Sports, Women's Hockey

Eagles Squander Two-Goal Lead, Tie UNH in Final Regular Season Game

Hot off a four-game winning streak, Boston College women’s hockey entered its final game of the regular season against New Hampshire looking to secure the second seed in the upcoming Hockey East Tournament. After an aggressive and fast-paced game, the No. 7 Eagles tied the Wildcats, 3-3, using a game-tying goal midway through the third period to escape the Whittemore Center with a point.

BC (23-10-1, 19-7-1 Hockey East) came out of the first puck drop swinging, and it didn’t take long for it to ramp up the physicality. Just 15 seconds into the frame, Megan Keller registered the first penalty for hooking. Being down a skater didn’t faze the Eagles, though. Down in UNH’s territory, Mckenna Newkirk fed the puck to Lindsay Agnew, declining to take the shot herself. With no defenders in her way, Agnew fired a shot on Kyra Smith and secured an early shorthanded goal for the Eagles. Just a few minutes later, UNH (13-15-6, 10-14-3) drew its own penalty after Jenna Rheault took a two-minute trip to the box for interference. Despite the advantage, the Eagles couldn’t get past the defense to increase their lead.

BC was given the opportunity for another goal when Emily Rickwood was called for checking late in the period. The Eagles didn’t get another chance on the power play, however, as an immediate retaliation hit by Delaney Belinskas resulted in a penalty of her own, and both teams were down a player for two minutes. Neither team was able to best the other as the game returned to full strength.

With just four minutes left in the period, UNH made a costly mistake when Julia Scammell was whistled for checking. Just 20 seconds after she entered the box, Kali Flanigan took a shot from the blue line that sailed over Smith’s glove, giving the Eagles their second goal of the afternoon. The aggressive tone of the game was showing, as BC soon drew its third penalty of the period. Caitrin Lonergan was called for tripping, and UNH capitalized on the special teams opportunity. Carley Turner came from behind the net and shot the puck off of Cayla Barnes’ skate and into the back of the cage.

Barnes was soon committed a checking penalty of her own, rewarding UNH an advantage BC couldn’t afford with just over one minute left. It was cut short, however, when the Wildcats were called for too many players on the ice, resulting in 4-on-4 to end the fast-paced period.

The Eagles started off the second period with a player advantage, and they seemed to make the most of the opportunity. Agnew passed the puck to Belinskas in front of the cage, but after a questionable push from her glove to get the puck into the net, the officials called no goal, and the Eagles remained just one goal ahead of the Wildcats. UNH was much more aggressive throughout the second period, and, soon enough, the persistence paid off. Paige Rynne was left alone on the breakaway and quickly made her way down to Maddy McArthur. She was able to best the freshman netminder and equalize the score.

Keller drew her second penalty of the game for hooking, once again putting the Eagles at a disadvantage. After two minutes of heavy pressure for BC’s defense, the Eagles were able to kill the penalty. As the period closed out, UNH’s Rynne was called for tripping, and after a period dominated by the Wildcats, they gave the momentum back to the Eagles. Despite the opportunity, UNH retained its dominance. As the Wildcats returned to full strength, Taylor Wenczkowski pulled away from her defenders and slipped the puck past McArthur, giving UNH its first lead of the game heading into the final break.

Following five minutes of back-and-forth play, BC registered the first penalty. Daryl Watts was cited for tripping—after entering the third behind, BC’s defense worked hard to kill the penalty. UNH dominated the first half of the frame, but eventually the Eagles finally made their move. Closing in on Smith, Erin Connolly fired the puck past the goaltender to tie up the game. After a relatively quiet period that saw just the one goal by Connolly and one penalty, the game headed to overtime.

BC controlled play over the course of the extra five minutes but couldn’t get a goal past Smith. After neither team was able to score on the other, the Eagles closed out their last game of the regular season with their only tie of 2018-19, but still secured the second seed in the Hockey East Tournament. The only potential problem? BC will face No. 7 Connecticut in the first round, a team it easily swept this season but played spoiler in last year’s Hockey East semifinals.

Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Staff

February 23, 2019