Women’s Hockey: Defense derails Terriers in loss to UNH

By Joe Eachus

In the past five matchups between Boston University and the University of New Hampshire, the away team has emerged victorious. That streak stretches to six after Friday evening’s result, as the Wildcats (10-10-1, 7-6-1 HEA) took down the Terriers (9-9-2, 7-7-1 HEA), 4-1 at Walter Brown Arena.

BU’s efforts were largely doomed by their defensive effort, as junior goaltender Callie Shanahan’s return nearly a year after her previous appearance was spoiled, allowing 4 goals on 16 shots. Two would come on defensive breakdowns resulting in 2-on-1 opportunities, and one off an incredibly unlucky bounce.

On the stat sheet, the game was tilted in the Terriers’ favor, with 31 shots and 28-16 on faceoffs, but they could not solve UNH freshman goaltender Sedona Blair.

UNH junior forward Brooke Hammer got the scoring started for the Wildcats six minutes in, shoveling the puck home amidst chaos in front of the net following graduate defenseman Rae Breton’s point shot.

The Wildcats would double their lead off one of the wildest bounces in recent memory, as junior defenseman Maeve Kelly’s attempted breakout pass in the BU zone took one ricochet off UNH senior forward Chavonne Truter’s skate, another off of junior defenseman Maggie Hanzel’s leg, and past an unset Shanahan into the back of the net.

The second period was defined by the penalty kill, with six combined power play opportunities killed off by the two teams. That didn’t stop UNH from doubling their lead in the second frame.

To start off the run, Blair made an incredible save on a wide-open Sydney Healey in the slot, and several key blocks from UNH defenders kept BU off the board.

As senior defenseman Andi Calderone attempted to break out of the defensive zone, she was stripped of the puck, and Tamara Thierus easily threaded the needle past a diving Nadia Mattivi to Danika Botterill for a tap-in goal. 

Three minutes later, BU was caught with three skaters deep in the offensive zone, and UNH turned it into a 3-on-1. Graduate forward Mikah Baptiste passed cross-crease to freshman defenseman Sadie Makokiks for her first collegiate goal, and made it 4-0 UNH.

A power-play opportunity near the end of the second frame gave the Terriers a chance to gain some momentum heading into intermission, but their effort was largely stagnant.

BU finally got on the board with 6:50 remaining, with sophomore forward Luisa Welcke leaving a drop pass for graduate defenseman Nadia Mattivi, who found Welcke back-door to spoil Blair’s otherwise-spectacular night. Blair turned aside 30 of 31 shots.

Though they’d have sustained pressure during the final minutes, including one last power-play and the goalie pulled, BU could not find the back of the net again and fell short in what was a much closer game than the score would indicate.

The Terriers play again on Saturday in Storrs against UConn at 3 p.m. The game will be available to stream on ESPN+.