Last year, Boston College women’s hockey was down by one goal against Boston University in the first five minutes of the game. The team tried its hardest to recover, but its one goal got lost in a sea of three others for BU, keeping BC from hoisting up the Hockey East Tournament trophy. After the loss, the Eagles fell in the NCAA Tournament Finals, closing out a once-outstanding season with the feeling that missing two pieces of hardware was a failure.
This year, BC was up by one goal against BU in the first five minutes of the game. A pass on the power play from Alex Carpenter gave Haley Skarupa a wide-open shot on the right side of the net, and she blasted it at the goal. While goalie Erin O’Neil flailed around in an attempt to stop the puck, she knocked it past the line, giving BC the lead.
And with that, the Eagles (38-0-0, 24-0-0 Hockey East) redeemed themselves for last season’s loss against the Terriers (23-14-2, 17-5-2), shutting them out 5-0 to claim the trophy in the Hockey East Finals in North Andover, Mass. It was just the second tournament win in BC’s history, the first coming in 2011.
BC’s dynamic duo switched roles after the first goal to put another one on the board. Just a minute later, Skarupa passed the puck along to Carpenter, who nailed it from behind the circles and sent it high into the left side of the net, the puck making a swirl on the back pipe.
With two goals over the Terriers, the Eagles cooled off, failing to register another point until the second period. Once the first intermission ended, however, BC wasted no time in getting the puck past O’Neil again. Just 16 seconds into the second period, Carpenter struck again, streaking up the ice and waiting expectantly for Skarupa to pass the puck, stick at the ready. Her initial shot targeted the five-hole, but O’Neil blocked it with her leg pads. Carpenter fired back almost instantly, this time taking advantage of the space between the left pipe and O’Neil’s left arm for her 41st goal of the season.
At 82 points, Carpenter has accomplished a new program record for a single season, and is just one behind points leader and fellow Patty Kazmaier Award finalist Kendall Coyne of Northeastern.
To complete the first-line scoring, Kenzie Kent opened up the third period with a goal of her own. After a pass from defenseman Megan Keller, Haley Skarupa shot at O’Neil, to no avail. The rebound, however, landed in the perfect place for Kent, and she scored a wide-open goal on the right side. O’Neil was visibly angry after BC’s fourth goal, slamming her stick after she got up from trying to save the puck.
BC goalie Katie Burt, on the other hand, had a stellar night, earning her 13th shutout of the season. She blocked 25 shots with the help of her defensive pairs, including Keller.
Kristyn Capizzano scored her second goal of the tournament after she passed the puck behind her toward the crease. It curved into the goal and put the Terriers in a tizzy, with O’Neil pounding the ice with her fists and Rebecca Russo looking up toward the ceiling, defeated. Whatever hope was left was surely gone now.
After the game, the team received the Hockey East Tournament trophy, and Carpenter was voted the tournament MVP. Skarupa and Keller were also named to the All-Tournament team. The Eagles will have less than a week to gear up for the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals, in which they will face Northeastern on Saturday at 1 p.m. as the No. 1 overall seed.
From the showing on the ice this Sunday, there’s only one question left to ask the Eagles.
Will they redeem themselves again in the NCAA Tournament this year?
Featured Image by Lucius Xuan / Heights Staff