The five-year-old Boston University women’s hockey program clinched its first NCAA Tournament berth by beating No. 7 Connecticut 2-1 in overtime to capture its first Hockey East title.
Tara Watchorn netted the game-winner 9:52 into the extra session when she barely kept a puck in at the blue line and ripped a slap shot past a pile of players and into the top left corner of the goal.
The Terriers, who advanced to their first title game with a 4-0 win over No. 5 New Hampshire on Saturday, opened the scoring with a power-play goal 13:33 into the game.
After UConn’s Monique Weber was sent off for checking, BU’s Jonnie Bloemers threw a pass out front that bounced around a bit before Jenelle Kohanchuk got a shot off. Netminder Alexandra Garcia (31 saves) made the initial stop, but Kathryn Miller was able to poke home the rebound.
The Huskies, who were also searching for their first conference championship after beating No. 10 Providence 3-2 on Saturday, tied the game 6:50 into the second.
Weber threw a wrist shot on net from just inside the blue line and BU goalie Melissa Haber (25 saves) made her only mistake of the day, giving up a big rebound that Michelle Binning buried for her 20th goal of the season.
Both teams had plenty of chances to take the lead over the game’s final 33 minutes, but Garcia and Haber stood tall. One of the best chances for the Terriers came with less than 15 seconds to go. Kohanchuk took a pass in the slot and skated toward the doorstep, but Garcia stoned her point-blank chance with the blocker.
BU had another great chance to start the overtime. On the first shift of the bonus period, Jill Cardella sent a shot on net that led to a rebound, but Garcia denied Lauren Cherewyk’s second-chance bid.
About three minutes later, the Huskies had a chance to end it when Kelly Horan took a pass on the right wing and broke in all alone. She tried lifting a shot over Haber’s left pad, but the tournament MVP knocked it down with her glove.
UConn had another opportunity just two minutes before Watchorn ended the game. Binning collected a loose puck on a faceoff and fired a shot through a screen, but Haber stuck her right leg out and kicked it away.
The Terriers will travel to Erie, Pa., next weekend to face No. 1 Mercyhurst in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
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