Women’s Hockey: Hourihan makes 47 saves in 3-1 loss

Women’s Hockey: Hourihan makes 47 saves in 3-1 loss

After a scoreless first period with multiple penalties by both squads, neither Northeastern nor Boston University appeared to want to win the consolation game of the 2006 Beanpot last night at the Bright Hockey Arena in Cambridge.

But BU freshman forward Gina Kearns put an end to the back-and-forth game at 7:53 in the third period, streaking down the ice after a Husky mishap on offense and scoring in the top right corner over senior goalie Marisa Hourihan. BU (11-15-4, 5-11-2 Hockey East) scored again later in the period, beating NU (5-23-1, 4-14-1 HE) 3-1, despite a goal from freshman forward Ali Bielawski in the second. The loss was Northeastern’s second to Boston University this year, giving a bitter taste to Husky players who lost in overtime to BC last week. “We were so excited about this game,” Hourihan said. “It’s a huge letdown to lose. I thought for sure we had BC a week ago, but you can’t go win games when you’ve been outshot by 20.”

The teams were close for the most part, holding each other scoreless while combining for 48 shots in the first two periods. The Terriers went ahead at 19:16 into the middle frame on freshman forward Laurel Koller’s 13th goal of the season. Northeastern answered shortly, scoring just 13 seconds later, when Bielawski scored at 19:29 off assists from freshman defender Erin Reil and freshman forward Colleen Sanborn.

The game remained close into the third frame with both teams exchanging shots and coming up just short. The Terriers drew Northeastern into a defensive battle, an area in which the Huskies did not want to be due to their seven one-goal losses this season. BU capitalized twice on Husky mistakes in the frame: the first on Kearns’ goal and the second, moments later, on freshman forward Nicki Wiarts’ 11th goal of the season 8:49 into the frame.

“Defensively, we’ve had some breakdowns,” coach Laura Schuler said. “That’s what we’ve got to focus on. We’ve been getting better with each game. We just need to have better quality shots on net. Sometimes the shots are good, and other times the players are just flinging the puck toward the net.”

Hourihan agreed, and while some parts of the team’s play have been stellar this season, she and Schuler know there are a few things missing to make this Husky squad a contender.

“It’s either a blowout or a one-goal game coming into the third,” Hourihan said. “We don’t know which is worse. We can’t pinpoint the missing ingredient [to winning].”

The turning point of the game was Kearns’ third-period breakaway goal to put BU up 2-1. Hourihan was unable to stop her, and the Terriers never looked back.

“Mostly I just had my eye on the puck, looking at her stick to see what she’ll do,” Hourihan said. “I didn’t know what she was doing. Usually there’s a 50-50 chance on those shots. Unfortunately, it didn’t go my way.”

Hourihan had 47 saves in her last Beanpot appearance. After the game, the senior from Hanover reflected on how special the tournament has been to her.

“It’s been a great experience. I love Boston in general. Hopefully [the Beanpot] will get bigger at Northeastern,” Hourihan said.

Earlier in the week, the Huskies lost an 11-1 game to No. 1 New Hampshire. Sophomore forward Nikki Petrich had the Huskies only goal and Hourihan made 43 saves.

Hockey East honored freshman defender Erin Reil, naming her Hockey East co-Rookie of the Week following her performance in the first round of the Beanpot. She had a goal and two assists in the 3-2 loss to BC, bringing her season totals to two goals and four assists.

The Huskies return to the ice this weekend against Vermont for a two-game series Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

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