HYANNIS, Mass. - Senior captain Jenn Wakefield tied the game with 7.3 seconds remaining in regulation and completed the comeback with a goal in double overtime to lift the No. 9 Boston University women's hockey team past Providence, 2-1, to claim the program's second WHEA Championship on Sunday afternoon.
BU (23-13-1, 14-7-0 WHEA) clinched an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and will face off against third-seeded Cornell on Saturday (March 10) at 2 p.m. The Terriers defeated Cornell, 4-1, in the Frozen Four last season.
Poulin had assists on both of the goals and finished the weekend with five points (2g, 3a). Junior Isabel Menard assisted on the game-winner, while sophomore Kaleigh Fratkin had a helper on the third-period tally.
Sophomore Kerrin Sperry was sensational between the pipes for the Terriers, as she made 31 saves, including nine in the first overtime. Senior Genevieve Lacasse stopped 48 shots for the Friars. The Terriers' two goals on Sunday were the only blemishes on Lacasse's sterling tournament resume this season.
It appeared as if Providence (16-17-4, 11-8-2 WHEA) was going to hang on for the victory when the Friars earned a power play chance with just 1:34 remaining in regulation. However, Providence had a player pegged for interference 15 seconds later to even the playing field.
Head coach Brian Durocher elected to pull Sperry in favor of an extra attacker and give the Terriers a 5-on- advantage. With time ticking off the clock, Poulin kept the puck alive along the right half-wall and found Fratkin and the right point. The sophomore defenseman created space for a pass back to Poulin, who sent a shot towards goal. Wakefield was in perfect position to redirect the puck through Lacasse's pads for the crucial equalizer.
In the second extra session, Menard began the play by bringing the puck from her own zone into the Providence end before dishing the puck into the slot. The puck bounced off Poulin's stick and sat perfectly for Wakefield, who slid the loose puck into the goal for the clincher.
Sperry was sharp right from the start as Providence was aggressive early. Sophomore Corinne Buie had the Friars' best chance early, but Sperry used a nifty right-pad save on to maintain the status quo. The Terriers countered with a string of strong shifts. Menard fed Louise Warren in front, but Warren's redirect landed in the protective netting above Lacasse.
Providence struck first at the 10:49 mark of the first frame. Laura Veharanta forced a turnover in the BU zone and quickly lifted a shot past Sperry. Wakefield attempted to put her team on her shoulders following the goal, as she spearheaded nearly 1:30 of possession in the offensive end. BU generated chances and did well to keep the puck in the Friars' zone, but was unable to break through.
Junior Jill Cardella had the Terriers' best chance of the opening period when she created a breakaway chance while killing a penalty with a minute remaining in the frame. Her shot was denied by the glove of Lacasse, however, and Providence maintained its early lead heading into the second stanza.
In the second, BU out-shot the Friars, 10-8. Poulin, Menard and senior Tara Watchorn nearly combined to score a shorthanded goal early in the period, but Lacasse kept the trio off the score sheet.
The goaltenders continued to duel in the final frame, as Sperry stopped seven shots and Lacasse turned aside 10 Terrier chances before the late equalizer from Wakefield.
In the first overtime, both teams had excellent chances to win, but each team kept a clean sheet through 20 minutes. Sophomore Louise Warren made an excellent block with her glove to stop a Providence chance from the point, while Sperry made nine saves of her own.
The Friars nearly won the game early in the second overtime, but a Maggie Pendleton shot hit the crossbar and stayed out of the BU net.
The 2012 Women's Hockey East All-Tournament Team was comprised of: Marie-Philip Poulin (F-BU), Jenn Wakefield (F-BU), Ashley Cottrell (F-PC), Kathryn Miller (D-BU), Christie Jensen (D-PC) and Genevieve Lacasse (G-PC). Wakefield was recognized as the WHEA Tournament MVP.
The Terriers have won both of their Hockey East titles in overtime. They are 2-2 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including a 1-1 record in the NCAA Quarterfinals.