By Torrance Latham
BU News Service
Led by junior forward Maddie Elia’s hat trick, the BU women’s ice hockey team won its third straight game, dominating the Yale Bulldogs (1-3-0, 1-1-0) in a 7-1 victory Tuesday night at Walter Brown Arena.
Elia wasn’t the only Terrier (6-4-0, 4-1-0) to have a spectacular night. Senior forward Rebecca Russo set a school record with five assists, surpassing the mark that former BU star Marie-Philip Poulin set this past February. Fellow linemate Rebecca Leslie scored two goals, adding three assists of her own. In just their fourth time skating together this season, the line combined for five goals and nine assists.
BU’s goaltending was stellar, sophomore Erin O’Neil made 29 saves before she was relieved by fellow sophomore Ashlyn Aiello. In Aiello’s collegiate debut, she did not give a goal, netting four saves. O’Neil started her third straight game, collecting her fourth win of the season, as she continues to show significant signs of growth.
“It’s been going great,” said Elia. “I’ve been seeing the puck well and our ‘D’ has been blocking a ton of shots in front of the net. Confidence is really high in the locker room and for me, coming into the rink and knowing that this is (kind of) my net right now has been huge.”
The Terriers’ superb offensive night may have overshadowed their outstanding performance on penalty kills. On all six power play opportunities, the Bulldogs were held scoreless. That valiant effort was not a coincidence.
“The other day we struggled with our penalty kills, so we went over that a little bit more,” said assistant Katie LaChapelle. “Even before the game, we just talked about it more. The girls were being more accountable.”
The game began in the quirkiest fashion, with Yale appearing to have scored a goal in the first 40 seconds. However, the goal was eventually waved upon officials’ review when it showed that forward Phoebe Staenz kicked the puck into the net.
BU began its scoring at the13:44 mark when defensemen Sarah Steele wristed a goal past Yale goalie Hanna Madl (16 saves) for the early 1-0 lead. That was Steele’s second goal in the past three games.
Just three minutes later, Elia scored her fifth goal of the season off a shot near the front of the crease that extended the Terriers’ lead.
The Bulldogs came to within one at the 11:56 mark of the second period won a goal by senior forward Jamie Haddad. It happened just after a penalty expired on the Terriers. After a shot by junior forward Krista Yip-Chuck was blocked by O’Neil, the puck flew out to Haddad in the left circle and her strike went past the BU goalie. That would prove to be the lone time Yale had any scoring success Tuesday night.
Assists by junior Samantha Sutherland and senior Dakota Woodworth helped Jordan Juron push the lead 3-1. Then literally 55 seconds later, with a shorthanded lineup, Leslie scored during a two-on-one chance with Russo.
Leslie and Russo contributed on Elia’s two third-period strikes, with Russo also assisting on Leslie’s third period goal. The Terriers scored three times in a 2:48 span during the final stanza to decisively close this lopsided affair out.
After enduring a three game losing streak, BU have bounced back just in time before their huge matchup looming against Boston College.
“[Tuesday] definitely gave us confidence,” said Elia. “In the past few games, I don’t think we’ve gotten as many goals as we wanted to so it gives us a lot of momentum leading up to these two big games [against BC] this weekend.”
The Terriers will try for their fourth straight win when they the No. 2 BC Eagles on Saturday at Walter Brown Arena. The long-time rivals are set to square off at 3 p.m. and coincidentally, it will be a rematch of the past two Hockey East championship games.