Alex Carpenter raised her hands in anger.
The superstar of Boston College women’s hockey had been mobbed all game by defenders for the University of Maine. Sometimes, they poked their sticks through the legs of the 2015 Patty Kazmaier Award winner to try and block her on breakaway attempts at goaltender Meghann Treacy. Other times, the Black Bears simply brought her to the ice in a desperate attempt to stop the fastest player in the sport. With each moment of contact, Carpenter shot a menacing glance at the indifferent referees, partially in frustration that she couldn’t find the net, but also to beg for a call that never came.
Other teams might roll over when their superstar is neutralized. But no team is as deep as the Eagles. And when you have the supporting stars that Katie Crowley has, you can afford to have an off day from the best player in women’s college hockey.
In the opening round of the Hockey East Playoffs, the No. 1 Eagles (35-0-0, 24-0-0 Hockey East) rode a three-point day from senior captain Dana Trivigno to take the first game of their series with the Black Bears (10-22-2, 6-17-1), 5-2, at Kelley Rink.
The Black Bears started off slow in the first period. Maine forgot that ice was slippery, as many of its defenders fell while trying to pick up BC’s speedy forwards. The Eagles, however, came out just like an elite team should. Sophomore Kristyn Capizzano opened the scoring five minutes into the frame, catching Treacy selling out too far to her right by slotting a backhander up high.
It wouldn’t be long until a fired up Maine squad, fighting to keep its season alive, would strike back. After whiffing on a wide-open look in front of BC’s Katie Burt, Nicole Arnold ate up a juicy rebound off a shot from Eve Boissonneault to tie it at one.
Again, BC showed what separates it from the rest of the pack in Hockey East. Less than 30 seconds later, Tori Sullivan cleaned up on a shot from Meghan Grieves to give the Eagles a lead heading into the locker room after the first.
Richard Reichenbach’s team wasn’t done just yet. Catherine Tufts went coast-to-coast, flying down the ice before finding Victoria Hummell on Burt’s left. The sophomore beat Burt over her right shoulder to briefly give BC a scare. At the same time, Maine’s defenders were stifling Carpenter. Crowley, however, wasn’t surprised.
“I think Alex has that target on her back every game we play,” Crowley said. “Now that we’re in the playoffs, teams are going to get even more physical.”
She placed the onus on her other players to contribute when the top line of Carpenter, Haley Skarupa, and Kenzie Kent cannot. Fortunately for her, she has college hockey’s most electric second line: Andie Anastos, Makenna Newkirk, and, of course, Trivigno.
Treacy botched an easy deflection off a shot by Anastos, allowing Newkirk to gather the puck easily on an open net halfway through the second period. And after missing a couple of clear looks, Trivigno made a SportsCenter Top 10-worthy play.
Her linemate, Newkirk, had a good forecheck in the right corner, allowing the defense to pounce on her while Trivigno created space in front of Treacy. Newkirk then bounced the puck out and, while Trivigno noticed the defense going the other way, she put up a shot on Treacy, hoping for a rebound. But the goal squeaked through the five-hole, giving the Eagles the cushion they needed to cruise to a victory. Newkirk’s empty-net goal, assisted by her center linemate, only punctuated BC’s 35th consecutive victory. When Trivigno’s line can click like it did on Friday, she believes it’s unstoppable.
“If you look at most of our points, it’s mostly line goals,” Trivigno said. “It goes from me, to Andie, to Makenna, and our successes are coming from us working together.”
As for the Black Bears, they’re still trying to fight to keep their season alive, if only to give their seniors one more opportunity to play college hockey at a high level. If there’s any consolation for Reichenbach, however, to see his seniors move on, it’s that Carpenter will be joining them, too.
“I’m not going to be upset when she graduates,” he said.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor