HYANNIS, Mass. - Junior Louise Warren scored two goals and classmate Kerrin Sperry stopped all 42 shots she faced to help lead the No. 4 Boston University women's ice hockey team past Providence, 4-0, on Saturday afternoon at the Hyannis Youth and Community Center.
With the win, BU (25-5-3) advances to the Hockey East championship game tomorrow for the third time in the last four seasons. The Terriers will face the winner of the second semifinal contest between second-seeded Boston College and third-seeded Northeastern. BU has now bested Providence (15-16-5) in each of the last two league tournaments, including last season's title game.
Warren's two goals came as part of a three-goal second stanza. Junior co-captain Marie-Philip Poulin scored a shorthanded goal 19 seconds into the proceedings to begin the marvelous middle period. She also assisted on freshman Sarah Lefort's first-period goal as part of a two-point effort.
Sperry was spectacular for the Terriers to earn her first career shutout in tournament play. She was most impressive in the third period, as she stopped all 21 shots she faced and made some of her best saves of the contest. The 42 saves are a career high for Sperry in a 60 minute game. She made 58 saves in a triple overtime contest against Cornell last season.
Lefort struck first after Poulin drew a tripping penalty at the 13:26 mark of the opening frame and the Terriers capitalized on the ensuing power play. Junior Shannon Doyle's shot was blocked in front before Poulin sent a rebound chance towards goal. Lefort pounced on the loose puck on the goal line for her 20th goal of the season.
Poulin quickly made it 2-0 as BU killed off the remainder of a first-period penalty. She stole the puck right in front of her bench and skated alone on Providence goaltender Nina Riley. Poulin calmly lifted the puck over Riley for her 16th goal of the season.
The Friars almost cashed in on a power play chance early in the second period, but Sperry made the initial save and then dove at the puck behind her to clear the crease of any danger.
Nearly six minutes later Warren made it 3-0 after a fine shift from her whole line. Redshirt sophomore Caroline Campbell fired a shot from the right point that went off of senior Isabel Menard. Warren collected the puck in the right circle, turned and sent a shot through traffic into the back of the net.
With 57 seconds remaining in the second, Warren finished the scoring when she knocked home a rebound after Menard charged to the net and had her chance stopped by Riley. Warren now has 14 goals on the year.
The Friars had ample opportunities to get on the board in the final frame, but Sperry was equal to the task each time. She made back-to-back saves on Beth Hanrahan and Brooke Simpson right in front to begin the period. Two of her finest saves in the third came off the stick of Hanrahan. Each time, she stuck out the right pad to make a dynamite save, one of which was during a 2-on-1 chance late in the game.
BU has now won eight of its last nine Hockey East tournament games and has outscored its two opponents this season by a 9-1 margin. This is the second time BU has earned a shutout in the Hockey East semifinals; Melissa Haber ('10) blanked New Hampshire, 4-0, in the 2010 tournament en route to the program's first Hockey East title.
Sunday's title game will begin at 1 p.m. NESN will air the game on tape delay at 4 p.m.
BU forward Marie-Philip Poulin WHEA Semifinal Post-Game Reaction (YouTube Video)
BU goalie Kerrin Sperry WHEA Semifinal Post-Game Reaction (YouTube Video)
BU head coach Brian Durocher WHEA Semifinal Post-Game Reaction (YouTube Video)