WOMEN'S HOCKEY: Productive First Line Aids Redemption As Eagles Defeat UNH
Published: Sunday, January 26, 2014
Updated: Sunday, January 26, 2014 21:01
The Eagles’ drive to win was immediately apparent Saturday afternoon when the women’s ice hockey team looked to avenge its only Hockey East season loss to the University of New Hampshire. The drop of the puck released the deadly Eagles, who reclaimed their nest with a 5-3 victory, having been defeated by the Wildcats at Conte Forum in October.
Boston College’s first line of Taylor Wasylk, Dana Trivigno, and Kate Leary was connecting at a lethal level with a total of three goals and five assists. The team started off strong with a goal halfway through the first period by Wasylk, tallying her sixth goal of the season. Wasylk forced the puck under freshman goalie Ashley Wilkes’ left arm, after catching a wrap-around pass from line-mate Trivigno.
Just over five minutes later, Trivigno followed up with the team’s second goal of the period, with a wrist shot that she settled after a deflection from Wasylk’s stick. Less than two minutes after that, Wasylk was able to extend the Eagles’ lead to 3-0 via a five-hole slap shot from the top of the zone’s circle.
“I thought our kids came out with a pretty big bang, especially scoring three goals in that first period and that’s always good to see,” said head coach Katie King Crowley. “I would like our second and third to be a little bit better.”
The Wildcats came alive in the second period, firing 20 shots on goal, double that of BC. Jessica Hitchcock put UNH on the board at 2:55 after receiving a pass out front in the slot from assistant captain Hannah Armstrong. Her snipe to the top left corner of the net kept UNH’s energy flowing and hope alive.
“Obviously our strengths were we picked it up in the second and the third, but you can’t win a hockey game when you don’t play all three periods,” said UNH co-head coach Stephanie Jones.
BC was able to sneak the puck past Wilkes with a power play goal by Kristyn Capizzano just 2:27 into the third period. After an initial save on Emily Pfalzer’s slap shot from just inside the blue line that was angled toward the goal by Trivigno, Capizzano capitalized on the gift-wrapped rebound delivered right into the slot.
Less than two minutes later, Emily Pfalzer caught a perfect pass from Andie Anastos in the slot and made the goalie pay by firing the puck top left corner.
With a four-goal lead on the Wildcats, the Eagles got too comfortable in their nest. Their defensive play deteriorated, and chaos broke out in front of senior goalie Corinne Boyles. A shooting gallery ensued with several shots blasted her way. Cassandra Vilgrain added a goal to the UNH tally after gathering a rebound at 8:04.
It did not take UNH too long to make another quality play. Boyles broke down against Vilgrain by getting caught too far right, leaving the left side of the net wide open. Vilgrain took advantage of this mistake, instantly scoring off of a tape-to-tape feed from Heather Kashman at the top of the left circle “dot.”
The physicality of the game added to the overall excitement and competitive atmosphere between the two teams. Over the course of 60 minutes, nine penalties were handed down, leaving both teams at a disadvantage several times. There were also numerous scraps and much trash talk exchanged between plays. Several players were sent to the box for penalties including hooking, crosschecking, and interference. At 2:27 in the third period, Trivigno and Nicole Gifford received minor match penalties for hitting after the whistle.
Winning a game without a strong final line of defense is difficult, and goaltending played a huge role in the outcome of the game. UNH out-shot BC, but Boyles was equal to the task. Boyles received several shots to the chest, which she easily handled, along with several low shots that she was able to stretch and save. Although she did struggle some with rebound control, she mostly managed to keep the puck out from between the pipes.
“I thought Corinne was good today,” Crowley said. “The goals that they scored were tough ones where people were kind of wide open in front or open for one-timers, which are kind of point blank scoring opportunities for them.”
Ashley Wilkes, the UNH freshman who averaged a .907 save percentage going into Saturday’s game, was able to help keep UNH alive throughout the three periods. She faced the five penalties against her teammates, deflecting several threatening shots by gracefully gliding from post to post.
After the game, Jones had praise for Wilkes’ play. “I thought Ashley was on—like the rest of the team she probably didn’t have her best start—but she certainly saved us several times in the second and the third, so I was proud of Ashley,” she said.
This season the Eagles have proven themselves by holding the top slot in the Hockey East standings with a 12-1-1 record. Their overall results are impressive as well at 17-4-3. Though BC did not end the game as well as they’d hoped, they were still able to pull out a solid win.
“I think a lot of our focus needs to be on our mental side and finding ways to put teams away when we get up by three goals,” Crowley said. “And by saying that, I mean finding ways to score goals, not let them kind of creep back in and stay, hover right over us … Goal scoring, goal scoring, goal scoring, and being able to put these teams away.”