BOSTON - Senior Jenelle Kohanchuk scored two goals to help lead the No. 4 Boston University women's ice hockey team past Connecticut, 5-1, on Saturday afternoon at Walter Brown Arena.
With the win, top-seeded BU (24-5-3) advances to the Hockey East semifinals to face either Providence or Vermont. Connecticut concludes its season with a 3-29-3 record.
This is the sixth straight season that the Terriers have advanced to the Hockey East semifinals. They are now 8-3 all-time in the conference tournament and have won seven of their last eight tournament tilts. BU improved to 4-0 all-time in the Hockey East quarterfinals.
Junior co-captain Marie-Philip Poulin made history when she scored her 50th career goal, becoming the fastest skater in program history to reach the 50-goal plateau. She accomplished the feat in her 74th career game.
The Terriers held a 2-1 lead entering the third period before Kohanchuk scored twice to help BU pull away from the Huskies. Sophomore Kayla Tutino and redshirt sophomore Caroline Campbell each added a goal to round out the scoring.
Junior Kerrin Sperry stopped 16 shots to earn her 20th win of the season. Junior Shannon Doyle blocked six shots for BU and classmate Kaleigh Fratkin had five blocks of her own to help hold the Huskies to just 17 shots on goal.
After a scoreless first frame, Poulin opened the Terriers' account at the 6:30 mark of the second period. After a faceoff win in the offensive zone, BU cycled the puck along the left half-wall, where eventually freshman Sarah Lefort left the puck for Doyle. The junior defenseman got to the left circle and found Poulin between the hash marks, where she finished for her 15th goal of the season.
Exactly a minute later, Tutino extended the Terriers' lead to 2-0. Senior Isabel Menard forced a turnover behind the Huskies' net and sent a no-look pass to Tutino between the circles. The sophomore forward ripped a shot past Connecticut goalie Elaine Chuli (30 saves).
The Huskies cut the deficit in half with 4:30 remaining in the second stanza when Margaret Zimmer slotted home a rebound from an Emily Snodgrass shot. They nearly tied the game early in the final frame, but Sperry reached her right leg out and denied Michela Cava.
Just 5:39 into the period, Kohanchuk extended the Terriers' lead to 3-1. Sperry left the puck behind her net for Fratkin, who then found Kohanchuk in the neutral zone. The senior forward dangled around a defender and then roofed a shot past Chuli for her 19th goal of the season.
It took Kohanchuk less than five minutes to score her 20th goal of the campaign. Senior co-captain Jill Cardella fought hard to keep the puck away from a Connecticut defender at center ice before Kohanchuk collected the puck and skated into the offensive end. Her first shot was blocked, but she quickly lit the lamp on her second attempt.
Connecticut pulled its goaltender with less than eight minutes remaining in regulation to try and work itself back into the game. Campbell took advantage when she used a strong individual effort to stop a Connecticut skater in her tracks, steal the puck, and fire home her first goal of the season into the empty net.
The Terriers will know their semifinal opponent at the conclusion of Saturday night's quarterfinal contest between No. 3 seed Northeastern and No. 6 Vermont. The semifinals will take place on Saturday afternoon (March 9) at Hyannis, Mass.