BOSTON - Senior defenseman Tara Watchorn's second-period strike proved to be the game-winner as the No. 9/10 Boston University women's hockey team edged Connecticut, 2-1, on Sunday afternoon at Walter Brown Arena.
BU (20-13-1, 14-7-0 WHEA) honored its senior class before the game, as Watchorn, Kasey Boucher, Carly Warren and captain Jenn Wakefield played their final regular-season home game together. The quartet has combined for 93 goals and 171 assists at BU.
By virtue of the Terriers' victory over Connecticut (4-23-7, 3-15-3 WHEA), New Hampshire clinched the sixth and final playoff spot in the Hockey East Tournament and will travel to Boston to face BU on Sunday (Feb. 26) in one of two quarterfinal contests.
The Huskies got on the board first via a power play goal. Sophomore Braly Hiller (22 saves) did well to make a save with her right toe on Maggie Walsh's initial shot, but the rebound came out to a wide-open Kelly Horan, who beat Hiller to make it a 1-0 game at the 4:28 mark of the first period.
The lead did not last long however, as sophomore Louise Warren evened the score just over five minutes later. Junior Jill Cardella picked up the puck in the neutral one and dished it back to Carly Warren just inside the BU blue line. Carly then fed Louise, who streaked up the left wing and curled around the net. She then fired a shot from just below the right faceoff circle that got past Alexandra Garcia's (41 saves) pads to tie the game, 1-1.
While BU gave up 14 shots on goal in the first period, the Terriers' defense was fantastic in the final two frames, as it held Connecticut to nine shots over the final 40 minutes. The Terriers continued to pepper Garcia with shots, though, and finally Watchorn delivered the knockout blow at the 11:54 mark of the second stanza.
The go-ahead goal began thanks to great work in the corners from junior Isabel Menard and sophomore Marie-Philip Poulin. Menard dug the puck out of the left corner and pushed it to Poulin, who emerged from behind the net and dished the puck to Watchorn, who blasted a shot from the top of the right circle past Garcia. It was Watchorn's sixth strike of the season.
BU controlled the final frame, as the Terriers had 17 shots on goal to just five for the Huskies. UConn was held without any grade-A chances in the last period as well, as the defense blocked five shots and kept the Huskies to the perimeter.
The Terriers will begin their quest for the program's second Hockey East Tournament title on Sunday, Feb. 26, when they host New Hampshire at Walter Brown Arena in a quarterfinal contest. Puck drop is scheduled for 3 p.m.