Women's Hockey, Hockey

Eagles’ Struggles Continue in Weekend Finale Loss to Terriers

The last time that Boston College women’s hockey had lost three games in a row in a given season was in 2010. That was, until this weekend. Saturday’s game against Boston University looked to be a get-right game for Katie Crowley’s team, as they had previously dropped single goal games to No. 5 Northeastern and the same Terriers team.

But Boston University (6-4-4, 5-4-4 Hockey East) carried its confidence from the night before into the back half of the home-and-home series. Defenders kept their sticks on the ice to block 21 shots and goaltender Corinne Schroeder tallied 37 saves, en route to a series sweep. No. 4 Boston College (12-6, 9-4) had trouble all afternoon getting its offense going and this disjointed effort led to a high quantity of shots, while the Terriers were able to achieve much better quality with their chances. BU defended its home ice and took the regular season series in the Battle of Commonwealth Avenue, 4-2.

The first period on Saturday characterized a much cleaner and more defensive frame than when the teams met the night before. There were 17 combined penalties called on Friday night, but the first frame on Saturday was free of discipline. Both teams focused on staying out of the box and were able to play well defensively.

The Terriers especially did a good job at getting into shooting lanes, blocking eight of BC’s 22 first-period shots. It was a fairly even period where neither team was able to seize momentum. BC was able to muster a few more shots on net, but BU created more threatening chances. Eagles’ goaltender Maddy McArthur came up with a big save early in the period on a breakaway chance for the Terriers, preserving the scoreless tie.

It took just over a minute and a half for BC to break that tie in the second period. Kristina Schuler was whistled for holding Savannah Norcross as she cut towards the net, giving BC its first power-play opportunity of the afternoon. The Eagles capitalized while on the advantage, as Makenna Newkirk took the puck behind the Terriers net. As she was rounding the cage, she dished a centering pass to her fellow captain Megan Keller, who one-timed her seventh score of the season over Schroeder’s left blocker.

Shades of Friday crept back for the Eagles just over three minutes later when Caitrin Lonergan was sent to the penalty box for interference. The Terriers’ power-play unit that had taken advantage for three goals the night before took the ice with mountains of confidence. While it was able to get little going for the first minute of the advantage, Abby Cook proceeded to take matters into her own hands. After controlling the puck from the point, the defenseman rifled a slap shot over the left shoulder of McArthur, lighting the lamp for her fourth time this season. The unassisted goal knotted the score and proved to shift momentum to the BU bench.

After another five minutes of play, BU began its third power play of the period. The Eagles had killed off the second one, but the Terriers would again find the back of the net. Cook struck again, sending a laser past McArthur off of a one-time pass from Sammy Davis. The go-ahead goal was the fifth power-play score in two contests from a BU team that entered play converting just over 11 percent of its opportunities.

The Eagles’ struggles were exacerbated with two minutes left to play in the frame. Skating with a head of steam and a 2-on-2 opportunity was Schuler. From the left circle, she ripped a shot which McArthur was able to save. Unfortunately for BC, McArthur parried it right to the waiting stick of Deziray De Souza, who put away the rebound for BU’s first even-strength goal in the home-and-home series, which gave the Terriers a commanding two-goal lead. In the last two minutes of play, BC pressed on the offensive end, peppering three shots on Schroeder, but was not able to cut into the deficit.

The Eagles carried that fiery intensity into the third period. Just 27 seconds in, Daryl Watts received an entry pass from Lonergan, and then the Patty Kazmaier Award-winner turned on the jets. She beat a defender and then wristed a low shot that nestled itself in the bottom right corner of Schroeder’s cage. It marked a team-high 11th goal for Watts, who dialed up a timely score that gave BC over 19 minutes to find an equalizer.

Yet it was an equalizer they would be unable to discover. The Eagles continually attacked the net, getting off 12 shots on goal, but BU’s defense held firm, and Schroeder came through with a number of big saves. After failing to find the back of the net for the rest of the final period, the Eagles pulled McArthur, and Jesse Compher polished off an empty-netter to solidify the result.

With three losses in a row, more questions surround this Eagles team than ever before this season. This team was supposed to be competing for a national championship, seamlessly integrating its existing superstars with its three returning Olympians. That has not been the case recently, and if the Eagles want to take home any hardware this season, they will need to do a better job at converting their chances into goals. A home-and-home against a much-improved Merrimack team awaits BC next weekend, where Crowley and Co. will look to get back on the right track.

Featured Image by Jake Evans / Heights Staff

December 2, 2018