Boston College women’s hockey has one more game against Holy Cross this season, but at this rate, it might be better for the Crusaders to just sit that one out. The Eagles went into Worcester, Mass., on Saturday afternoon and handed slumping Holy Cross its 13th-consecutive loss, a 5-0 blowout on the strength of 11 different BC (12-3, 9-1 Hockey East) players registering points and a first-year goaltender in Molly Barrow posting a shutout in her debut.
Within the opening six minutes of the first period, the No. 4 Eagles, who extended their win streak to four games, won three-consecutive faceoffs and fired off two shots. The early surge was just a sample of things to come, setting the tone for a game in which BC dominated possession from the first whistle. Multiple Eagles skaters were able to pry the puck away from the Crusaders (0-14-2, 0-10), with forwards Willow Corson, Kelly Browne, and Erin Connolly all lining up and winning puck drops.
The sustained pressure didn’t take long to pay off, with Cayla Barnes drawing first blood in the ninth minute of the opening period. Teammate Bridget McCarthy beat a Crusader defender and swung the puck from the wing, giving Barnes a chance to slot a shot past Holy Cross’ Julia Pelletier. The Eagles are 10-0 when the freshman defenseman records a point, so it was no surprise that they coasted the rest of the way.
Kelly Browne continued BC’s dominance by winning the ensuing faceoff, and, after roughly two minutes of further pressure from the BC offense, Delaney Belinskas increased its lead. Caitrin Lonergan and Graze Bizal pushed the puck up into the offensive zone quicker than the Crusader defenders could realign themselves, and after Lonergan’s shot was denied, Belinskas finished it off from the crease.
Holy Cross seemed to slightly increase its level of play after falling behind by two goals. After Browne scored, the Crusaders won the subsequent faceoff and strung together a sustained attack for the first time all day , but Barrow turned away four shots. Later in the period, Eagles forward Olivia Finocchiaro was called for interference, resulting in a two-minute Holy Cross power play. Barrow again was a crucial contributor to BC’s successfully penalty kill, as she deflected a hail of Crusader shots on net.
As the second period commenced, the Eagles shook off Holy Cross’ late first period push and started to take control of the game. Not only did BC forwards maintain possession, but the group also pushed the puck up the ice and took shots at every possible chance, piling up 50 over the course of the game. With 18 in the second period alone, it was clear the Eagles would eventually score, and it was Browne who added an insurance goal off a laser-like pass from Newkirk.
Continued BC possession started to take a toll on Holy Cross defenders, as Eagles skaters moved the puck with ease. The Crusaders defense was evidently one step behind in transitioning coverages and even changing lines, and they gave up two more goals in the third period. Newkirk attacked the net and created an opening yet again for a pass and a quick shot from Lindsay Agnew which was deflected and finished by Browne. To round off the final period, Connolly scored off a ricocheted shot to give BC a five-goal lead.
While the Eagles’ offense proved that it could score off dumped pucks and counter-attacks, arguably the greatest factor in the Eagles’ resounding victory against in-state rival Holy Cross was Barrow’s shutdown performance in net. She seemed to calm any nerves before the first whistle, though, making 16 saves and recording the clean sheet for the Eagles.
BC’s ability to rely on all its players, no matter where they fall in the depth chart, is an advantage that plays a major role in thorough victories. The sheer depth that head coach Katie Crowley has to work with is something that few coaches have. When a team like Holy Cross comes around, and the Eagles can afford lean on their reserves, fans get an good look at just how deep and talented this BC roster is, from top to bottom.
Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / For The Heights