December 14, 2012

Women's Journal: BU's Sperry conquering all challenges

By Kat Hasenauer Cornetta

The theme of Kerrin Sperry’s (North Andover, Mass.) weekend trip to Duluth, Minnesota was “challenge.” Her Boston University team was finishing their fall semester with their first ever doubleheader against the University of Minnesota-Duluth, a team with a distinct WCHA personality. Add to that some typical Midwestern winter weather and finals time, and you have the makings of a weekend that could have derailed some. 

Kerrin Sperry is third in Hockey East with a .916 save percentage. (Photo: Twitter)

“The trip was very interesting,” said Sperry after the team returned. “We had a little weather trouble. On the ice, it was different plying a WCHA team. They are aggressive and a good passing team.”

While BU emerged with two ties on the weekend - a 2-2 overtime affair Saturday and a 0-0 draw on Sunday - it was their defense and their goalie, instead of their usually prolific forwards - that kept them in play. 

“We got ourselves out of a pinch because we didn’t bring our best game,” said Sperry.

But it was in the Sunday matinee where Sperry did a lot of the leg work. In one of her best performances all season, the 2011 Hockey East All-Rookie Team member and goaltending champion made 38 saves, which tied her season’s best. The performance earned her Hockey East’s Co-Defensive Player of the Week title - her third such award this season. 

It is no surprise that she believes that Sunday’s fall semester finale was her favorite game of the season thus far. “I felt strong,” said Sperry. “It was very challenging, but I felt strong and knew I could make the stops.”

Sperry is quick to point out that her strong performances this season are not all on her. She consistently gives credit to her defensive corps after big games, be it in interviews or on her (very active) Twitter account. 

“I definitely have had my share of struggles this season,” said Sperry. “But our defense has helped out. The defense is learning from their mistakes. The amount of times they make a mistake, double that amount they are helping me out.”

Coming into her junior campaign, the already calm and collected Sperry made more mental changes than physical ones. She worked on gaining more confidence and reaffirming that she’s the right goaltender for the job.

 “I have definitely stepped up my mental game. You have to believe in yourself,” said Sperry. ”Soft goals often come when your question yourself. You have to believe that you are capable to do the job you need to do.”

That job as the starting goaltender for one of the nation’s best teams this season will lead Sperry to a spring semester full of league matchups and the illustrious Beanpot, a tournament the Terriers are still trying to capture for the first time as a Division I program.

“In the spring, I am definitely looking forward to the Beanpot with teams like Boston College, Harvard and Northeastern currently in the top ten nationally,” said Sperry. “That will be a great tournament.” 

Before the spring, Sperry has a challenge taking place off the ice: final exams. She was almost more proud to talk about the 21-page paper she finished while on the Duluth trip than her strong performance in net. 

“I had already done the research, so it was just a matter of typing,” explained the political science student. “Every time I got on a bus or a plane or stepped into my hotel room, I was writing. It was a nice distraction from hockey.”

Sperry and Boston University will enjoy a holiday break that will not see them back in game action until Jan. 8, when they travel to UConn.

Player of the Week

Camille Dumais, Dartmouth College

Dumais’ strong offensive performances have Dartmouth in striking distance of the extremely competitive ECAC. Last weekend against Maine, the senior netted her fourth career hat trick in the Big Green’s 6-1 Saturday win. In Sunday’s matchup, Dumais added a goal and two assists as Dartmouth beat the Black Bears 4-2. Saturday’s game allowed Dumais to hit the 50 goal mark for her career. She sits second in the current Dartmouth lineup with seven goals and six assists in 11 games played. 

Game of the Week

Union at Maine, Friday night and Saturday afternoon

Union and Maine both sit on the bottom spots in their respective divisions, but this ECAC vs. Hockey East clash in Orono will be a great tuneup for each other’s respective spring seasons. Brittany Ott is a bright spot in goal for Maine. She notched 97 saves in a weekend series against another ECAC foe, Dartmouth, last weekend. Union is coming off a weekend where they played two close league games: a 1-1 tie against Yale and a 1-0 loss to Brown.

Division III Note of the Week

Courtney Carnes (Winslow, Maine) leads ECAC Women’s West member Buffalo State College in scoring with four goals and six assists through 11 games, which is only a point away from her total for the entirety of last season. The senior earned league player of the week honors after a two goal, two assist weekend sweep at Chatham University on November 10th and 11th. Carnes is a Health and Wellness major and previously played for the Portland Jr. Lady Pirates. 

Power Rankings

1) Harvard (9-1-1 overall, 7-0-0 ECAC)  

The Crimson had a quick turnaround between their 8-1 win over Providence College Friday night and their 2pm tilt at New Hampshire Saturday. Their skating showed a bit of fatigue against the Wildcats, and they didn’t pepper the net like their usual selves until the third period. That tie is going to weigh on their minds during the break, as Harvard’s mantra this season is that they want to outwork everybody. 

2) Boston College (11-3-2 overall, 8-2-1 Hockey East)

The Eagles head into the new year with sole possession of the top standing in Hockey East, thanks to a 4-1 win over New Hampshire last Wednesday. Senior Ashley Motherwell is playing her heart out of her senior year lately. She has two goals and three assists in her last four contests.

3) Boston University (11-3-3 overall, 6-2-1 Hockey East)

The Terriers showed their stuff against the speedy skaters of the WCHA in tying Minnesota-Duluth twice last weekend. They will need to ask their offense to help out a bit more down the spring stretch as opposed to the two goals total they put up on the weekend.

4) Quinnipiac (12-7-2 overall, 8-3-1 ECAC)

A weekend sweep of conference rival Princeton saw Bobcats goalie Victoria Vigilanti earn ECAC Goalie of the Week honors after halting 38 of the 40 Tigers shots over two games. Quinnipiac is riding a five game win streak and currently have sole possession of the top of the ECAC.

5) Northeastern (10-5-2 overall, 5-4-1 Hockey East)  

Kendall Coyne showed her stuff in a non-league matchup against Dartmouth last week, scoring two goals on five shots in a 3-2 overtime win. The reigning Hockey East Player of the Week looks to be ready to lead the Huskies into the spring semester with some fire power. 

Kat Hasenauer Cornetta can be reached at feedback@hockeyjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter at@sportsgirlkat.