Bumpy would be the only way to describe the start of the UNH women’s ice hockey team’s Senior Night on Friday.
By the end of the night at the Whittemore Center, the bumpy trend continued as UNH fell to Boston University in a wild, 4-3 tilt in a battle for home ice in the conference playoffs.
“I thought we played really well,” head coach Hilary Witt said. “I thought we played well enough to win and unfortunately, much like last Saturday, pucks didn’t go in their net as much as we needed them to.”
Down 2-1 entering the second period, with a goal from Amy Schlagel, UNH found their resilience and pushed the Terriers to the brink while scoring two goals in the process.
It started with Marie-Jo Pelletier at 00:54 from Schlagel’s feed through the crease for the one-timer to knot the game at 2-2.
Meghara McManus delivered UNH’s first lead with an unassisted wrist shot at 2:43 and put the ‘Cats up 3-2.
“We were flying in the second,” Witt said. “I loved how we were playing, that’s how we want to play all the time – getting our [defense] involved up and down the ice. It was fun.”
That fun was short-lived as the Terriers found their rhythm and had a pair of goals themselves.
Natasza Tarnowski pricked at a contested puck in the slot and made the most of it. The equalizer came from a backhand sent on net and passed Cashin at 9:46.
With the game tied, BU fulfilled the comeback at 11:44 in the second from Samantha Sutherland as she flanked the net on the power play and took advantage of shots from teammates Abby Cook and Nina Rodgers to put the Terriers up for good at 4-3.
“I thought we played alright,” Schlagel said. “We got a lot of offense but we didn’t bury most of our chances, which is what we need to work on.”
The ‘Cats needed a short memory following Friday’s loss, with the home-and-home against BU changing venues to Boston on Saturday afternoon.
For Schagel, a short memory was key.
“We just have to forget about it and focus on the positives,” Schlagel said. “Just forget about the negatives and move on.”
On Saturday at BU, it seemed only Schlagel and Pelletier entered the game with that mindset, both scoring a goal apiece as UNH faltered another game to the Terriers, 5-2.
“I thought too often we’re letting up a goal early,” Witt said. “We were playing catchup, that wasn’t great, but I thought we fought back pretty well.”
With a UConn loss to Maine on Saturday, UNH remains locked up with the Huskies in sixth place in the conference standings.
Heading into a weekend two-game series at UConn, Witt understands how monumental these games will be for UNH’s playoff picture.
“It’s a must win,” Witt said. “We got to go in there and win a couple games. They have us on the tiebreak, too, if we split. We got to win both.”