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WOMEN'S HOCKEY: Wasylk's Late Goal Downs Harvard

Assoc. Sports Editor

Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 21:02

Hockey

Emily Fahey / Heights Staff

As BC’s Lexi Bender corralled the puck near the Crimson’s goal late in the third period, teammate Taylor Wasylk broke through an open lane and toward the crease. A flawless pass and a dramatic score later, the Eagles found themselves soaring to their second consecutive Beanpot championship game.

“I saw an opening and just went to the net and Lexi made an awesome play and hit me,” Wasylk said of her go-ahead score. “I don’t even think I knew it was coming. It just kind of hit my stick and went in.”

Though a defensive battle left Tuesday night’s first-round Beanpot matchup in a gridlocked score for more than two periods, the Boston College women’s hockey team edged Harvard in a dramatic 2-1 victory at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena.

“I thought that was one heck of a hockey game,” said head coach Katie King Crowley. “You got two great teams out there that battled hard, and I thought it was really a great, great hockey game.”

From the outset, both squads proved themselves worthy of their top-five national rankings with razor-sharp focus and gritty defense. The few offensive opportunities that found their way near either goal were stifled by sound goaltending from BC senior Corinne Boyles and Harvard freshman Emerance Maschmeyer. Despite out-shooting the Crimson 12-7 and creating a viable three-on-two chance, the Eagles’ attack was to no avail.

When the lack of offensive conversion found its way into a scoreless second frame, sophomore standout Alex Carpenter realized that the only way she and her teammates could unhinge an impressive Maschmeyer would be a relentless attack on goal through forced opportunities.

“I think we definitely looked to get more shots,” Carpenter said. “In the first period, it was very much back and forth in the neutral zone. We were definitely working on getting the puck to the middle and just getting some shots to get something going.”

Yet the Eagles’ adjustments did not prevent Harvard from drawing first blood, as the Crimson enacted chaos in front of BC’s goal. A shot from forward Gina McDonald was blocked by Boyles, but escaped the goalie’s reach. Before the Eagle keeper could trap the loose puck with her glove, Harvard’s Mary Parker flicked it into the back of the net with her stick, breaking a scoreless tie less than five minutes into the period.

A dormant BC offense was awakened by Harvard’s lead-grabbing score, however, and responded with a strike of its own soon after. Sophomore Emily Field corralled the puck in the wing and sent a perfect feed that was one-timed into the goal by freshman Dana Travigno. After holding each other scoreless for almost 45 minutes, BC and Harvard exchanged scores in a span of less than three minutes.

Fortunately for Crowley and the Eagles, the momentum sparked by Travigno remained on their side. With under four minutes left in regulation and the game threatening to head into overtime, Bender connected with Wasylk on a scoring play in front of the goal that gave BC a 2-1 advantage that it never relinquished. Boyles and her stellar 40-save performance closed the contest out and preserved the type of comeback victory that has become a signature of this Eagle squad.

“We are a third-period team,” Carpenter said. “We’ve scored most of our goals in the third period. I think we need to work on scoring in the beginning, but I think this is a great momentum boost to go into the next game.”

Yet Crowley embraces BC’s flare for the dramatic as a motivator for late-game success against any opponent.

“When you look at our scoring, we score a lot in the third period,” Crowley said. “I always try to mention that to our kids, and see we have 20 minutes left to win a hockey game, to play for a trophy. I thought our kids really came out hard and came out strong in that third period. We had to kill off some penalties there, and I just thought they came out fired up and ready to go. I told them, ‘We’ve won games with 20 minutes before, so let’s do it again.’”

Heading into next week’s championship game, BC has momentum on its side as it looks to capture its fifth Beanpot title in program history. Regardless of last Tuesday night’s success against a strong Harvard squad, Boyles and the Eagles realize what it takes to win a tournament featuring three top-10 teams.

“It’s super competitive this year,” Boyles said. “Everybody can play, everybody has the chance to win it. We know we have to bring our best.”

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