By Dave Dyer
---- — Boston University women’s hockey goalie Kerrin Sperry of North Reading has finally learned to tone down her emotions.
And that, says BU coach Brian Durocher, may be the key to her terrific play thus far this year.
Sperry, a senior and starter since her freshman year, has always had the skills to be an excellent collegiate goalie, and she has the record and statistics to prove it. It’s also why Durocher recruited her out of Lawrence Academy.
“I saw her first at a U.S. national camp at St. Cloud (Minn.) and she not only kept the puck out of the net, but she looked good doing it,” said Durocher, a former goalie and co-catain of the BU men’s team. “She was a little undersized (5-foot-6), but I could see that she’s a super competitor, quick, very athletic and very determined.”
All of that led to Sperry starting as a freshman and leading the league with a terrific league-leading 1.60 goals-against average while compiling a sparkling 21-4-3 record as the Terriers advanced to the Frozen Four. The numbers were a bit misleading, however.
“I think that (stats) was more a reflection of the team in front of me,” said Sperry. “I didn’t have as many shots taken and when there was a rebound or puck right in front, it was cleared right away.”
With a massive change in personnel, Sperry struggled a bit as a sophomore, posting a 19-14-1 record but, by the end of the year, she turned the corner in an area that has since made her one of the best goalies in the country.
“I started learning to keep my composure and that’s really important for a goalie,” said Sperry. “Especially with young goalies, there’s a lot of pressure, and it took me a good two years to hold back when things didn’t go my way, when a teammate made a bad pass, was out of position or maybe the puck went off their skate.
“I realized that getting mad doesn’t do any good and I had to stay composed. That helps me preserve my energy and calms down the team so that we can recover from a bad situation.
“My ability to stay compose has allowed me to be a better goalie. We have a young team this year, but I think I’m playing my best hockey right now.”
The calmer demeanor has definitely made a difference according to Durocher.
“Kerrin has had a very good career here, but she’s saving her best for last,” said Durocher. “She’s really playing well.
“She’s always had the quickness you need and she loves to compete. She never does not think she is not going to get the puck and our staff has never had to motivate her. If anything, we have had to dial her down so she’s not too intense with her teammates, but she’s gotten a lot better.”
The composure has led to an 12-2-1 record for Sperry with a 1.86 goals-against average and save percentage of .939, both of which lead the league. In Hockey East action, she’s undefeated (7-0) and her stats are even better (1.16 ga, .956%).
Last month ,Sperry was named Hockey East Goalie of the Month and, says Durocher, she could very well be a candidate for the U.S. national team at some point.
Sperry, would certainly welcome that opportunity but, for the most part, she’s focused on her career plans. Next year, she’ll complete an ROTC graduate program in international security, after which she’ll join the army with the goal of becoming involved in army intelligence.
“She’s very committed to the ROTC program ... her focus is typical for her, like the way she’s approached goaltending,” said Durocher. “She’s set a great example for our program.”
It’s been even better since Sperry has gained her composure while doing what she does best, which is stop pucks.
Sperry’s BU record
Year Record Goals Against Save percentage
2013-14 12-2-1 1.86 .939
*2012-13 24-5-3 2.20 .919
2011-12 19-14-1 2.50 .914
*2010-11 21-4-3 1.63 .929
* BU advanced to Frozen Four finals
Meet Kerrin Sperry
Hometown: North Reading
High school: Lawrence Academy
College, year: Boston University, senior
Sport, position: Ice hockey, goalie
Accomplishments: Four-year starter, has 76-26-8 record with 13 shutouts, leads Hockey East this year in goals against and save percentage
Career highlight: Among many, winning game at North Dakota as freshman before 1,000 fans is high on her list
Career goal: Become involved in army intelligence after completing graduate ROTC program
Family background: Father (David) played football in college, mother (Julie) has background in figure skating. Older sister, Megan, a former figure skater is now at UPenn in PHD program and younger brother, Adam, attends NYU.