We’re moving on to the final weekend of the season before the NCAA tournament. This the last chance for teams to win automatic bids or bolster their Pairwise cases. The Hockey East semifinals are set to take place this weekend at historic Matthews Arena — but first let’s take a look back at this weekend’s action in the quarterfinal series.
Boston College swept Vermont, 2-0
The incumbent favorites took care of business against a Catamount team that had an unfortunate season by their standards. The Eagles won the series by a collective score of 9-2, winning game one 3-1 and blowing the doors off in game two for a 6-1 victory.
Daryl Watts, Makenna Newkirk, and Caitrin Lonergan each tallied a goal for the Eagles, while Alyssa Gorecki notched the lone goal for UVM. Watts’s goal was her 41st of the year and her 80th overall point. Katie Burt made a whopping 35 saves and was able to withstand a monster 17-shot second period from the Catamounts. The Eagles were up 2-0 late in the third before Gorecki scored, but Lonergan’s power-play goal was the clincher in game one.
The following day, Boston College was able to get on the board first again as Erin Connolly netted her fifth of the season. Kristina Shanahan responded about eight minutes into the second to tie the game for UVM, and then the Eagles exploded for five unanswered goals from Toni Ann Miano, Kenzie Kent, Grace Bizal, and Newkirk twice. Sydney Scobee managed 42 saves in her final appearance of the season, but it was nowhere good enough to stop the Eagles’ dynamic offense.
Northeastern swept New Hamsphire, 2-0
The Huskies beat the Wildcats in two one-goal contests, a 3-2 win on Friday and a 2-1 win on Saturday. Northeastern went with Aerin Frankel in goal over Brittany Bugalski, and the freshman recorded 44 saves over the weekend for her first postseason series wins.
Carlee Toews scored the first goal of the series a few minutes into Friday’s game, then the Huskies responded with three goals before the end of the period. Denisa Křížová, Lauren Kelly, and Skylar Fontaine scored, with the final goal coming with 31 seconds remaining in the frame. UNH challenged and got a goal back in the second period, from Taylor Wenczkowski, before pressing a bit more at the end of the third. Frankel and the Huskies defense held on to win the first game.
On Saturday, Tori Sullivan scored both Husky goals within the first 22 minutes of the game, and that would prove to be enough as the Wildcats only scored one goal from Nicole Dunbar. Northeastern ended the night with 36 shots and looked like a team ready to go to the Hockey East semifinals.
Maine defeats Boston University, 2-1
For the first time in program history, the Maine Black Bears won a Hockey East playoff game and a playoff series, taking games one and three from Boston University.
In game one, the Black Bears found the back of the net three times, once each from Josefine Engmann, Tereza Vanišová, and Catherine Tufts. It only took them 17:01 to find all three goals, and then 15 seconds later Nina Rodgers scored for BU. Victoria Bach got one more for the Terriers in the second period, and that would be it for goal scoring in the opening game. Maine would hang on to win 3-2 for their first ever Hockey East playoff victory.
BU would not be silenced, and they showed a lot of resilience in game two, winning 4-1. Bach opened things up for the Terriers 6:15 into the first period for her 38th of the season. Then, 2:28 into the second, Rebecca Leslie scored the eventual game-winning goal. Jesse Compher tacked on a shorthanded goal and Leslie recorded her second — an empty netter — to ice it for the Terriers.Vanišová scored the only Maine goal, but Carly Jackson was a weak link for Maine as she only made 17 saves.
The final game of the series would end up being BU’s final game of the season; Maine won in overtime for their first Hockey East playoff series win, a 4-3 overtime victory, with the series-clinching goal coming from — you guessed it — Vanišová.
BU went up 2-0 in the first with goals from — who else — Leslie and Bach, then added on a third from Natasza Tarnowski 4:07 in the third. You may ask, “And then what happened?”
Brooke. Stacey. Happened.
Stacey scored her 11th of the year at 8:32 in the third. Then she scored her 12th of the year at 12:34 in the third. Then Stacey completed her first career hat trick with 4:28 left in regulation to send it to overtime.
It only took until 4:39 of overtime for Vanišová to score the game winner and send Maine to the Hockey East semifinals.
Connecticut beats Providence, 2-1
In the most shocking news of the weekend, the Huskies defeated the Friars to advance to the semifinals, winning the series two games to one.
The series opened with Providence steamrolling UConn, winning by a score of 4-0. Avery Fransoo, Hayley Lunny, Christina Putigna, and Blair Parent each scored for the Friars. The Providence offense tallied a total of 34 shots on net, and Madison Myers made 25 saves to put her team up 1-0 in the playoff series.
UConn responded with their own offensive outburst the next night, winning 3-0 on goals from Theresa Knutson, Justine Fredette, and Kayla Mee. The Friars only managed 23 shots on net as Annie Belanger was able to record the shutout and send her team to a winner-take-all elimination game.
After three third-period goals, UConn took the final game of the series 2-1. The first goal of the game came at 9:39 of the third when Parent tipped home a Whitney Dove shot from the point. It only took 11 seconds for Natalie Snodgrass to tie the game with a shot from the slot. Then, with 2:35 left in regulation, Snodgrass put the team on her back and scored a power-play goal to send the Huskies to historic Matthews Arena.
UConn became the first ever seventh seed to advance to the semifinals in Hockey East playoff history.
On Saturday, March 3, at 1:30 p.m., Boston College will take on the University of Connecticut in the first semifinal matchup. Northeastern and Maine will square off at 4:30 p.m. The winners of each game will advance to the Hockey East Finals on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.