Top Story, Women's Hockey

Anastos’ Overtime Heroics Cap off Hockey East Championship

Boston College women’s hockey waited with bated breath. Katie Burt, usually strong on her own, held on to her teammates. Head coach Katie Crowley spoke to her fellow coaches on the bench, her face showing flashes of anger. Off by themselves, Kenzie Kent and Andie Anastos stood close, looking toward the penalty box. Just one minute before, the Eagles threw off their gloves and flung their helmets to the ice, celebrating yet another overtime goal by Anastos to put BC up 2-1 to win the Hockey East Championship.

But the celebration would have to wait.

The referees reviewed the play, and after several minutes, returned to the ice. The goal would stand. Everyone could breathe again—and hug, and cry, and sigh in relief.

It was an uphill battle for the Eagles (26-5-5, 17-4-3)—Northeastern University (22-12-3, 14-8-2) got the best of them at the end of a stagnant first period. Following a shot by Ryan Little on goalie Brittany Bugalski, Kasidy Anderson took the puck up the middle of the ice. Though Serena Sommerfield and Megan Keller provided defense in the back, Anderson outskated Sommerfield and Keller on her left, the latter attempting to slow her down with her stick as she fell to the ice. From there, all Anderson had to do was fake out Burt. A well-placed shot above Burt’s stick side zoomed into the net from between the faceoff circles, and the impact sent Anderson careening into Burt.

After a breather, BC skated into the second period with vengeance. BC failed to connect on the power play immediately following Northeastern’s goal. But a tripping call on Halle Silva gave the Eagles another special teams scoring opportunity. This time around, it took just 11 seconds for the Eagles to convert on the power play, as Kali Flanagan blasted the puck from the point, and Bugalski could not get her bearings.

With the score tied, both teams faltered in gaining an advantage. For the remainder of the second period and the entirety of the third, both the Eagles and Huskies each notched two power plays, but to no avail. For the second time in as many games and the eighth one this season, BC was headed to overtime.

The Eagles had some good chances from the beginning of overtime, with Delaney Belinskas and Makenna Newkirk offering up solid shots to Bugalski. Five minutes in, however, captain Anastos struck again. While Newkirk and Kent made their way up to Northeastern’s defensive zone, Newkirk was taken out by Hayley Scamurra, losing the puck in the process. Kent waited by the goal as Anastos retrieved the puck and shifted to shooting position. Her shot weaved between Kent and Northeastern defensemen, ultimately skimming past Bugalski’s glove side. For both BC and Bugalski, it seemed like a lock—the goalie looked down and shook her head following the play, and Kent and Newkirk leapt into Anastos’ arms. Once the review was cleared up, the Eagles went on to celebrate—for sure this time. Cameras already on the ice captured the madness that ensued, and Crowley was noticeably excited about the win.

Following the victory, awards were given out for outstanding players in the tournament. Four Eagles—Burt, Keller, Anastos, and Kent—were named to the All-Tournament Team, and Anastos was named its Most Valuable Player. Once she was given her small glass plaque, however, she promptly handed it off to someone else—she needed her hands free so that she could hoist up the Bertagna Trophy a few moments later.

Now a conference champion, BC was selected as the No. 4 seed for the NCAA Tournament and will face a 26-win St. Lawrence team in the quarterfinals at Kelley Rink next Saturday. Though coming back to beat teams in overtime has proven successful for the Eagles, BC should look to build up a sizeable lead against the Saints in the first period, as a majority of St. Lawrence’s goals have been tallied in the second period.

Yet, as of now, the luck hasn’t run out for the Eagles—and with Anastos’ recent offensive surge, it may only have just begun.

Featured Image by Josh Mentzer / Heights Staff

March 6, 2017

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