Mass. College Hockey: BU Women’s Wins Third Straight Hockey East Championship

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Boston University sports information department, here’s this evening’s release about the women’s ice hockey team, which captured its third straight Hockey East crown this afternoon with a 3-2 win over archival Boston College:

HYANNIS, Mass. –  The Boston University women’s ice hockey team won its third straight Hockey East championship after a 3-2 come-from-behind win over fourth-ranked and top-seeded Boston College on Sunday afternoon at the Hyannis Youth & Community Center.

BU (24-12-1) trailed by a goal entering the third period, but a power-play goal by senior captain Louise Warren and freshman Maddie Elia’s game-winner within the first 8:12 of the frame propelled the Terriers back to the NCAA tournament for the fifth straight year. BU joins New Hampshire as the only schools with four or more conference crowns.

The Terriers will visit No. 1 Minnesota in a rematch of last season’s national championship game. The quarterfinal contest will be played at Ridder Arena at 5 p.m. ET. BC (27-6-3) also advanced to the national tournament with an at-large bid, making it the third straight year that both schools have made the final eight.

Senior goaltender Kerrin Sperry was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive season after her second straight 40-plus save performance of the weekend. She stopped 119 of the 125 shots she faced during the three tournament tilt, including all 18 that BC threw at her in the final frame. The North Reading, Mass., native is the second back-to-back MVP honoree in the 12-year tournament history and won her last nine Hockey East tournament starts, which is a league record.

Sophomore Rebecca Russo tallied a goal and assisted on Elia’s winner. Senior Kaleigh Fratkin had an assist, as did sophomore Lillian Ribeirinha-Braga and junior Shannon Stoneburgh. Fratkin, Russo, Sperry and Warren were all chosen for the All-Tournament Team.

Dana Trivigno gave BC a 1-0 lead just 1:15 into the proceedings, but Russo tied the game at the 8:04 mark with her second power-play goal of the weekend. After the Eagles cleared the zone, Stoneburgh retrieved the puck and went indirect off the boards to Russo in the neutral zone. The sophomore forward skated into the BC zone and beat Corinne Boyles (31 saves) with a wrister from the slot for her 11th goal of the season.

Sperry and the Terrier penalty killers were tasked with killing two minutes of a 5-on-3 power play after sophomores Sarah Lefort and Dakota Woodworth each took a penalty on the same shift. They came through in fine style and held the Eagles to just one shot on goal.

BC took a 2-1 lead into the second period thanks to a Taylor Wasylk goal with 26 seconds to play in the first. Sophomore Jordan Juron thought she tied the game early in the second stanza when her shot bounced off Boyles and appeared to cross the goal line. Video replay confirmed that Boyles gloved the puck on the line just in time to keep the Eagles on top. The Terriers outplayed the Eagles in the middle frame, outshooting BC by a 14-5 margin.

Warren tied the game, 2-2, with the Terriers’ second power-play goal of the game at the 2:50 mark of the third period. Sophomore Lillian Ribeirinha-Braga cycled the puck to Fratkin, who fired the perfect pass to Warren in front. She redirected it past Boyles for her 27th strike of the season.

Elia provided the tournament-winner at the 8:12 juncture of the period. Off an offensive-zone draw, Russo’s initial shot was turned aside by Boyles, but Elia collected the rebound, wrapped around the cage and tucked the puck into the back of the net for her 13th goal of the season.

The Eagles pressed in the final five minutes, but Sperry was sharp in turning aside all eight shots she faced within that time frame. Boyles was pulled in favor of an extra attacker with 1:02 remaining in regulation, but the Terriers held BC to just one shot on goal in the final minute.

BU has won all three tournaments decided in Hyannis. The Terriers went 3-1-0 against the WCHA this season, including two wins over Minnesota Duluth.

Mass. College Hockey: BU’s Lefort Named Hockey East Player Of The Year

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Boston University sports information department, here’s this evening’s release about Sarah Lefort, who was named the Hockey East Player of the Year:

HYANNIS, Mass. – Sophomore Sarah Lefort (Ormstown, Que.) of the Boston University women’s ice hockey team was unanimously chosen as the Hockey East Player of the Year, as announced at the league’s annual awards banquet on Friday night.

Lefort is the first Terrier to receive this honor in the program’s nine-year history. In addition to her Player of the Year accolade, Lefort was the only unanimous First-Team All-Star. She joined seniors Kaleigh Fratkin (Burnaby, B.C.) and Louise Warren (Pembroke, Ont.) on that squad as BU led all schools with three first-team selections.

The Ormstown, Que., native was the league’s most dominant offensive player in 2013-14, both overall and within conference competition. In 21 league games, Lefort led Hockey East with 19 goals, 17 assists and 36 points. Four of her 19 markers were game-winners and she was tied with Rookie of the Year Andie Anastos from Boston College for the best plus-minus rating in conference play (+21).

A top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, Lefort leads the nation with 30 goals in 35 games and ranks fourth in the NCAA with 53 points (30g, 23a). She has an NCAA-best eight game-winning goals, six of which broke ties. Lefort averaged a league-best 1.51 points per game and is tied with Fratkin for the league lead in assists. The sophomore sensation was held without a point in just nine games this year and compiled a 10-game point streak from Nov. 24 until Jan. 24 (12g, 11a).

Her best game came on Feb. 8 when the Terriers hosted New Hampshire at Walter Brown Arena. Lefort scored a career-high four goals and added an assist for a career-best five points in a 7-4 victory over the Wildcats. She also had a hat trick on Dec. 3 at Northeastern and posted 15 multi-point games during the regular season.

Warren, the Hockey East Three Stars Award winner, had 18 goals and 15 assists for 33 points in 21 league games. It was a career year for the senior captain, who finished the regular season third in the nation with 24 goals and second in Hockey East with 43 points (24g, 19a). She also led the league in plus-minus (+25) and shots on goal (183) during the regular season and was tied for the Hockey East lead with three shorthanded strikes.

Fratkin was also runner-up for the Best Defenseman award after a career season. The Burnaby, B.C., native led all league defensemen with 21 assists during the regular season. She was first among Hockey East blue liners with 19 points and 15 assists, as well as second with four goals, in 21 league games. Within Hockey East play, Fratkin was second behind defensive partner Lillian Ribeirinha-Braga (45) with 40 blocked shots.

BU will face Northeastern on Saturday (March 8) in the Hockey East semifinals at the Hyannis Youth and Community Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

Mass. College Hockey: BU Edges Providence, Advances To Hockey East Semifinals

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Boston University sports information department, here’s this afternoon’s release from the women’s hockey game. The Terriers edged Providence College, 3-2, and advanced to the Hockey East semifinals:

BOSTON – Senior captain Louise Warren tallied two goals, including the game-winner with 14:52 remaining in regulation, to help the Boston University women’s ice hockey team advance to the Hockey East semifinals with a 3-2 win over Providence on Saturday at Walter Brown Arena.

BU (22-12-1) will face third-seeded Northeastern next Saturday (March 8) at 4:30 p.m., in Hyannis, Mass. The first semifinal will feature top-seeded Boston College and No. 4 Vermont at 1:30 p.m., with the title game to take place the following day at 1:30 p.m. Providence finished its season with an 11-24-0 record.

Sophomore Sarah Lefort became the first player in the NCAA to score 30 goals this season with her second-period strike. She also assisted on Warren’s game-winner. Senior Kaleigh Fratkin had two assists, with sophomore Lillian Ribeirinha-Braga and freshmen Maddie Elia and Samantha Sutherland also adding assists.

Senior goaltender Kerrin Sperry was spectacular once again for the Terriers. She stopped 37 of 39 shots and collected her seventh straight Hockey East tournament victory. Sperry was perfect in the final frame, holding the Friars scoreless with 13 saves.

After a scoreless first period in which Providence outshot BU, 16-2, the Friars took a 1-0 lead just 47 seconds into the second stanza. With two seconds remaining on a 5-on-3 penalty, Cassidy Carels found Beth Hanrahan alone at the top of the crease for an easy finish.

Warren responded at the 9:06 mark of the period to tie the game, 1-1. Fratkin took a shot from the right point that Sarah Bryant (19 saves) stopped. The rebound caromed to Sutherland, who pushed it to Warren amidst a sea of players. The senior captain knocked it home for her 25th goal of the year.

It took just 45 seconds for Lefort to give BU its first lead of the game. Ribeirinha-Braga passed the puck to Fratkin at the top of the zone, and the senior blue liner again fired a shot from the right point. This time, Lefort redirected it from the left circle past Bryant for her NCAA-best 30th goal of the season.

Lexi Romanchuk tied the game, 2-2, exactly four minutes later when her blast from the top of the zone got through traffic and past Sperry. The score remained that way until the 5:08 mark of the third period when BU converted on a power-play chance. Lefort skated into the right circle and fired a shot towards goal. Elia had two rebound chances stopped on the doorstep before Warren found space five-hole and finished for her 26th tally of the season.

The Friars pulled their goaltender with 1:17 remaining in regulation and had several chances to tie the game, but Sperry and the BU defense stood tall and survived several final-minute defensive-zone draws to secure the victory.

This was the third straight year that the Terriers ended the Friars’ season. BU bested Providence in the 2012 Hockey East title game and again in last year’s semifinal. It is the first time in the league’s history that Providence did not reach the Hockey East semifinals.

BU is 2-1-0 this season against Northeastern, with both wins coming on the road. The Huskies earned a 4-2 win at Walter Brown Arena on Jan. 19 in the last meeting between the two teams.

Mass. College Hockey: BU’s Durocher Signs Contract Extension

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Boston University sports information department, here’s this afternoon’s release about women’s ice hockey head coach Brian Durocher, who signed a contract extension:

BOSTON – After guiding the Boston University women’s ice hockey team to its second trip to the national title game in the last three seasons, head coach Brian Durocher has signed a contract extension to remain at BU through the 2018-19 season, Assistant Vice President and Director of Athletics Mike Lynch announced Monday.

“I’m excited that Coach Durocher has agreed to lead our women’s ice hockey program for many more years to come,” Lynch said. “We knew we hired a terrific coach when he took over the program at its inception nine years ago, but he has exceeded every expectation and continues to elevate the program to new heights each year. It’s incredible how far this team has come in just eight seasons as a varsity program, and that is thanks to Brian’s exceptional leadership.”

Durocher has been at the helm of the women’s ice hockey program since its inaugural season in 2005-06. In eight seasons, Durocher has guided the Terriers to three Hockey East championships, four straight NCAA tournament appearances and two trips to the NCAA title game. He holds a record of 159-93-37 and has won 20 games in each of the last three seasons, including a program-record 28 victories this past season.

“I’d just like to thank Boston University, director of athletics Mike Lynch, his staff, Drew Marrochello and Nancy Lyons for the tremendous support they’ve given to our program and the opportunity for me to remain at a place I love and have a great appreciation for,” Durocher said.

Under Durocher, BU has become the premier program in Hockey East and is consistently among the top five teams in the nation. The Terriers, Hockey East regular-season champions for the second time in 2013, are the only team in Hockey East history to have played for a national championship, doing so in two of the last three seasons. BU has also finished in the top five of both national polls in each of the last three years.

The 2012-13 season was the best in program history, with Durocher guiding the team to a 28-6-3 record. The six losses were a program low and the team’s winning percentage was its highest ever (.797). Durocher garnered national attention, as he was named a finalist for the AHCA Division I Women’s Ice Hockey Coach of the Year award. BU bested six of the other nine teams in the final USCHO.com poll, winning eight games against top-10 opponents. The Terriers boasted four Hockey East All-Stars and two New England Division I All-Stars along with six different 15-goal scorers.

BU will return 18 letter winners from last season’s squad, including four skaters who scored at least 20 points in 2012-13. Starting goaltender Kerrin Sperry, the reigning Hockey East Tournament MVP, will be back between the pipes for her senior season after setting a new program record for career wins with 64. Louise Warren was named captain and classmate Kaleigh Fratkin will be an assistant captain while First-Team All-Star Shannon Doyle and All-Rookie honoree Sarah Lefort will each return.

Mass. College Hockey: BU Falls To Minnesota In National Title Game

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Boston University sports information department, here’s this evening’s release about the women’s hockey team, who lost to the University of Minnesota in the National Title Game:

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Playing in the program’s second national title game in the last three seasons, the No. 2 Boston University women’s ice hockey team dropped a 6-3 decision to top-ranked Minnesota on Sunday afternoon at Ridder Arena.

BU (28-6-3) finished its eighth varsity season with a program-record 28 wins and its third Hockey East title in the last four seasons. Nine seniors will graduate as the first senior class to advance to the NCAA tournament in each of their four seasons. Minnesota completed a perfect season with its 41st win to claim the program’s fifth national title.

Junior co-captain Marie-Philip Poulin potted a goal and added an assist while her linemates, freshman Sarah Lefort and senior Jenelle Kohanchuk, each had a goal of their own. Eight different Terriers recorded a point on the afternoon.

Junior goaltender Kerrin Sperry completed her record season with a 23-save effort on Sunday. She made several tremendous saves and won a program-record 24 games this season. Senior co-captain Jill Cardella and classmate Kathryn Miller never missed a game in their collegiate careers, playing in their 151st game in a BU uniform on Sunday.

Lefort had a golden opportunity to give BU a 1-0 lead 5:45 into the proceedings thanks to a great individual effort. She blocked a shot at the top of the BU zone and then raced in alone on Gopher goaltender Noora Raty, but her attempt was denied.

Not to be outdone, Sperry made three big saves against Amanda Kessel’s line with about 11:30 to go in the first period, including one from point-blank range below the left circle. However, the Gophers eventually broke through at the 11:38 mark of the period when Mira Jalosuo scored from the left circle on a power play to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead.

The Gophers extended their lead to 2-0 with 1:28 left in the first frame. With BU on its first power play of the game, Hannah Brandt created a 2-on-1 chance only to have her initial attempt stopped by Sperry. The rebound went behind the net and Brandt banked the puck off of Sperry and into the back of the net.

Lefort tied the game just 16 seconds later with one second remaining on the power play. Poulin had the puck on the left half-wall and got it to sophomore Shannon Stoneburgh at the left point. Stoneburgh’s shot was stopped by Raty, but Lefort pulled the rebound from Raty’s pads and quickly backhanded the puck home for her 24th goal of the season.

Minnesota controlled the tempo for the early part of the second stanza, but BU held its own thanks to strong shot blocking and steady goaltending by Sperry. The Terriers enjoyed a couple good chances, including a 2-on-1 chance by Lefort and Kohanchuk, but Raty was equal to the task.

It became a 3-1 Gopher lead at the 16:02 mark of the second period when Kessel fired a one-timer past Sperry from the right circle. After the Gophers went to a power play, they scored with 11.8 seconds remaining in the frame to take a 4-1 lead into the third period.

With the Terriers on a power play early in the third period, Poulin cut the deficit to 4-2 just 1:48 into the period when her blast from the top of the zone got by Raty. It was Poulin’s 19th goal of the season and 55th point of the campaign. Junior Shannon Doyle and Cardella each assisted on the goal.

Sperry robbed Kessel with 15:40 left in the third period with what was likely her best save of the afternoon. Kessel made a great move to get around a defender, but Sperry was in great position and turned aside Kessel’s bid.

Poulin nearly cut the Gophers’ lead to just a goal at 4-3 after she dangled through the defense, but her chance was turned aside by the blocker of Raty. On the ensuing rush down the other end of the ice, the Gophers made it a 5-2 game when Rachel Ramsey converted a tap-in the crease.

BU never gave up, however, and the Terriers made it a 5-3 game with an extra-attacker goal at the 17:08 mark of the period. Junior Kaleigh Fratkin’s shot was blocked by a defender, but Kohanchuk quickly collected the puck and scored her team-leading 25th goal of the season. Kessel completed the scoring with an empty-net goal with 51 seconds remaining in regulation.

In just eight seasons as a varsity program, BU remains the only Hockey East school to advance to an NCAA title game. The Terriers have won four NCAA tournament games, including two at Walter Brown Arena.