For a few minutes early on, the game seemed competitive. Syracuse’s Melissa Piacentini matched an earlier goal from Boston College, and goalkeeper Jenn Gilligan held off numerous BC attacks to maintain a 1-1 score. There was only so much the junior keeper could do to defend the barrage of shots coming her way, though. Eventually, she conceded two more goals in the period. By the early part of the second period, the BC women’s hockey team had thrown open the floodgates.
Throughout its 10-2 victory on Saturday, BC’s offense remained patient while controlling the puck on Syracuse’s end. The team rarely wasted a possession, consistently battering the front of the net. The Eagles’ forwards held better position on their defensive counterparts in this space all afternoon, leading to a commanding 41-17 shot advantage in the game.
Take a pause there, though. Shot differential may say a lot about a matchup, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Just look back to last fall, when No. 4 BC fell to a sub-.500 Syracuse team, 4-1. This loss knocked the Eagles from the top four for the remainder of the year. The shot totals in that game: 44-29, BC.
The difference this year?
“We were able to finish on our opportunities,” said BC head coach Katie King Crowley. “Last year, when we were out there, we had opportunities and we didn’t finish.”
The return of Alex Carpenter did not hurt either. BC’s leading scorer during the 2012-13 season missed college hockey last year to play for the U.S. Olympic Team. She waited only one period before returning to BC’s score sheet, assisting the Eagles’ fourth goal of the night. After adding another assist at the end of the second period, she burst out in the third, netting two goals over a span of 20 seconds.
“It’s definitely different when you come back,” Crowley said. “I think she’s doing a great job. There were some times when I thought she should have passed instead of shot—there were a few times she was trying to make that extra play. She’s obviously a great player, and we’re happy we have her back.”
This offensive onslaught came at an opportune time for BC, which padded its lead in the debut of its newest keeper, freshman Katie Burt.
“I thought she did great,” Crowley said. “She stopped the puck when we needed her to, especially at the beginning of the game. I thought she held down the fort when it was only 2-1. I was happy with the way she played. I was happy for her to get that win. She’s only 17. She was a young kid coming in, playing in her first college game, and I thought she did a great job.”
After two games, the Eagles have provided plenty of reasons to get excited about the season. Two double-digit scoring totals and just three goals allowed shows incredible potential on both sides of the puck.
The scariest part for BC’s opponents: everyone is involved. Eleven different players took a shot on goal in the first period alone for the Eagles on Saturday. Ten finished with at least one point, and four finished with at least five. Where last year’s team relied most heavily on current junior Haley Skarupa to score, that pressure has been lowered and diverted to Carpenter and others, including five freshmen.
It would be comical to consider BC maintaining a 10-goal average, especially with stouter competition ahead. But if BC’s lines can continue to work and develop together, it will likely cause more than a few headaches for Hockey East goalies this year.
Featured Image by Emily Fahey / Heights Editor