Women’s Hockey: Growing pains doom Terriers in loss to Northeastern

Featured image: Andrew Burke-Stevens0n

By Claire Smieszny

Friday night, Boston University Women’s Ice Hockey (6-7-2, 4-5-1 HE)  fell in overtime to the Northeastern University Huskies (11-8-0, 7-6-0 HE) in a rematch of this year’s opening weekend. 

On the late loss, head coach Tara Watchorn said “I think this group is still learning how to win…We’re fighting ourselves a little bit.” 

In the first period, both teams started out aggressive and the puck bounced back and forth in the neutral zone. There were a couple chances off the rush, but neither team was able to set up a sustained offense. Eventually Northeastern picked up their game and were able to control the puck and get some chances on net.

BU couldn’t find the same composure in their play, and ended up turning over the puck on most of their transitions in the neutral zone. Their passes weren’t connecting, and would result in the Huskies picking it up and getting a shot off.

The Huskies dominated for the rest of the first period, unwilling to let the puck out of BU’s defensive end. Despite their chances, graduate goaltender Alexa Matses was on fire in front of her former team, stopping all of Northeastern’s shots and keeping it a scoreless game heading into the second. 

The Terriers came back with some newfound energy in the second period, keeping the puck deep in the Husky end of the ice. BU moved past them in the shot count while Northeastern stayed stagnant. They wouldn’t register a shot on goal in the second until nearly six minutes into the period. 

The Terriers’ continued pressure would eventually pay off, as they would record the first goal of the game with 11:45 left in the second. Senior forward Lacey Martin would come up with the puck and take it on the rush, sending it across to sophomore forward Clara Yuhn to fire it into the back of the net. 

“Clara shot off the pass, which I mean if Clara shoots off the pass I don’t know many goalies are going to stop that puck” said Watchorn.

Northeastern found their footing after the BU goal as it lit a fire underneath them. The puck spent more time in BU’s end of the ice and the Huskies got a couple more chances on net, testing Matses again. The game’s physical side also ramped up a bit as well, however no penalties were called. The period hardly saw any stoppages as the refs let it play out.

In the third the Terriers continued raining down shots on Northeastern’s net, but fifth year goaltender Gwyneth Philips stood tall between the pipes. This comes as no surprise, as Philips has an impressive .949 save percentage on the season.

Late in the game, one of the Huskies’ best players in fifth year forward Katy Knoll took the first penalty of the game and gave BU a man advantage. The Terriers maintained good offensive pressure on the power play, but it would be the Huskies who reached the back of the net next. Freshman forward Ella Blackmore, off a pass from sophomore defender Kristina Allard, had room to deke in front and tuck it past Matses. 

This goal gave Northeastern a surge in their offense, as they got another good chance shortly after, as Knoll would find herself all alone in front of Matses. BU’s goalie sprawled herself on the ice to prevent the Huskies from taking the lead.

No other goals came as regulation winded down, and the game headed into overtime. Northeastern would get the win in the end, as junior forward Skyler Irving would get the puck off a give-and-go with graduate student forward Peyton Anderson on a 2-on1 and send it past Matses’s shoulder. 

Despite the result, there were still a lot of elements the Terriers have to be proud of, and things they’re still working on. Watchorn said that “we’re just really leaning into how are we growing through this? How are we getting better every game and how are we going to make sure that by the time we get back, for the back half, we’re proud of the norms we’ve created, the habits and everything that defines us.”

BU now looks to Saturday’s game against the Providence College Friars to split the weekend with a win. Puck drops at 3.pm. at Schneider Arena in Providence, RI with streaming available on ESPN+.