Hockey, Women's Hockey

Eagles Dominance of Catamounts Continues in Thorough Win

Five minutes into the second period, Boston College women’s hockey was beginning to impose its will on a Vermont team that was clearly outmatched coming into the game. The Catamounts had managed to keep the Eagles off the board in the first period, but it was clear that they’d merely prolonged what seemed inevitable. BC started to launch shots with little opposition, and despite Catamounts goaltender Melissa Black’s best efforts, the Eagles grabbed the lead for the first time by finishing off a deflection.

With a one-goal advantage in hand, BC went on to roll the rest of the way, with freshman goalie Maddy McArthur recording her first shutout in a 3-0 win. The sixth-ranked Eagles (5-2, 2-0 Hockey East) continued their historical dominance of UVM (1-2-2, 0-1-2), having now won 21 consecutive games against its New England foe.

The first period was a back and forth affair, one that didn’t resemble the final two-thirds. In the opening minutes, BC controlled the puck and possessed most of the offensive momentum, but the Catamounts held down the fort and didn’t crack. UVM also managed to find several chances on the other end of the ice, with both teams ultimately putting quality shots on goal. The Eagles also had to kill off a pair of penalties in the opening ten minutes of the game to keep it scoreless. In a game that BC were favored to win by a sizable amount, this was a shaky start, to say the least.

Following the break, the tide began to swing in the Eagles favor in the second period, as they came out of the gate swinging and were able to consistently launch shots on goal. Five minutes into the period during a power-play, BC peppered Black—who admirably blocked numerous shots—but eventually conceded to Daryl Watts. Cayla Barnes and Makenna Newkirk provided the assists for the sophomore, who has four goals in six games.

The Eagles didn’t step off the gas pedal after that goal. Seven minutes later, Newkirk found the back of the net, scoring her second goal of the season. Lindsay Agnew and Megan Keller recorded their fourth assists of the season on the play. Up 2-0, the game was firmly in BC’s hands.

In the final frame, protecting a smaller-than-usual lead, the Eagles played smart, conservative hockey to keep UVM off the board. McArthur was called upon for 25 saves, including eight in the final period, and she didn’t falter once. The first-year goaltender is off to a tremendous start, having allowed one or fewer goals in each of the last five games. The 1.43 cumulative goals against average is also good for fifth in the conference, even more impressive with the fact that four of the five players ahead of her are seniors.

“It means absolutely everything to me,” she said of the shutout. “I think my birds in front of my played really well today. They did a fantastic job of picking up the puck and really working hard to back-check through the neutral zone.”

In a last-ditch attempt to score, Black left the net in order to try to provide a boost for the offense. Unfortunately for the Catamounts, BC capitalized on the empty net and scored, icing another conference win—it was Caitrin Lonergan who tucked away the insurance goal off of a Watts assist.

Agnew, Barnes, and Newkirk each extended their point streaks to five games, a clear example of the Eagles’ dangerous offense—one that doesn’t just rely on one single threat.

“We want all our lines scoring, moving quickly, making plays, and giving our team an opportunity to win the game,” head coach Katie Crowley said after. Her team has scored two or more goals in each of their five consecutive wins and are climbing up the conference’s scoring offense ranks.

Ultimately, this was another solid win for the Eagles. After starting off the season with consecutive losses to Minnesota-Duluth, BC has now rattled off five straight wins. In a competitive conference like the Hockey East, every conference game counts, and this game was no exception. While there are still concerns about this team such as the Eagles’ inability to get off to a quick start, BC is rounding into form. The offense has proven to be incredibly balanced and McArthur has been a defensive force in goal, a welcome sight after the graduation of NWHL first-round pick and four-year star Katie Burt.

The Eagles will be on the road next weekend, facing conference opponents Holy Cross and Maine. There, BC will hope to pick up more conferences wins and add to its winning streak—a streak that seems much more reflective of the group’s potential then the back-to-back losses to start the season.

Featured Image by Sam Zhai / Heights Editor

October 21, 2018