BOSTON - The No. 4 Boston University women's ice hockey team scored the final six goals of the game to erase a four-goal deficit and defeat Connecticut, 7-5, on Saturday afternoon at Walter Brown Arena.
BU (22-5-3, 17-2-1 WHEA) trailed Connecticut (3-27-3, 1-18-1 WHEA), 5-1, just 2:52 into the second period, but the Terriers scored four goals to make it a 5-5 game entering the third period and then completed the comeback with a pair of third-period markers. Sophomore Kayla Tutino scored the game-winning goal at the 4:43 juncture of the final frame.
The win, coupled with Boston College's 1-1 tie at Vermont earlier that afternoon, means that BU can clinch the Hockey East regular-season title outright with a win at Connecticut on Sunday. The Terriers now lead the Eagles by a point with one game remaining in the regular-season. Both teams play on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.
The Terriers honored nine seniors before the game as a part of Senior Day, and many of those nine contributed heavily in the comeback. A milestone moment occurred in the third period when senior Isabel Menard collected her 100th career assist. She added a goal to her two-assist effort to finish with three points. Senior Jenelle Kohanchuk also had three points (2g, 1a) and her goal came from Menard's 100th assist.
Freshman Sarah Lefort (2g, 1a), junior co-captain Marie-Philip Poulin (3a) and junior Louise Warren (3a) also each had three points. Junior Shannon Doyle scored the other BU goal, assisted on Tutino's game-winner and blocked a game-high seven shots.
Junior Kaleigh Fratkin and freshman Lillian Ribeirinha-Braga each had an assist to join the list of names on the score sheet. Junior goaltender Kerrin Sperry earned the win, as she stopped nine shots in two periods of work. The Terriers outshot Connecticut, 50-16, including a 21-4 margin in the second period.
The bonanza of goals began just 3:05 into the first period when Rachel Farrel got a puck past senior Alissa Fromkin. Kohanchuk evened the score nearly 11 minutes later when Poulin found her in front of the net on a rush into the offensive zone.
The Huskies tacked on three more goals in the first period and then added a goal at the 2:52 mark of the second stanza to make it a 5-1 game. Lefort began the comeback quickly after that last UConn goal, however, on a BU power play. Kohanchuk's shot from close range was stopped by Elaine Chuli (43 saves) before Lefort was in perfect position to bury the rebound.
The freshman forward scored her second goal of the game at the 15:10 mark of the period to make it a 5-3 game. She once again converted a second-chance opportunity, as she knocked home a rebound from a long-range Fratkin shot. Thirty-eight second later, Menard made it 4-3 when she rushed up the right wing, went around the defense and went hard to the net to stuff home her 14th goal of the season.
Doyle finally leveled the score with just 11.4 seconds remaining in the period. Warren led the rush into the Huskies' zone and dropped the puck back for Menard in the right circle. She then centered the puck for Doyle, who found the back of the net from below the hash marks for her sixth goal of the season.
After a wild second period, the Terriers continued to carry their momentum into the final frame. Tutino tallied the game-winner thanks to a great feed from Warren. Doyle began the play in her own zone, getting the puck to Warren, who skated up the left wing and centered the puck for Tutino, who redirected it past Chuli for her 13th goal of the season.
Kohanchuk added an insurance goal with 2:02 remaining in regulation. Menard circled behind the UConn net and saw Kohanchuk sneak to the front of the net. The feed was perfect and the finish was sublime from Kohanchuk for her 17th goal of the season, tied with Lefort for tops on the team.
BU will travel to Connecticut to conclude the regular-season schedule on Sunday at 2 p.m. If the Terriers defeat the Huskies, the two teams will meet again in the Hockey East quarterfinals the following weekend.