September 29, 2013

BU women win OT thriller against Western University

By Joshua Kummins

Goaltender Kerrin Sperry got the start in BU's clash with visiting Western University.

BOSTON -- The No. 4 Boston University Terrier women opened their 2013-14 season in exciting fashion on Friday night at Walter Brown Arena, defeating the Western University (Ontario) Mustangs by a 4-3 score in overtime.

Dakota Woodworth (Carlisle, Mass.), who appeared in 35 games as a freshman last season, opened the scoring with a nice goal from between the circles at 7:59 of the first period, and then capped the scoring by depositing the winning puck to lift the Scarlet and White to their first victory of the new campaign.

“It was a little too long of a game,” veteran Terrier head coach Brian Durocher (Longmeadow, Mass.) said. “Two hours and 20 minutes. I’m used to games being over in two hours. But it was the opening game, a lot of penalties called.”

Games between teams from the United States and Canada usually have a bit of an extra level of “chippiness,” and this case was no different. BU was given ten chances on the power play, but could not capitalize on any of them.

On the flip side, Western was unable to convert on any of its six man-up chances, but did answer the bell to re-tie the score on two occasions in the third period, keeping the hosts on their toes.

“We didn’t protect the lead or the situation in the end because we let (Western) tie it up twice,” Durocher said. “But we have a learning curve that is a bit bigger than it has been in the past few years when we had (more) veterans and experienced players here.”  

BU is missing some significant contributors this season as dynamic forward Marie-Philip Poulin is off training with Team Canada for the 2014 Olympics and defender Shannon Doyle out after suffering an injury late in the preseason.

With those two absent and two of the team’s other three top point scorers having graduated, the Terriers will certainly be looking for scoring from other avenues, so the emergence of freshman of rookie Maddie Elia with two goals was certainly very welcome.

Elia lit the lamp for both of her goals in the third period, beating Western fourth-year Olivia Ross on a center-slot wrister at 12:50, before upping the Terriers with their third goal at 15:56. On the second play, the Lewiston, N.Y. native batted in a rebound along the post, taking an assist from senior captain and Ontario native Louise Warren.

“I do like the way the team was resilient,” Durocher added. “It is going to take time to find our penalty killers, power plays, and line combinations. More importantly, a lot of people are moving up into escalated roles from where they’ve been in the past, and it takes time to get used to that.”

“Maddie’s got great reach, she’s a tall kid and a really wonderful pair of hands. She’s going to make people miss out there from time-to-time and will really sneak past a lot of people.”

On the winner just 75 seconds into the extra session, Woodworth picked up a rebound in front off an initial shot from second-year Rebecca Russo, backhanding the puck high over Ross’ shoulder.

“It feels great to start the year out like that,” the Boston Shamrocks product said. “It is good for momentum going into the next couple weeks in practice before the regular season. … Hopefully, I’m one of the more dependable players. I want to be a player Coach can rely on for a goal. It’s definitely different being a sophomore coming back, and not a freshman anymore.”

Durocher was also happy to be able to split time in goal between a pair of locals in senior Kerrin Sperry (North Reading, Mass.) and newcomer Victoria Hanson (Stoughton, Mass.), who joins the program from Lawrence Academy. After Sperry made seven stops in 29:42, the rookie earned the victory, allowing two goals on 15 shots, including seven in the third period alone, over 31:33.

BU will not return to action until Oct. 11 and 12 when it takes to the ECAC for the first of four consecutive road games to open the season. The Terriers’ regular season opener will take place at RPI’s historic Houston Field House. 

Twitter: @JoshuaKummins