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: Five Games To Watch This Weekend (Feb. 14 -16)

By NoontimeSports.com 

With another weekend quickly approaching, it is time to unveil our five games to watch this weekend. As always, make sure to circle back for updates. You can also follow along with in-game updates on Twitter (@NoontimeSports or @NoonSportsBlog), too.

Men’s Ice Hockey

No. 1 Boston College @ No. 14 Vermont (Friday, Feb. 14 / Saturday, Feb. 15) – The Eagles will look to continue their winning ways when they travel to Vermont for a weekend series.

BC is coming off their fifth-straight Boston Beanpot title as they defeated Northeastern, 4-1. Johnny Gaudreau, who netted one goal during his team’s win against the Huskies, is averaging 2.00 points per game. He currently leads all Division 1 skaters with 25 goals and 33 assists for 58 points.

Army vs. Bentley (Friday, Feb. 14 @ Army/ Saturday, Feb. 15 @ Bentley) – With three weeks of Atlantic Hockey remaining, the Falcons will look to keep pace Mercyhurst, the top squad in the conference.

The Falcons returned to the win column after dropping back-to-back tilts to the Lakers and UConn by finishing last weekend’s series with a 4-1 win over the Huskies. Jared Rickord, Justin Breton and Brett Switzer each netted one goal in the opening frame to provide Bentley with the lead for good.

Army and Bentley have met once this season with the Falcons claiming a 5-2 victory in West Point, New York. Similar to their last contest against UConn, Bentley used a 2-0 lead to secure their second victory of the season against the Black Knights.

Army will look to snap an 11-game skid, while the Falcons will attempt to end the weekend with back-to-back victories.

According to the weekend preview, Bentley needs just one more point to clinch a top-eight spot and a home series for the first round of their conference’s tournament.

No. 3 Babson @ No. 9 Norwich (Friday, Feb. 14) – Since falling to the Cadets at Frozen Fenway, the Beavers have won eight of nine contests. Their non-win was a 3-3 tie against Castleton State.

Babson is currently the top squad in the ECAC East with a 19-3-1 overall mark and leads Norwich by three points. The Beavers, who’ll travel to St. Michael’s tomorrow, needs to win one of their final two contests to secure their first conference regular-season crown since the 1989-90 season. Babson, though, has secured the right to host a quarterfinal and semifinal matchup.

Mike Driscoll currently leads the Green and White in points (23) and goals (11), while Nik Tasiopoulos is second in goals (10).

Women’s Ice Hockey

Boston University vs. Providence College (Saturday, Feb. 15 @ BU/ Sunday, Feb. 16 @ Providence) – The Terriers will look to bounce back following their two Beanpot losses with a weekend series against Providence, a squad that defeated BU earlier this season.

BU’s Sarah Lefort ranks first in Hockey East in point scoring (47), goal scoring (27) and assist scoring (20). Lefort’s teammate, Louise Warren, is second in point scoring (37) and goal scoring (22).

Trinity (Conn.) @ No. 7 Amherst (Friday, Feb. 14/ Saturday, Feb. 15) – With two more weekends remaining, the Lord Jeffs will look to earn a weekend sweep, along with some points, too. Amherst is currently third in the conference, one point behind rival Williams, which has 18 points.

Since the calendar turned, the Lord Jeffs are 2-0-1. They finished a weekend series with Connecticut College two weeks ago by defeat the Camels, 3-0, before earning a win and tie against the Ephs last weekend. Anne Gillard and Eileen Harris each potted one goal during their team’s last outing, while Yuna Evans deflected 26-of-28 saves.

Trinity enters the weekend series third in the NESCAC in scoring offense; they’re averaging 3.00 goals per game, while Amherst is four with 2.90. The Lord Jeffs scoring defense (1.70 goals per game) is second behind Middlebury, while Trinity is third (2.10).

Mass. College Hockey: BU 5, Clarkson 3 (NCAA Quarterfinals)

By Matt Noonan 

BOSTON, MA – Sarah Lefort secured Boston University a spot in next weekend’s Frozen Four when she deposited her second strike of the afternoon into an open net during the third period as the Terriers defeated Clarkson University, 5-3 in the NCAA quarterfinals.

BU, which will appear in its second Frozen Four in program history, will face-off against Mercyhurst, who edged Cornell University earlier today by one tally.

“I thought it was a great hockey game with an unbelievable amount of intensity,” BU coach Brian Durocher said. “Clarkson’s a big-body team, they play a somewhat of a conservative style, but you wouldn’t have known it today with almost 40 shots on net.”

The Terriers led the Golden Knights by one entering the final stanza, but padded their lead with two goals in a span of 26 seconds. Lefort pushed the hosts ahead by two before Louise Warren extended the lead to three after she deposited a rebound chance by Isabel Menard.

Clarkson, though, didn’t fold, but responded with two tallies from Christine Lambert and Shannon MacAulay, which brought the Golden Knights within one with 4:40 remaining in regulation.

BU called a timeout, regrouped and watched Lefort force a turnover that led to the game-clinching strike, which sealed the Terriers third NCAA tournament victory.

“I think we all wanted to win,” said BU’s Marie-Philip Poulin, who finished the contest with one goal and one assist.

“We just wanted to go out there the first five minutes and put pressure on them and we got a couple of goals and they came back in the third, (we) got a bit nervous, but (we managed to get) the win and we’re happy with that.”

Poulin netted the game’s first goal late in the first before Clarkson answered early in the second with an Erin Ambrose strike. The Terriers responded with Jenelle Kohanchuck, who lit the lamp late in the middle frame to provide BU with the lead for good.

A Strong Defensive Performance: For the second week in a row, the Terriers defense managed to fend off their opponent’s power play.

Last weekend, they denied Northeastern University six chances with an extra skater during the Hockey East conference championship game, and today they prevented Clarkson from finding the back of the net five times.

“I think we were focusing on every little battle, trying to win the puck (and) trying to win it out of the corner,” said Lefort. “(We were) definitely picking up sticks on the (penalty kill), but just keeping some things simple and communicating with each other really helped us out today.”

“It’s the third game in a row where we’ve had to do a good job killing penalties and so far we have in those three games,” said Durocher. “It’s great to know that the kids could get the job done and it’s not just the five skaters or four skaters that are killing, but Kerrin Sperry, (who assisted) with one of the kills in the second period.”

Sperry was certainly a factor in the second period when she deflected multiple shots in the slot before the Terriers whipped the puck out of the zone.

BU’s power was a major factor in their conference’s tournament as they also denied 13 combined chances by Connecticut and Providence, too.

The Streak Continues: BU’s victory marked their ninth consecutive win since falling to Harvard University in the Boston Beanpot consolation game on Feb. 12, 2013. Since that loss, the Terriers have been on a roll, winning nine games, which includes three conference tournament victories and a first round match.

Will their streak continue next weekend? Who knows, but all Durocher hopes is that the momentum remains with the Red and White.

“It’s a real positive situation for us, but I like to think that anybody who gets to this point, whether they’re on a one-game streak or whatever it is, they’ve got momentum,” said the BU coach.

“I just think that next week it starts from scratch and the two games are going to be real good hockey games and whoever comes up on top is probably going to be somebody that plays well that day and maybe the hockey Gods are with them as well.”