BOSTON — Kelley Rink is often quiet when Boston College women’s hockey hits the ice. The recording of the national anthem plays in the emptiness in a way that makes it sound like you’re in The Hunger Games. Each slap of the puck resounds in the 8,606-seat stadium. If you’ve come on a good day—and BC women’s hockey has largely had good days in the Katie Crowley-era—you’ll hear the nasally sound of puck against twine and the clang of sticks against pipe.
Walter Brown Arena is a different entity entirely. Boston University’s pep band sits near the announcer to play a rousing and non-threatening rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Fans come bearing signs and strong vocal cords. The Eagles got an earful from the crowd Saturday, after a sure three-goal lead into the third period guaranteed a win, until BU came back to win, 5-3.
The Eagles (7-3-2, 6-2-1 Hockey East) came out of the gate ready to play. They put the pressure on BU (4-4-1, 3-4-0) from the start, with Makenna Newkirk slamming the first shot at goalie Erin O’Neil. The Terriers soon caught up, however, and began to make convincing runs at Katie Burt. In a seamless play, Sammy Davis streaked up Burt’s left side for a shot, and crossed it at the last second to someone on the right. It appeared that it would be an easy goal for BU, but Burt got to the other side in the nick of time to deflect the puck out of the crease and prevent any more offensive strikes. Later, the puck off of a hard shot made it nearly into the goal, but Burt’s leg kept it from passing over the line.
After a tough 10 minutes, BU came through with a reprieve for the Eagles. Connor Galway took her place in the penalty box after being called for interference, and Newkirk lunged at the opportunity. Her shot from outside of the faceoff circle landed under the goalie’s left arm, making the BC bench erupt with screams and sticks slamming on the boards.
The tension was lifted, but only for a moment. The period, as with the rest of the game, was ridden with penalties from both teams. There were 16 total, leading to 10 power-play opportunities for the two teams combined. BC had the upperhand with six and capitalized on two.
BC appeared to have found a sweet spot outside of the faceoff circle, as Grace Bizal took a shot from nearly the same place as Newkirk. It sailed under O’Neil’s glove, and Bizal stood there for a few seconds before being surrounded by a rush of teammates. Amid the constant back-and-forth of the crosstown rivalry, the goal served as a triumph, like the ones at the end of The Mighty Ducks or Miracle.
“Everyone was playing really well,” Bizal said. “Makenna had a beautiful pass to me, and I just tried to get it on that.”
But alas, hockey doesn’t end after 40 minutes. And the Terriers did a lot of damage in the final 20.
Victoria Bach dug the puck out of two warring players in Eagles territory and charged to the goal. She shot toward the left pipe, and Burt couldn’t save the puck. With the possibility of a shutout over, she tossed the puck to a referee, looking disappointed.
It didn’t look so bad … yet. Seconds later, BC answered back with another goal. Newkirk took the puck around to the front of the goal and passed it off to Caitrin Lonergan, who was waiting at the doorstep to knock one in on O’Neil’s right side.
The rest of the game came quickly. The Terriers made use of a power play that came their way when Erin Connolly got called for hooking. Mary Parker slammed a powerful shot from a few feet in from the blue line. The puck went so quickly that there was no way it wasn’t going in.
Bach, who had been trying her hand at a goal for the entire afternoon, finally got one off to tie the game up. Streaking down the ice with Toni Ann Miano keeping her at bay in front of her, Bach didn’t need to take her time to get her goal. Burt tried to snatch it out of the air, but it hit twine and sent the Terriers into a frenzy. Suddenly a game that seemed under lock and key for the Eagles wasn’t looking winnable.
Freshman Deziray DeSousa didn’t decide that her first goal would be the game-winner against BU’s greatest rival, but it didn’t hurt that it was. Sarah Steele took a shot, but Burt deflected it—right into DeSousa’s path. Her first try didn’t land it in, but another chance on the deflection allowed her to net her career first. The 4-3 lead breathed new life into the wearers of red and white. The crowd was wild. The band played with a spirit that had been lost in the second period, after the Eagles had the 2-0 lead. It was far too noisy in Walter Brown Arena for the Eagles to bear.
Burt held BU for a little while longer, but with 1:10 left, Crowley decided to pull her out in favor of the sixth forward. No matter the extra attacker, the Eagles couldn’t find the back of the net. The Terriers would one last time. Nina Rodgers glided toward the BC goal and shot effortlessly. Without Burt, all the empty net could do was accept the shot. Fourteen seconds later, and the Terriers officially won.
“Hey Baby” blared from the pep band as fans danced along. BU slammed its sticks on the ice, as a team does when it wins. The Eagles trickled off of the ice to the side, heading into the locker room.
Sometimes it is better just to have the quiet.
Featured Image by Josh Mentzer / Heights Staff