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BOSTON - Backstopped by a 23-save shutout in goal by junior Melissa Haber, the Boston University women's ice hockey team clinched a return trip to the Hockey East tournament with a 4-0 win over Vermont on Saturday afternoon at Walter Brown Arena. The Terriers completed a sweep of the two-game weekend series with the Catamounts, improving to 13-9-5 overall and 10-6-0 in Hockey East action.
Four different players scored for BU with senior Erin Seman, sophomore Lauren Cherewyk and freshman Tara Watchorn each notching multiple-point games with a goal and an assist. Junior Jenn Arms added the Terriers' other goal to cap off the victory in the third.
BU dominated play in the first period, holding a 14-4 lead in shots on goal. The Terriers had a two-man advantage for 52 seconds, but were unable to put anything past junior netminder Kristen Olychuck. Cherewyk kicked off the BU scoring late in the first, taking a pass from junior Melissa Anderson and sending in her 10th goal of the season from the left face-off dot at 19:37 to match her season point total from her rookie campaign.
The second period saw a parade of Terriers sent to the box to give Vermont an extended power play midway through the frame. The Catamounts were on the power play for a span of 5:20 straight, with 2:40 of that a two-man advantage for Vermont. The Catamounts put seven shots on net in that stretch, but all were turned aside by Haber to prevent UVM from tying the game.
One second after the Terriers finally returned to full strength, Vermont sophomore Hannah Westbrook was whistled for interference and on the Terriers' ensuing power play, Watchorn took a feed from senior Sarah Russell ripped a shot from the blue line that found its way through a screen to the back of the net for her fourth goal at the 13:21 mark.
BU ended the second with another late goal, this one coming off the stick of Seman to make it 3-0 at 18:20 when Cherewyk managed to poke the puck from in front of the net to Seman, who had an open net to score her ninth tally of the season and chase Olychuck from the game. Olychuck made 22 saves before departing after Seman's goal. Senior Ashley Walenty stopped nine shots in relief.
Arms delivered the final blow early in the third period, scoring her first goal of the year with a shot from the high slot 3:46 into the closing frame, thanks to assists from sophomore Jillian Kirchner and junior Sarah Appleton.
Haber recorded her fifth career shutout and first since blanking Maine on Jan. 27, 2007. She has now played in three career games against Vermont and has never allowed a goal. It was the second shutout of the season for BU, with senior Allyse Wilcox between the pipes for the other one against Princeton on Nov. 14.
BU outshot Vermont, 35-23, and was 1-for-4 on the power play, while the Catamounts were stymied on six power-play opportunities.
The Terriers now turn their attention to the Beanpot as they will seek to reach the tournament's championship game for the third straight season when they face Harvard in the opening round on Tuesday (Feb. 3) at 5 p.m. at Northeastern's Matthews Arena.