ITHACA, N.Y. - The No. 5/6 Boston University women's hockey team erased a 7-4 third-period deficit to force overtime, but Cornell scored with 10.1 seconds remaining in the third overtime to earn an 8-7 win on Saturday afternoon at Lynah Rink.
BU (23-14-1, 14-7-0 WHEA) scored the first three goals of the game to build a 3-0 lead in the first period. Cornell (30-4-0, 20-2-0 ECAC) scored the next four goals, including three to begin the second period. The Big Red took a 5-4 lead into the third period and added a pair of goals before the Terriers' remarkable rally began to force the two teams into nearly 60 more minutes of hockey.
This was the first time BU had played a triple overtime game and shattered the record for longest game in program history. The previous record had been set in the WHEA Championship last Sunday against Providence, when the Terriers won at the 2:15 mark of the second overtime.
The Cornell goal came thanks to a strong individual effort by Lauriane Rougeau, as she split the defense and sneaked a shot through sophomore Kerrin Sperry's pads. The goal sent Cornell to the Frozen Four next weekend in Duluth, Minn.
Sophomore Kerrin Sperry was spectacular between the pipes for the Terriers, as she made 58 saves over six periods of play. She finished regulation with 29 saves, including 14 in the third period. She was even better in the extra sessions and especially in the third overtime when she made 15 saves.
Sophomore Marie-Philip Poulin scored twice for the Terriers and added a pair of assists for a four-point afternoon. Freshman Kayla Tutino also tallied two goals and two assists. Senior captain Jenn Wakefield and junior forward Isabel Menard each had one goal and two assists while senior Tara Watchorn had three helpers. Senior Kasey Boucher (1g), junior Jill Cardella (1a) and sophomore Louise Warren (1a) also got on the score sheet.
Wakefield finished her unbelievable collegiate career with 206 points and 120 goals. She is the only skater in Hockey East history to have reached the 100-goal plateau and became the second league skater to score 200 career points.
Saturday's thriller was also the final collegiate contest for Boucher, Carly Warren and Watchorn. That trio won two Hockey East Championships, one WHEA regular season title and appeared in three NCAA tournaments, including the 2011 Frozen Four.
It was a dream start for the Terriers, as Poulin put the Terriers ahead, 1-0, just 4:35 into the proceedings. Tutino, who was at the end of her shift, got the puck to Menard, who streaked into the Cornell zone. She skated up the left wing and took a defender with her, allowing Poulin to gain space in the slot. Menard slid it over to Poulin, who sent it past Cornell goaltender Amanda Mazzotta (seven saves) for her eighth goal of the season.
Tutino made it 2-0 just 34 seconds later when she jammed home a puck on Mazzotta's right post after Cardella and Wakefield did well to cycle the puck down low. Cardella nearly set up a third goal when she gloved a Big Red clear attempt and found junior Taylor Holze on the left post. Holze's shot stayed out, however, and the score remained 2-0.
Boucher buoyed BU to a 3-0 lead with 3:15 remaining in the opening period when she fired a shot from the left circle that got through Mazzotta's pads. It was the second strike of the season for Boucher, with assists credited to Poulin and Tutino.
Cornell responded well after the Boucher goal, but Sperry was equal to the task as she made a great blocker stop immediately after the goal. However, the Big Red got a goal back with 45 seconds left in the first, as Jessica Campbell scored to make it 3-1 entering the second period.
The Big Red slotted Lauren Slebodnick (33 saves) in net to start the second period. Cornell began the stanza on the power play and capitalized just 10 seconds after the opening puck drop when Rebecca Johnston scored. The goal stood after an official review. Johnston tied the game just 3:21 later; the Big Red gained its first lead at the 4:14 mark when Laura Fortino slotted home a shot into an open net.
Poulin tied the game, 4-4, with 4:59 left in the second stanza. Louise Warren got the puck behind the net and dished it back out front to Poulin, who sent a shot from the slot past Slebodnick. Cornell responded with a goal to make it 5-4 just 1:07 after Poulin's strike, which is how the score stood entering the third period.
Cornell scored twice in the first 6:19 of the third period to extend its lead to 7-4. The Terriers' comeback began at the 9:12 mark of the third period. BU was on a power play and head coach Brian Durocher elected to pull Sperry in favor of an extra attacker. The move paid off, as Menard scored after a scramble in front of Slebodnick.
It became a 7-6 game less than two minutes later when BU once again capitalized on a power play chance. Watchorn wisely baited a defenseman into think she'd shoot and then fired a pass to Wakefield. The senior captain had loads of time and nobody in front of her as she notched her 29th goal of the season.
The comeback was completed at the 18:03 mark of the third when Tutino deflected a Watchorn blast from the point. All three of the Terriers' third-period goals came on the power play and all three were assisted by Watchorn.
In overtime, the Terriers earned an early power play when Fortino was sent to the box for cross-checking. Menard had the best chance in that two minute span, but her deflection in front was stopped. Menard had the best chance of the second overtime when she earned herself a breakaway, but her backhander was gloved by Slebodnick and the game continued.
Sperry faced a plethora of shots in the third overtime, as Cornell earned two power plays during the period. She robbed Jillian Saulnier multiple times during the Big Red power plays, as Saulnier had a great look from the slot each time.
The Terriers finished their season with 23 wins, their second WHEA Championship and their third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. BU also secured its second 20-win season and the second-most wins in program history.