Just about two months had elapsed since Boston College women’s hockey throttled Harvard, 8-1, when the two teams met to cap off the season series on Tuesday night—but nothing changed. Once again, the Eagles proved to much for their Beantown rival to overcome, as BC picked up its fifth-straight win over the Crimson, 6-2.
Six different players tallied points for the No. 2 Eagles (20-2-3, 13-1-3 Hockey East) on their way to victory, including Daryl Watts and Caitrin Lonergan, who have both posted points for BC in the last 15-consecutive games. Associate head coach Courtney Kennedy couldn’t help but sing the praises of her offense.
“I think they’re a special group and sometimes I’m just watching them create these plays, and I feel like they’re playing on a pond and just enjoying it,” she told reporters. “They love to play the game, and it’s just contagious.”
Right from the get-go, BC dominated possession. The Eagles made their home in Harvard’s (8-8-1, 6-5-1 ECAC) zone, and it wasn’t long before they found a golden opportunity. BC’s powerhouse second line gained possession of the puck and took off toward Harvard goaltender Beth Larcom. Lonergan streaked down the middle of the ice and went to pass to Kenzie Kent, but instead relayed the puck to Willow Corson after being met with traffic. The Toronto, Ontario native saw a an open pocket and sent the a shot past Larcom and into the net to give the Eagles an early lead—one that would only increase with time.
After receiving a pass from Maegan Beres, Toni Ann Miano slipped on the ice and fell but quickly recovered to fire a shot from the blue line that cleared multiple BC and Crimson players before hitting twine to give the Eagles a two-goal advantage heading into the locker room. The first 20 minutes were fairly quiet, and the only penalty came as the buzzer sounded, signifying the end of the period. Caroline Ross was called for holding, and the Eagles started the second on the penalty kill.
Harvard came out much more aggressive, but BC was able to kill off Ross’ penalty with relative ease. When the Eagles returned to full strength, Watts took a shot from the circle that was deflected off Larcom’s pad. Luckily for BC, Newkirk was right there to scoop up the rebound and score on the open cage to put her team up, 3-0. The Crimson tried to retaliate and get on the board, but the Eagles disrupted most of Harvard’s passes and denied it a handful of opportunities to get the puck past Burt.
BC wasted no time in the third frame. Less than five minutes into the period, Lonergan picked up a pass from Kent and shot a wrister from the circles that went high around her defender and Larcom to make it a four-goal lead for BC. Determined to get on the board and leave Kelley Rink without a shutout, Harvard was much more aggressive in the final 20 minutes of regulation. With just eight minutes remaining, the Crimson finally lit the lamp. Nikki Friesen came across the net and took a shot from the circle that was too fast for Burt to stop, denying the senior her third blanking of the season.
It didn’t take long for BC to respond—28 seconds, to be exact. Watts virtually erased the Crimson’s scoring play, whipping a shot by Larcom, tallying her nation-leading 31st goal of the season. Harvard got another opportunity to cut its deficit back to three when Bridget McCarthy was called for slashing, but the Eagles killed off their second penalty and returned to full strength. Seconds after all five players returned to the ice, Serena Sommerfeld took McCarthy’s place in the box for interference. BC had pushed its luck, and this time couldn’t kill off the penalty as Friesen took advantage of an empty cage from behind to narrow the gap.
Right on cue, BC responded with its sixth and final goal just 16 seconds later. Erin Connolly capitalized on the chaos surrounding the crease in the closing minute of the contest, sneaking in a goal to solidify the convincing win.
When all was said and done, Burt saved an impressive 36 shots, bouncing back from a weekend series, in which her save percentage rested at an unusually low .857-mark.
“Every game [Burt] gives us a chance to win, and that’s huge for a goaltender to be able to do,” Lonergan said. “She’s the best goaltender in the country in my opinion.”
Four days removed from dropping their second game of the season, it’s safe to say that Burt and the Eagles—who have recorded five-plus goals in consecutive outings—have put Friday’s loss behind them.
Featured Image by Taylor Perison / Heights Staff