Sunday, March 7, 2010
BOSTON UNIVERSITY CLAIMS FIRST WHEA TOURNAMENT TITLE IN SCHOOL HISTORY WITH 2-1 OT VICTORY OVER CONNECTICUT
Sophomore defenseman Tara Watchorn scores game-winner 9:52 into overtime
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Sophomore Tara Watchorn scored 9:52 into the first overtime to lead No. 3 seed Boston University to a 2-1 victory over No. 5 seed Connecticut in the Hockey East Tournament Championship game Sunday afternoon at Schneider Arena on the Providence College campus. With the win, Boston University (17-8-12) claimed its first ever Hockey East Tournament title and earned an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. Connecticut (21-9-7) will wait and see if they will receive an at-large berth into the NCAA's.
The game-winning goal came after a turnover inside the UConn zone. Watchorn was able to get to the puck just before it cleared the zone and then ripped a slap shop into the top left corner of the net. It marked her second goal of the season. In addition, the game was the first Hockey East Tournament Championship game to go into overtime in the eight-year history of the league.
"I think it was a fitting championship game, a fantastic championship game against a super opponent," said BU head coach Brian Durocher. "UConn is as well-coached, as organized and as competitive as anybody you'll play anywhere in college hockey. In the third period, we looked like we had a few chances to close it out, but those kids have unbelievable fight and they stuck to their game-plan and made life tough. They got a little momentum going right before we scored the goal, but fortunately we had one that had eyes and found the top corner."
Boston University capitalized on its first power-play opportunity of the game to take a 1-0 lead at 13:33 of the opening period. Senior Jonnie Bloemers skated with the puck around the right-wing corner before firing it off the side of the net. The puck bounced in front to sophomore Jenelle Kohanchuk who then slid a one-time pass to freshman Karthryn Miller. Miller, who was on the left side of the goal, tapped the puck into the empty side of the cage for her second goal of the season. UConn created two scoring chances with less than 10 seconds left in the first period. Senior Monique Weber skated down the right wing and fired a wrist shot from the right circle, but BU senior goalie Melissa Haber made a glove save. After the ensuing faceoff, junior Jody Sydor snapped a quick back hander, but Haber turned it aside.
The Huskies evened the score at 6:50 of the second period when Michelle Binning netted her 20th goal of the season. Weber skated down the right wing before ripping a wrist shot from the top of the right circle that was saved by BU netminder Alexandra Garcia. However, Binning pounced on the rebound and snapped the puck into the top right corner of the net. The Terriers nearly regained the lead at 19:26 when Lauren Cherewyk snapped a screen shot from the left circle that was stopped by Garcia. The rebound came right back to Cherewyk who lifted a wrist shot, but Garcia slid across to make the save.
Neither team could score in the third period as the Terriers held a 10-5 advantage in shots. BU nearly broke the tie with 11 seconds remaining in the third period when Kohanchuk, who was right in front, lifted a wrist shot but Garcia made the stop.
UConn freshman Kelly Horan nearly scored the winner at the 3:50 mark of overtime when she was all alone in front after a two-on-one rush, however her attempt was thwarted by Haber.
Garcia finished with 31 saves for UConn, while Haber stopped 25 shots and earned Tournament Most Valuable Player honors for BU. Overall, Haber totaled 42 saves, including a 17-save performance in a 4-0 semifinal win over UNH on Saturday.
2010 Women's Hockey East All-Tournament Team
MVP: Senior Goaltender Melissa Haber, BU
WHEA CHAMPIONSHIP GAME QUOTE SHEET
(March 7, 2010, Schneider Arena, Providence, R.I.)
Head Coach Brian Durocher
Q: Tara, can you take us through the game-winner?
Q: Did you get about as much wood on that shot as you could get on a shot?
Q: This was the 15th time you have been to overtime this season, would you say you have benefited from all that previous OT experience?
Watchorn: I agree, I think it really helped us going into the overtime period. Everyone in the dressing room knew that we had been here before and we could do this and we were ready to go. It gave us that edge.
Durocher: I would echo that, absolutely the overtimes have helped us. The other thing that has helped us from the neck up is the fact that we haven't lost in February and now early March. Earlier in the year, we were finding ways to turn wins into ties and not really get into any type of a roll. All of a sudden, now, going out there, we're feeling pretty good in the third period. Even when UConn put a little bit of a rush on in the OT, Melissa made a couple saves and some people got in the way and blocked some shots. We were fortunate enough, as Tara said, to get some mustard on a shot. It was getting to be a tiring point in the game.
Q: At the start of the season, several of us thought BU could be the team to beat this year. You started slowly, what turned it around for you?
Q: Melissa, I think it was three minutes into overtime when UConn came bearing in on you on a breakaway. What were your thoughts when that was going on?
Q: Brian, how much can winning this title do for women's hockey at BU?
UConn Head Coach Heather Linstad
Q: How much of that was that you and how of that was them?
Q: In the end, it was going to be a hard loss. It was a competitive, tough game.
Q: What did you say to the team to turn it around after the first period?
Q: Were a lot of the kids were looking forward to playing UNH in the final, could playing BU have factored in at all?