into the second period, both teams were clearly frustrated with the lack of scoring in the first. The Friars especially would find themselves in the box quite often, racking up four penalties in the period.
Providence struck first with 6:45 left to go in the second, when sophomore forward Megane Quirion collected her own rebound of Matses’s pad for a wrap around goal. Quirion’s first of the season made it 1-0 Friars.
BU responded quickly, just under two minutes after Providence’s goal. The Terriers capitalized off one of their many man advantage chances to tie it up, with junior defender Maggie Hanzel’s shot going off the post and in.
“[Hanzel is] playing with confidence,” Watchorn said. “The skill set’s always been there, it’s just making it impactful.”
Both teams went back and forth with a puck creating chances for themselves, as both goals had opened up a second gear for each team. Unfortunately for the Terriers, Providence would reach the back of the net again with just five seconds remaining in the period.
Shirley knocked a long pass out of the air inside of the blue line where she had gotten in behind BU’s defense. All alone in front of the net, Shirley ripped a wrister past Matses’ blocker side to put the Friars up a goal heading into the third.
“Unfortunately, I thought that the two goals against were controllable decisions and moments for us where we need to figure out how to play a team game,” Watchorn noted.
Despite the lead, Providence didn’t have much over the Terriers in this game. Heading into the third, the shots on goal count sat 18-17 Friars. The Terriers were only missing the momentum of the game going into the final period.
This disadvantage would prove to be costly for BU. Coming out strong in the third, Providence showed no signs of slowing down as they fired away on Matses. The Friars would rack up nine shots in the first four minutes of the period, giving the Terriers difficulty getting the puck out of their own end.
Although the Terriers would come back with some fight later in the third, the score would remain the same. Goaltending would ultimately be the decider in this match, as shots on goal at the end of the game came to close 23-20 Friars count. Providence junior goaltender Hope Walinski would come out of the game with an impressive .950 save percentage and her third win of the season.
The Terriers now shift their focus to the Smashville Showcase next weekend in Nashville, TN. Meeting two out-of-conference competitors, they face off against Robert Morris on Friday at 5 p.m., and Minnesota State Sunday at 1 p.m.