Sports, Hockey, Women's Hockey

Barnes, Eagles Fend Off Syracuse for Fourth Straight Win

After rolling past Holy Cross on the road Thursday, Boston College women’s hockey took a break from Hockey East play and made a quick trip to New York on Saturday for a matchup with Syracuse—a team the Eagles have historically dominated.

Yet, for the first time in 31 games, the Eagles were outshot, and they nearly surrendered a three-goal third-period lead in the process. In the end, though, behind two goals from Cayla Barnes, BC escaped with a 4-3 win over the Orange.

The first period was dictated by the Eagles (4-0, 3-0 Hockey East) and their powerful offense, which hummed along after a six-goal output against the Crusaders. With more shots on net, BC was able to control possession and had the balance of chances. In the first few minutes of the opening frame, Barnes kickstarted the scoring with an excellent pass to Kelly Browne inside the right circle. On a brilliant give-and-go, Browne immediately dished the puck back over to a crashing Barnes for a finish at the left post. 

The Eagles didn’t drop their intensity in the period, though. Two minutes later, after picking up a loose puck, Savannah Norcross found Lindsay Agnew, who buried a top-shelf goal past Orange (0-3) netminder Ady Cohen.

In the second period, Syracuse bounced back and gained momentum, tallying 19 shots on net compared to just four for BC. Like the Eagles had in the first, the Orange were able to control possession, and it eventually came to fruition. In BC’s previous three games, it had managed to stymie 24 power plays by opposing teams. In the final minutes of the second period against Syracuse, though, the Orange was able to snap that streak.

Emma Polaski, a junior forward for Syracuse, tapped in a goal off a feed from teammate Jessica Digirolamo. That was the first time that Maddy McArthur, BC’s sophomore goaltender, allowed a goal since the first period of the second game of the season. But she was largely stellar in the second period. Even though the Orange racked up shots, McArthur was still able to block nearly everything. By the end of the period, she had recorded a remarkable 20 saves on the afternoon and allowed her team to keep a slim lead.

In the final period of the game, Hannah Bilka was able to score an early goal during a power play, giving the Eagles a 3-1 lead just two minutes into the final period. Browne registered her second assist of the game, sending the puck across to the freshman forward who rifled it in from the dot. Then, at the five-minute mark, after an impressive sequence of passes from Bilka and Olivia Finocchiaro, Barnes tucked her second goal into the back of the cage. With most of the period ahead of it, BC led by a comfortable 4-1 cushion. 

The Orange, however, would not relent. At the seven-minute mark of the period, Kristen Siernachesky found Digirolamo on an on-man rush, and she tallied a goal on the left side of the net. Syracuse, at that point, was still down by a pair of goals, but it amped up the pressure. In the final minutes of the game, with an extra attacker on the ice, Anonda Hoppner capitalized on a loose puck in front of McArthur and lit the lamp. A minute and a half remained, but the Eagles were able to hang on and grind out the win.

As a whole, BC should feel good about its victory, and further, its unbeaten start. The defense struggled slightly on Saturday but still managed to hold off the Orange. If McArthur continues to set the tone in net, the Eagles will be in great shape for the future. That said, BC’s offensive attack, led by the trio of Barnes, Browne, and Bilka, was easily the bright spot of the win. 

The Eagles have swept through four road games—no easy feat—and get to return home for five of their next six games.

Featured Image by Maggie DiPatri / Heights Editor

October 6, 2019