Top Story, Women's Hockey

Haley Skarupa Buries OT Winner As BC One Win Away From Title

DURHAM, N.H.— Alex Carpenter darted down the long stretch of ice at Whittemore Arena, and passed to her linemate, Haley Skarupa.

Skarupa wound up and shot hard at Clarkson goalie Shea Tiley by the crease, and the puck found its way into the net. No big deal for Skarupa—with 35 goals this season, she does it a lot.

“[Carpenter] couldn’t have put it in a more perfect place for me to just hammer it home,” Skarupa said. “I just slid it in there.”

But this one was different. This one came 58 seconds into Boston College women’s hockey second overtime game of the year, and gave the Eagles (40-0-0, 24-0-0 Hockey East) the edge over Clarkson University in the National Semifinal.

If you watched the first period, you would not believe that BC would ever make it to overtime. The Golden Knights (30-6-5, 14-3-5 Eastern College Athletic Conference) dominated the Eagles, who suddenly had a feeling that they weren’t in Chestnut Hill anymore.

Three minutes in, Rhyen McGill shot from the crease, and the puck slipped in between the right pipe and Burt’s right hand. The Golden Knights knew that a one-goal lead would be a big one, as the Eagles’ offense was brought to a grinding halt. Clarkson displayed a level of play unmatched by any of BC’s opponents in Hockey East this season, and it showed.

Amid the yelling of the Clarkson faithful, the Eagles were stifled by the Golden Knights’ defense. BC’s dynamic duo, Carpenter and Skarupa, was broken up, unable to connect on its usually seamless plays. It stifled their typically deadly onslaught of shots, and left BC struggling to find the puck. Even when on the man advantage, it seemed that the Golden Knights far outnumbered the Eagles.

BC went into the locker room down by one, the first time the team has done so all season.

Even with half of a power play to start off the second period, the Eagles could not capitalize on the man advantage. The Golden Knights stood attention at the goal, not even letting BC get through to face Tiley. Every shot was blocked, and no one could get through the traffic.

Five minutes into the second period, Clarkson struck again, this time taking a hard shot from the left faceoff circle. The puck hit the crossbar and landed in the goal. It didn’t look like BC would come out with win No. 40. The Eagles were out of gas.

But Skarupa didn’t just score the overtime goal.

After a long drought, Carpenter tried for her shot, but fell once the puck deflected off Tiley. Skarupa picked it out of the mess and shot it into the low right corner of the right pipe. Tiley’s hand stretched out to reach it, but she couldn’t stop it in time, and the Eagles were now on the board.

“They really kicked it into gear halfway through that second period,” head coach Katie Crowley said.

Even with the goal, however, it seemed like BC couldn’t catch up. That is, until Kaliya Johnson showed up on the scene.

The senior defenseman shot between the faceoff circles after Megan Keller passed the puck to center with less than four minutes left in the third period. The shot went in, and fans were treated to an entirely different atmosphere. With a tie game, anything could happen.

A penalty on Carpenter with 2:06 left on the clock gave the Eagles a scare. Clarkson forced its way into BC’s defensive zone, and well-placed shots on goal kept fans on the edge of their seats.

But the third period’s last few moments occurred without a goal. BC and Clarkson headed into overtime, during which Skarupa would play Savior again and clinch the win for the Eagles. Carpenter skated over to hug Skarupa, and every BC player swarmed the ice. The team even made sure to thank its supporters, banging on the glass where BC fans with signs sat.

For some, the win was never doubted.

“[Assistant coach Courtney Kennedy] said before the game today, ‘We’re gonna win, because they’re not gonna lose,’” Crowley said.

After a season of disappointment last year, in which the Eagles fell in the Beanpot, Hockey East Finals, and National Semifinals, the Eagles have found a way to come through in the clutch. BC took home the first two trophies of the year. Clarkson gave the Eagles a little reminder of last year’s woes.

But with plays like that from Skarupa, it’s hard to imagine the Eagles will be stopped on the path to making a clean sweep of the hardware this year.

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor

March 18, 2016