MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Sophomore Sarah Lefort scored her NCAA-best 32nd goal of the season but the ninth-ranked Boston University women's ice hockey team was defeated by No. 1 Minnesota, 5-1, in the NCAA quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon at Ridder Arena.
Making its fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament, BU finished the 2013-14 season with a 24-13-1 record. It is the Terriers' fourth straight 20-win season and the senior class of Kaleigh Fratkin, Braly Hiller, Taylor Holze, Meghan Riggs, Kerrin Sperry and captain Louise Warren won 102 games, including three Hockey East championships, in four years with the Terriers. They are the first senior class to reach the 100-win plateau in program history.
The Terriers hung with Minnesota (37-1-1) through two periods of play and were tied with the Gophers, 1-1, after the opening stanza. Minnesota led, 2-1, after two periods before scoring three times in the final frame to seal the victory.
Sperry made 41 saves in the loss. She stopped at least 40 shots in each of her last three games and finishes her illustrious career with a program-record 85 wins and 13 shutouts.
After Minnesota opened the scoring at the 12:56 mark of the first period, Lefort responded just 21 seconds later to tie the game. Sophomore Lillian Ribeirinha-Braga won a battle in the corner of her own zone and pushed the puck ahead to Lefort. She carried it up the left wing and uncorked a shot that Gopher goaltender Amanda Leveille got with her blocked. The puck bounced up and over her, however, and as she pushed back to the net, she knocked the puck over the line.
Minnesota regained its one-goal lead during a 5-on-3 advantage. The Terriers had been tenacious in blocking shots, but Rachel Ramsey finally collected the puck with space and fired a shot into the top corner. BU responded well following the goal, however, and had two great bids at the other end to tie the score. Freshman Maddie Elia was denied at the doorstep by Leveille on what looked to be a sure goal while Lefort was in the perfect spot to knock in a rebound before sending the puck through the crease and wide of goal.
Kelly Terry established the first two-goal advantage of the contest just 2:46 into the third period when her shot squeaked by Sperry. She completed her hat trick 5:10 later to give the Gophers a 4-1 lead. Maryanne Menefee closed the scoring at the 12:51 mark of the period.
BU blocked 19 shots during the game and freshman Sarah Steele recorded seven blocks to lead the Terriers. The Terrier penalty killers held Minnesota's top-ranked power play to just 1-of-5 and BU forced Leveille to make 28 saves.
The Terriers will return 19 letter winners next season, including Shannon Doyle and Marie-Philip Poulin, who missed the 2013-14 season due to injury and Team Canada duties, respectively. Kayla Tutino will also be back after missing a majority of the season with an injury.