BOSTON, Mass. - Sophomore Sarah Lefort had two goals and an assist, including the game-winning goal, to help lead the No. 9 Boston University women's ice hockey team to a 6-5 victory over Minnesota Duluth on Friday night at Walter Brown Arena.
BU (13-3-1) entered the third period with a slim 3-2 lead before tallying twice in the first two minutes. After Lefort made it 6-3 with 7:52 remaining in regulation, Minnesota Duluth (7-7-1) scored twice in a span of 1:04 to cut the deficit to one. The teams combined for six third-period goals.
Lefort has been fantastic of late for BU, scoring six goals in the last three games and factoring on the Terriers' last two game-winning goals. Her third-period tally ensured the Terriers were the first victor in this two-year-old series after the teams skated to a pair of ties last season in Duluth.
Senior captain Louise Warren, sophomore Rebecca Russo and freshman Samantha Sutherland each had a goal and an assist while freshman Maddie Elia also lit the lamp for BU. Four other skaters had assists in the Terriers' second straight game with five or more goals.
Senior Kerrin Sperry stopped 35 shots in her second consecutive 35-plus save performance. Despite allowing five goals, Sperry has still not given up more than three even-strength goals in any game this season.
Lefort opened the scoring just 4:50 into the proceedings. Sutherland stole the puck in the offensive end and slipped it to Lefort, whose shot got stopped by Kayla Black (17 saves). Lefort chased the rebound in the corner and fired the puck towards the front of the net. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the puck caromed off a defender and into the back of the net.
The Bulldogs tied it up at the 7:21 mark on the strength of a Jordan Krause marker and then took the lead with 3:15 to play in the period when Jenna McParland scored a power-play goal. Russo responded for the Terriers with a power-play goal of her own at the 2:50 mark of the second stanza. Junior Shannon Stoneburgh blasted a shot from the top of the zone and Russo fought through a scrum in front to get to the rebound and deposit her seventh strike of the season.
Warren regained the lead for the Terriers at the 10:07 mark of the middle frame. She forced a turnover in the UMD zone and quickly got it to Lefort, whose shot was stopped by Black. Warren wisely went to the front of the net, however, and knocked home the rebound for her 11th tally of the year.
Elia extended the lead to 5-2 just 55 seconds into the third period when she took a feed from Russo and beat Black from point-blank range. Sutherland scored 1:05 later with a nifty individual effort. Freshman Sarah Steele worked the puck to Warren, whose shot was inadvertently blocked by Sutherland, who was stationed in front of the net in hopes of a redirection. Sutherland settled down the puck, swiftly turned and slotted the puck home for her fourth goal of the season.
UMD answered with its second power-play strike of the game to make it 4-2 before Lefort single-handedly scored the game winner at the 12:08 mark. She blocked a shot at the top of her own zone and skated in alone on Black before lifting a backhander top shelf for her team-leading 13th goal of the season.
The Bulldogs scored 43 seconds after Lefort's goal to make it 6-4 and needed another 1:04 to make it 6-5. Despite pulling its goaltender in the final minute, UMD was unable to finish the rally, however, and Sperry finished the final frame with 13 saves.
The two teams will be back on the ice on Saturday afternoon for the conclusion of this weekend's series. Puck drop is slated for 3 p.m.