ERIE, Pa. — Boston University wore down Cornell, scoring two goals within 50 seconds late in the second period en route to a 4-1 victory to send them to their first national championship game against Wisconsin.
“I thought it was a great hockey game,” Terriers coach Brian Durocher said. “One thing I thought was probably in our favor is we seemed to wear them down a little bit. Whether it was the conditioning or a little bit more depth or just our night, it was awful nice to see that. I think it was reflected in the shots on goal.”
Those shots on goal were 31-15.
“They were tremendous,” Cornell coach Doug Derraugh said. “We had a tough time generating anything through the middle of the ice. We had a tough time getting it to the net. They did a great job overall, but they played really physical, won all the battles.”
Cornell took the initial lead at 5:29 of the first. Rebecca Johnston fed Karlee Overguard, who was streaking straight toward the goal. Overguard was alone against the goaltender and without slowing down fired the puck past Sperry.
“We were on the rush,” Karlee Overguard said. “Becca cut across and sent if over to me. I don’t think the ‘D’ saw me on the backside so I had a mini-breakaway. I just went to the net. I didn’t have much time. I was just thinking put it on net and it went in.”
“Cornell came out with a tremendous amount of speed,” Durocher said. “But after that, Kathy Ward’s shot finds the corner, so that gave us the momentum.
That tying goal came five minutes later when Kathryn Ward’s slap shot from the point found its way in through a crowd.
“Cornell plays four-to-five people around the net,” Durocher said. “When we were winning faceoffs, they weren’t charging out to the point, so our job was to get shots through there.”
“After they got the first goal, we were thinking let’s get it back,” Amber Overguard said. “It was still a 1-1 game and it was anyone’s game at that point, so we were still staying positive.”
Boston U. took control of the game late in the second with a pair of goals within 50 seconds, starting at 17:47.
Jillian Kirchner got things going, taking advantage of a deflection. Kathryn Miller took the original shot from up high, which was stopped in front by the defenders. However, the deflection went the opposite direction from where the goaltender originally moved to make the stop. Kirchner picked up the loose rebound and beat Mazzotta before she had time to recover.
“It was a team effort,” Kirchner said. “Miller’s shot was nice and low and the puck found my stick, and I just hit it into the net.”
Jenelle Kohanchuk followed to make it 3-1. Jenn Wakefield fed Kohanchuk cutting across the front of the goal unmarked behind the defense. Kohanchuk flipped a backhander over the outstretched leg of Mazzotta.
“The puck started in our own end when I passed it to Jenn Wakefield,” Kohanchuk said. “She had great puck control the entire play when she carried it down the ice. She had the defense on her and passed it to the slot letting me take control of it. What went though my mind was put the puck in the back of the net.”
It was only a matter of time for Boston U. to be rewarded in the middle stanza, as they outshot the Big Red, 10-2.
Cornell got their most shots in the final period, but with only seven, it was still not much as the Terriers continued to outskate the Big Red.
“Obviously, we didn’t want to give up that many shots, and we wanted to get more,” Derraugh said.
Boston U. finished off the scoring with a two-on-one empty-net goal converted by Holly Lorms with 2:40 to play.
Kerrin Sperry wound up with 14 saves for the win while Mazzotta stopped 27.
Cornell ends their season at 31-3-1.
“Four years ago we won four games,” Derraugh said. “And now we’ve just gone to the Frozen Four two years in a row and won the ECAC and Ivy League two years on a row. This group of seniors have done more things than any other seniors have ever done in the history of Cornell women’s hockey and this year won more games than any other Cornell women’s team has ever won. As a coach, I couldn’t have asked for more.”
Boston U. (27-6-4) will play Wisconsin for the national championship on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
“I’m unbelievably humble and proud to be the coach of this team,” Durocher said. “I think we as a team are really proud of what we accomplished to get to the championship game.”