BU 4, Mercyhurst 2

BU women get it right in the rematch

By Arielle Aronson
Globe Correspondent / March 13, 2011

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Revenge is sweet, even if it comes a year later, as it did yesterday for the Boston University women’s hockey team, which knocked Mercyhurst College out of the NCAA Tournament with a 4-2 quarterfinal victory at Walter Brown Arena.

The third-seeded Terriers, who lost in last season’s quarterfinals to the Lakers, advance to the Frozen Four for the first time and will face Cornell, a 7-1 winner over Dartmouth.

“It’s so nice,’’ said BU forward Jill Cardella. “Last year, no one really thought we had a chance, and they didn’t really think we had a chance this year.’’

Through the first period, those doubts about BU seemed legitimate. The sixth-seeded Lakers pressured the Terriers, and BU did not land a shot on goal through the first seven minutes. The Terriers scored first, however, as forward Jenn Wakefield stickhandled between defensemen before flipping the puck behind Mercyhurst goaltender Hillary Pattenden (18 saves).

The Lakers tied the game at 16:03 of the first when Meghan Agosta, a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award, roofed a shot from the low slot over BU goaltender Kerrin Sperry’s shoulder.

The first period ended 1-1, but Mercyhurst was clearly in control after outshooting BU, 15-4.

“We were giving them too much credit,’’ BU coach Brian Durocher said. “They are a fantastic hockey team, but we have a lot of talent on this team. We played a little bit tentative. That’s something we had to stop, and it was within their ability.’’

The Terriers scored the only goal of the second period at the 8:16 mark. Freshman forward Marie-Philip Poulin took a pass from Cardella at the right doorstep and wristed a shot over Pattenden’s glove to put BU up.

Poulin’s goal was a result of the Terriers’ ability to turn the game around, as BU outshot Mercyhurst in the second period, 14-5, allowing only one legitimate scoring chance. Poulin was one of many BU players excelling at both ends of the ice, leading the team with four blocked shots.

“I believe this game was a blue-collar game, and today you saw it firsthand,’’ Durocher said. “Mercyhurst had the eight- or 10-shot advantage, but we had people blocking shots, diving in front of them. And it wasn’t the third-line checkers. It was big-name players who were doing it.’’

At 8:06 of the third period, BU forward Catherine Ward was whistled off for body checking, giving Mercyhurst its only power play. The Lakers made sure to capitalize on the opportunity.

A minute into the man-advantage, Agosta fired a shot from the point that drifted over Sperry (30 saves) to knot the game at 2 with 10:54 remaining.

BU did not wait long to regain the lead. Only 1:50 after Agosta’s goal, Cardella tipped junior defenseman Tara Watchorn’s shot through the five-hole. The puck trickled over the goal line before Pattenden was able to turn around.

Wakefield sealed the victory with an empty-net goal at 19:48.

“When you have two good teams playing against each other, that’s kind of how it’s going to go,’’ said Mercyhurst senior forward Vicki Bendus. “It’s just the team who kind of weathers it better and then puts it in the net when their momentum is going is the team that’s going to win the game.’’