BOSTON - The No. 3 Boston University women's ice hockey team advanced to the program's second Frozen Four with a 5-3 victory over No. 6/7 Clarkson on Saturday afternoon at Walter Brown Arena.
BU (27-5-3) matched its program record for wins in a season and will face Mercyhurst in the Frozen Four on Friday night in Minneapolis, Minn. The Lakers knocked off second-seeded Cornell, 4-3, in overtime on Saturday. The Terriers defeated Mercyhurst, 4-2, in the 2011 NCAA quarterfinals at Walter Brown Arena.
This is the third NCAA tournament win in program history for BU and it moved to a perfect 2-0 at home in the NCAA tournament. Clarkson finished its season with a 28-10-0 record after its second national tournament appearance. The Terriers are 2-1 all-time against ECAC opponents in postseason play.
Junior co-captain Marie-Philip Poulin and senior Jenelle Kohanchuk each had a goal and an assist while classmate Louise Warren notched the game-winning goal in the third period. Freshman Sarah Lefort notched two unassisted goals and junior goaltender Kerrin Sperry was spectacular for the Terriers, as she made 34 saves to earn her third career NCAA tournament win.
Poulin made it 1-0 just 4:49 into the first period when she slid a shot under Erica Howe's (22 saves) right pad for her 17th goal of the season. Helpers on the goal came from Kohanchuk and junior Shannon Doyle, who also blocked a game-high six shots.
Erin Ambrose evened the score just 1:44 into the second stanza. Shelby Nisbet's initial shot was stopped by Sperry, but the rebound came right to Ambrose's stick at the edge of the crease and she finished for her sixth goal of the year.
Clarkson nearly took a 2-1 lead shortly after Ambrose's strike, but junior Kaleigh Fratkin made a great play to bat a puck out of mid-air that appeared to have eyes for the back of the net. Her save was part of a tremendous penalty kill for the Terriers, who killed all five of the Golden Knights' power plays.
Sperry made two huge saves to keep the score tied, 1-1, during a 3-on-1 rush by Clarkson. Jamie Lee Rattray, the team's leading scorer, was stoned from the left circle on her first bid before Sperry stymied Brittany Styner's follow-up attempt.
The Terriers took a 2-1 lead thanks a pretty pass from Poulin and a terrific finish by Kohanchuk. Poulin rushed up the left wing and floated a perfect pass across the crease to Kohanchuk at the right post. The senior forward finished the play for her 23rd goal of the season. Fratkin earned a secondary assist for her outlet pass to Poulin.
The game opened up in the third period, with BU beginning the offensive onslaught with two goals in 26 seconds. The first came off the stick of Lefort at the 9:22 mark before Warren potted her 15th goal of the season as she converted on a rebound from an Isabel Menard chance. Sophomore Kayla Tutino's hard work against the boards in her own zone to chip the puck to Menard led to the eventual goal.
Clarkson called timeout immediately after Warren's goal and the brief respite worked wonders as the Golden Knights scored just 12 seconds later at the 10-minute mark to cut the Terriers' lead to 4-2. It became a 4-3 game with 4:40 remaining in regulation when Shannon MacAulay scored, which resulted in a BU timeout.
The Golden Knights pulled Howe in favor of an extra attacker with 1:06 to play and Lefort quickly forced a turnover and scored into the empty net to seal the victory.
Check back on GoTerriers.com later this weekend for the official game time of the Terriers' Frozen Four fixture with Mercyhurst. The teams will tangle at either 6 or 9 p.m.