BOSTON, Mass. - Sophomore Sarah Lefort set career highs in points (5) and goals (4) to lead the Boston University women's ice hockey team to a 7-4 victory over visiting New Hampshire on Saturday afternoon at Walter Brown Arena.
With the win, the Terriers improve to 19-9-1 overall and 12-5-0 in Hockey East play. They also clinched home ice in the Hockey East quarterfinals for the third straight year and fifth time overall; the Terriers are 4-0-0 all-time in the league quarterfinals.
Lefort's four goals propelled her to the top of the NCAA leaderboard in that category. She now leads the nation with 26 goals and eight game-winners. Lefort has scored a goal in each of her last three games and has nine points (7g, 2a) during that stretch.
Senior captain Louise Warren added a goal and an assist while sophomore Jordan Juron and freshman Maddie Elia each lit the lamp as well. Ten Terriers in total tallied an assist, including senior goaltender Kerrin Sperry, who stopped 34 shots to earn her 80th career victory.
Juron opened the scoring 12:40 into the contest on assists from freshman Natalie Flynn and senior Taylor Holze. Lefort started her big night later in the period when she picked off a UNH pass at the top of the slot before sending a blocker side shot to the back of the net at 17:15.
BU jumped out to a 3-0 lead 2:53 into the second when Lefort and Warren teamed up on a shorthanded effort. Lefort found Warren, who buried a shot past UNH netminder Vilma Vaattovaara for her 21st goal of the season.
UNH (9-17-2, 4-10-2 WHEA) scored goals less than two minutes apart to get back into the contest. Freshman Cassandra Vilgrain was the first Wildcat on the board at 6:38 and senior Arielle O'Neill found the back of the net at 8:32 to make it a 3-2 affair. Senior Jessica Hitchcock earned the primary assist on both tallies.
The Terriers, however, scored the game's next three goals, including two more from Lefort, to seal the victory. Freshman Maddie Elia pushed the lead to 4-2 on helpers from sophomores Rebecca Russo and Alexis Woloschuk at 8:32 of the middle stanza.
In the final minute of the second, Sperry was forced to save a UNH clearing attempt from the other end. She passed off to junior Caroline Campbell, who sprung Lefort up the right side with a pass. Lefort skated all the way in from the neutral zone and beat Vaattovaara at the right post to regain a three-goal advantage.
Lefort secured a hat trick 6:41 into the third to create a 6-2 lead for the Terriers. UNH made it 6-3 minutes later on a goal by senior Nicole Gifford that went off a post and in before attempting a late comeback with a marker from junior Jenna Lascelle at 18:10 to get within two.
BU put the finishing touches on the win when UNH pulled goalie Marie-Eve Jean, who played the third period, in favor of an extra attacker. Lefort capped her five-point performance when she scored on the empty net after taking a pass from freshman Samantha Sutherland.
UNH held a 38-26 shot advantage, as Vaattovaara stopped 12 of the 17 shots she faced and Jean made seven saves on eight shots. Neither team converted on its power play with UNH going 0-for-4 and BU coming up empty on both of its chances.
The Terriers will return to action on Tuesday (Feb. 11) when they take on Harvard in the consolation game of the Women's Beanpot. Game time at BC's Conte Forum is set for 5 p.m.