Just four years after Minnesota’s Noora Räty graduated with an NCAA-record 114 wins, Boston College women’s hockey goaltender Katie Burt joined her atop the leaderboard, turning away 22 shots in a 5-0 win over visiting Providence on Friday night.
The No. 2 Eagles (23-2-3, 16-1-3 Hockey East) extended their win streak to five and distanced themselves from the No. 10 Friars (14-8-6, 10-4-4) in the Hockey East standings, stretching the lead for the regular season title to an impressive 11 points.
It took BC a period and a half to break through, but the floodgates opened as it scored five goals in the game’s final 25 minutes. The scoring spree provided more than enough support for Burt, who withstood a second-period barrage of shots before watching her offense go to work.
Ryan Little scored twice, Caroline Ross had a pair of assists, and Daryl Watts added another goal to continue her impressive freshman campaign. After entering the third with a narrow 1-0 lead, BC erupted for four goals in a complete reversal of the first 35 minutes or so.
“They play a very hard-fought style,” Eagles head coach Katie Crowley said. “It took us a little bit to get used to that. We finally started getting more pucks on net and started putting some in.”
Watts got things going with an impressive scoring play, coming right after the Eagles nearly conceded a shorthanded goal in the waning minutes of the second period. The freshman phenom blocked a shot and traded passes with Caitrin Lonergan before burying a wrister into the roof of the net from the left side.
With the exception of a breakaway denied by Burt, the third period entirely belonged to BC. Serena Sommerfield scored from near the blue line at the five-minute mark, putting a knuckler on net that glanced in off a Providence defender.
Makenna Newkirk followed with a deflection in front of the cage, capitalizing on a puck thrown on goal by Ross. Little—who entered with three goals on the season—then scored twice in the span of five minutes.
Her first was opportunistic, coming after an Erin Connolly shot tipped off Delaney Belinskas in front of the Friars’ net, with Little positioned to clean it up. She put the exclamation point on the four-goal explosion on a later power play, with BC finally finishing on the advantage after squandering five early chances.
“Ryan (Little) had two goals by just putting a puck to the net and that’s something we need to do,” Crowley said. “We need to get gritty goals, get in front of that net, screen, and try to get tips.”
Providence played well in the opening two periods, but twice shot itself in the foot with penalties after drawing a power play of its own. In the opening period, an embellishment penalty went against defenseman Whitney Dove, resulting in a 4-on-4—one in which neither team recorded a single shot. Next, after going down, 1-0, in the second, a holding penalty on forward Blair Parent canceled out the bodycheck by Connolly.
Eventually, the missed chances and penalties haunted the Friars, as the game quickly slipped through their gloves. They managed just eight shots in the final period, none of much difficulty for Burt. Her strong effort saw her record improve to 11-1 all-time against Providence, the lone blemish a 4-1 setback in Feb. 2017
Already considered one of the best netminders in NCAA history, having rewritten both the BC and Hockey East record books, Burt only added to her tremendous college hockey career against the Friars. The senior, who began her time in Chestnut Hill with a 30-win season as a freshman, can break the record on Saturday afternoon against the Friars in Rhode Island.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to come in and play basically every game,” Burt said. “I’ve played on some phenomenal teams and had some great defenses in front of me. I’ve had teams that put 10 pucks in the net, which makes my job a lot easier.”
Featured Image by Delaney Vorwick / Heights Staff