Maine celebrates a goal during their Hockey East quarterfinal matchup against Boston University Matthew Lavoie, Maine Campus

The University of Maine Black Bears (19-13-5) returned to the ice Friday, Feb. 23 to host the Terriers of Boston University (14-17-6) in the first game of the Hockey East Quarterfinals. Maine has won all three of the previous games against BU this year with two wins coming on the road and one at home. Starting in goal for the Black Bears was second-year Carly Jackson (15-10-5). Across from her was first-year goaltender Corinne Schroeder (12-7-4).

Maine got out in front early when first-year winger Josefine Engmann picked up a loose puck and put it past a down-and-out Schroeder. The goal was reviewed for goaltender interference but was upheld. Later in the period the Black Bears went up two after second-year center Tereza Vanisova picked up a loose puck in front and roofed it. This goal was also reviewed but upheld. Less than a minute later, fourth-year winger Catherine Tufts snuck one past Schroeder to extend the lead to three goals. Schroeder was pulled following the Black Bears’ third goal and fourth-year goaltender Erin O’Neil took over in net for Boston University. Fifteen seconds later, BU’s fourth-year forward Nina Rodgers was able to beat Jackson to cut the lead to two. The Terriers finished the period leading in shots 11-8.

Less than a minute into the second, first-year center Michelle Weis beat her man to the outside for a breakaway with a chance to go up three. O’Neil had other ideas, and made a spectacular save with 10 minutes to go in the period, Maine received a penalty for too many players on the ice. On the ensuing power play, fourth-year center Victoria Bach was able to beat Jackson, picking the top right corner to cut the lead down to one, making it 3-2 Black Bears. Boston University continued to lead in shots after two periods, 20-17.

Maine began the third period on the power play after Boston University’s second-year defenseman Brenna Scarpaci picked up a hooking penalty with 52 seconds to go in the second period. During the power play, Bach went on a breakaway after picking up a loose puck in the neutral zone, but was shut down by Jackson. Maine went on the power play again shortly afterward but again wasn’t able to capitalize. With a minute and a half to go, Boston University pulled its goalie, but wasn’t able to put one past Jackson as the Black Bears went on to win 3-2. Maine also took a series lead 1-0. Total shots were 33-23 in favor of Maine.

BU Head Coach Brian Durocher liked the way his team played with the exception of the first period.

“I thought the team [played] pretty well,” he said. “We didn’t come out of the gate well, you know, the first handful of minutes and really not great in the last 10 minutes. We gave them some really good, grade A chances and Erin O’Neil did a super job of keeping the game 3-2 and giving us a chance right at the end.”

Durocher was optimistic about his team’s chances for the second game of the series.

“We have to do the same thing we’ve been doing for a while now, try to play really good defense and a lot of our offense comes from Rebecca Leslie [fourth-year winger], Victoria Bach and Nina Rodgers. Those are three very established players and very good players who didn’t play in the series in Boston. We’ve got to play the same way and ideally I’d love to see one of our other two lines find a way to get a goal. That will be important for us because they’re the home team and they’re going to try to close it out tomorrow,” Durocher said.

Erin O’Neil was happy with her performance after not allowing a goal.

“I thought I played pretty well,” she said. “I was able to control rebounds. I was able to see a lot of shots, so I felt good and it was really fun to get in there again.”

She was also happy with her team’s performance.

“I think we came back and we battled really hard. I think that’s a big thing that we didn’t just roll over and die when they got three quick ones. We got another goal back before the first period and continued to kind of battle back throughout the game and I think that’s going to bode really well for us going forward,” O’Neil said.

“I think we stuck to our game plan pretty well,” Maine’s Head Coach Richard Reichenbach said. “You know, obviously Tereza [Vanisova] was able to get some of space and create a lot of offense. I think she had eight shots on net. She hadn’t scored in a while so it was nice for her to get a couple assists and score the second goal.

“I think the key for us with [Boston University], they’re so good offensively. Obviously, they have two of the best players in the country with [Rebecca] Leslie and [Victoria] Bach. It’s just about us being committed to team defense and making sure we’re backchecking, our [defensive] zone is executing and we’re forechecking really hard. I think in the second and third. Even though we scored all of the goals in the first, I think defensively we were better in the second and third. Especially in the third, I think we limited them to six or seven shots, so that’s kind of the game plan tomorrow.”

Carly Jackson, who stopped 21 of 23 shots, was thrilled with getting the first win out of the way.

“I just feel super happy that we won our first game. I think that was our first playoff win in program history, so I mean it was pretty exciting right down to the last buzzer and I think our team played pretty hard today,” Jackson said.

The Black Bears resume play on Saturday with game two of the best-of-three series with BU.

Terriers even up series, force Game 3

The Maine Black Bears hosted the Boston University Terriers on Saturday afternoon at the Alfond. Maine entered the game up 1-0 in the best-of-three series looking to send the Terriers home.

Starting in goal for Maine in game was Jackson. O’Neil got the start in net for BU.

BU opened the scoring just over six minutes into the first period when Bach let go of a shot that trickled through Jackson. Maine couldn’t stay out of the box but managed to kill off all three penalties they received during the period. BU led in shots six to four during the first.

BU wasted no time getting back on the board early in the second period after Leslie gave a pass to Bach, got it right back and picked the top right corner. Just over a minute later, Maine thought they had cut the lead down to one but upon further review the puck never crossed the line. With less than seven minutes to go in the period, O’Neil made a glove save on a rebound in front of what looked like an open cage to keep the Black Bears scoreless. Later in the period BU’s third-year defenseman Reagan Rust picked up a penalty for hooking. Just 10 seconds into the ensuing penalty kill, BU’s first-year center Jesse Compher drove to the net and put one past Jackson, extending the lead to 3-0 for the Terriers. BU finished the period leading in shots 17-14.

BU nearly extended the lead to four early in the third when Leslie ripped one off the crossbar. Six minutes and 51 seconds into the period, Vanisova put the Black Bears on the board after beating O’Neil five hole after driving the puck to the front of the net. Maine pulled their goalie with less than a minute remaining in the game but couldn’t find a way to beat O’Neil. Leslie added an empty net goal to finish off the Black Bears 4-1.

Durocher was pleased with Boston University’s performance.

“I think today was a pretty thorough game, you know we didn’t have the best nor a slightly suspect ending to last night’s game. We got out of the gate and played pretty well and obviously got the first goal and I think there was one early in the second if I remember correctly and all of a sudden we got a little bit of a lead and there was a huge, huge back-door save with the glove by Erin O’Neil. She made a save looking in to the left and came back over and got a piece with the glove and that might have been the turning point of the game. We later went down and got a short handed goal to make it three to nothing.”

Durocher has also been pleased with O’Neil’s play as of late.

“Erin [O’Neil] had a neat senior day last Sunday at home. She played well yesterday and played fantastic today. Any time you get on a little bit of a roll you’ve got to have your goaltender doing it.”

Coach Reichenbach was unavailable for comment on the game.

Black Bears take rubber game, head to semifinals

The Maine Black Bears and the Boston University Terriers played their final game of the three-game series on Sunday at the Alfond.

In net for the Black Bears was Jackson. Erin O’Neil (2-8-2) got the start for the BU Terriers.

Maine applied good pressure early, but it was BU who got on the board first when Leslie one-timed a pass from Bach, ripping it to the bottom left corner to beat Jackson with just under 10 minutes to play in the first period. With about five minutes remaining in the period, Maine’s second-year defenseman Ebba Strandberg went to the box for a body check. On the ensuing power play, Bach took a shot that trickled through Jackson to make it 2-0 Terriers. BU finished the period leading in shots 12-9.

Maine was all over BU in the second period but couldn’t find the back of the net. Jackson kept the Terriers from extending the lead two minutes into the period when she slid across the crease to make a pad save on a one-timer. With a little more than five minutes to play in the period, Maine’s first-year winger Daria Tereshkina laid out to block a shot to keep BU’s advantage at two. Maine dominated in shots during the period 12-6 for a total of 21-15 in favor of the Black Bears.

Boston University got back on the board just over four minutes into the third when second-year center Natasza Tarnowski picked up the puck off a turnover in the neutral zone and went bar-down over Jackson’s left shoulder to make it 3-0 Terriers. Maine finally put one past O’Neil four minutes later after BU’s second-year defenseman Abby Cook went to the box for slashing. The goal came from the stick of fourth-year center Brooke Stacey on a rebound. Jackson came up big with a pad save less than a minute later to keep the deficit at two. With seven minutes remaining in the period it was Stacey again who scored on a back-door feed from first-year forward Michelle Weis. Three minutes later, Stacey completed the hat trick while also tying the game at three on a shot from the tops of the circle that beat O’Neil to the top left side. The period ended scoreless, sending the game to overtime. Maine continued to pour on the shots that period, extending their lead in shots to 34-23.

At 4:39 into overtime, Vanisova put home a centering pass from Stacey to close out the series.

“No words to describe it. I’m pretty excited,” Stacey commented after she scored three goals in seven minutes to send the game to overtime. “I think we’re ready for the next step and we’re going to take it to whoever we’re playing.”

“We’re so proud of them and I’m happy we were able to get the win and beat BU,” Reichenbach said. “We just are so proud of [Stacey], you know, Bach and Leslie are two of the best players in the country and I think Stacey just proved she’s as good as anyone.”

Maine will head down to Matthews Arena in Boston for their semifinal game on Saturday, March 3.