Top Story, Women's Hockey

BC’s Scoring Frenzy Continues in Shutout of New Hampshire

Daryl Watts found herself with a great scoring opportunity once again. After receiving a Makenna Newkirk pass, she located one defender between her and the net. She rifled the puck back to Newkirk, forcing the defender to commit to her in the process. Newkirk, seeing a wide open Watts in front of the net, slid the puck back to her linemate, who flicked it top shelf before New Hampshire goaltender Kyra Smith could turn her head. With this goal—Watts’s fourth of the game—the freshman turned in her second-straight five-point performance, leading Boston College women’s hockey to a 6-0 victory on Friday night.

The No. 2 Eagles (17-1-3, 11-0-3 Hockey East) came ready to play in the first period. A minute after the opening puck drop, they drew a tripping penalty, spurring an early power play. Though UNH (9-7-5, 6-4-3) killed the penalty, BC got the opportunity to control the puck and put good shots on Smith at the beginning of the contest, sending a message that its offense came to play. After an evenly played five minutes following the power play, BC drew an Ali Praus holding penalty.

Caitrin Lonergan won the ensuing faceoff, jumpstarting a relentless BC offensive rush that could not be stopped. The Eagles regained possession of the puck after a quick Toni Ann Miano miss. Disciplined passing by Lonergan and Watts gave Newkirk an open opportunity in the slot. Smith denied her first shot attempt, but Newkirk caressed the rebound and scored on her second effort. The 50th goal of her career gave BC a 1-0 lead midway through the first period, validating the Eagles’ early onslaught.

After an Erin Connolly penalty with around seven minutes left in the first period, it appeared as if the Wildcats had a chance to tie the contest. BC’s defense had other plans. It jarred the puck loose during the UNH power play, and Watts grabbed it around the red line. She only had Carlee Turner to beat. After a devastating toe drag, Watts—who leads Hockey East in points—slid the puck through Smith’s five hole. This incredible effort kicked off the freshman’s impressive outing.

The Watts show continued in the second period. After Eagles netminder Katie Burt spearheaded two penalty kills, maintaining BC’s 2-0 lead, Watts simply took over. With around 10 minutes left in the frame, a gutsy screen by fellow freshman Maegan Beres cleared out two defenders, giving Watts the space and time to patiently score from point-blank territory. Up three goals, the Eagles were already pulling away from the Wildcats.

Later in the period, a Serena Sommerfield boarding penalty backed the BC defense up again. It stopped a short-lived UNH chance and facilitated yet another opportunity for Watts in open space. Yet again, she capitalized, launching the puck top shelf to score short-handed for a second time. With this score, the Toronto, Ontario native recorded a hat trick, less than 13 minutes into the second period.

Watts, with four points, could have done nothing for the remaining period and a half and still have been the first star. She already put the game out of reach, and the Wildcats had no answer for her. Much to UNH’s dismay, she kept her foot on the gas pedal. After a crisp back-and-forth exchange with Newkirk—who finished with four assists—Watts found another opportunity to fool Smith and shot one past her for her fourth goal of the night. The Wildcats stared in disbelief as the goal horn sounded and the lights flashed in Conte Forum once again. This prompted UNH head coach Hilary Witt to pull Smith and replace her with Hilary Cashin. Later, Sommerfield scored on a slapshot, putting the cherry on top of a dominant BC performance.

Despite the Eagles having an inexcusable eight penalties, Burt recorded 32 saves in a shutout performance. The senior’s relentless intensity smothered any hope of a UNH comeback down the stretch. She could not have done it without a defense that protected her at all times.

Miano stood out with two big-time defensive stops. In a penalty kill situation in the second period, she blocked a ferocious slapshot that went soaring over the glass and off of the protective netting. Later, as the clock wound down in the third period, she reached her stick around a UNH skater on a breakaway and poke checked the puck away. These Miano highlights are a microcosm of the work the BC defense did for all 60 minutes, putting Burt in the best position possible to record the shutout—the Eagles’ second all season and first since Nov. 17.

Despite having the most prolific performance of the game, Watts ultimately credited Burt for leading BC to victory.

“She played amazing,” Watts said, per BC Athletics. “She really kept us in there for a bit, [and] we’re lucky to have her.”

Featured Image by Taylor Perison / Heights Staff

January 5, 2018