Boston College women’s hockey hasn’t had many issues dealing with nearby Holy Cross since the Crusaders made the jump to Division I last season, and Friday afternoon’s matchup at Kelley Rink proved to be no different. The No. 6 Eagles defeated Holy Cross by a convincing score of 5-1, using five different goal scorers to continue their undefeated start to the season.
BC (7-0, 6-0 Hockey East) came out very strong in the first period, firing shots on Crusaders (0-6-2, 0-3) goaltender Jada Brennon right away. As a result, it only took about four minutes for the Eagles to find the back of the net. Forward Kelly Browne tallied her first goal of the season on a wrister into the top corner to give the Eagles an early lead.
“Kelly Browne has had so many scoring chances and just been a little snakebit for the first couple,” BC head coach Katie Crowley said. “It was nice to see her get her first there.”
Only 24 seconds later, the Eagles were able to double their lead. Freshman Hannah Bilka scored her team-leading eighth goal of the season following a Holy Cross turnover in its defensive zone. Browne was credited with the assist, already giving her two points on the day.
The score remained 2-0 for the rest of the period, despite the Eagles recording 12 shots on goal during the frame, as well as a shot off the post from forward Savannah Norcross. Eagles goalie Maddy McArthur made six saves in her return from an injury that forced her to miss the team’s previous two games.
The second period opened with strong forechecks and scoring chances from both sides, but no scoring took place until about halfway in the period. BC forward Lindsay Agnew stole the puck in the neutral zone and made a great feed to freshman Alexie Guay who put the puck in the back of the cage for her first career goal. Guay’s scoring play gave the Eagles a 3-0 lead midway through the period. Guay had to wait for a few minutes to fully celebrate, as her goal was being reviewed by the referees, but it was ultimately upheld.
Only 27 seconds later, Holy Cross struck back with a goal from Sommer Ross. Ross put a shot on net that got through the traffic in front of the cage and eventually past McArthur. Regardless of the goal, Crowley was impressed with the play of McArthur in her return from injury.
“They had nice traffic in front of her and, defensively, I think we could have been a little better on the defensive side of that one,” Crowley said of the lone goal. “They kinda snuck it through her. Overall, I thought she was good today when she needed to be.”
BC took back its three-goal lead three minutes later with a strike from Norcross. With a lot of traffic in front of the Holy Cross net, the puck found Norcross, and she slotted it into the empty net. Cayla Barnes and Agnew were awarded the assists, giving Agnew a two-point day as well. The Eagles were then gifted a power play following a Bailey Bennett hooking penalty and nearly scored when Bilka hit the post on the man advantage, but the score remained 4-1 heading into the second intermission.
BC was given several opportunities to score in the early stages of the third period, thanks to two Holy Cross penalties. They were unable to light the lamp on the subsequent power plays, making them 0-for-4 on the night while on the one-man advantage.
Following the power plays, the Eagles netted their fifth goal on a deflection by Willow Corson off a great pass by defenseman Hadley Hartmetz. This goal was also Corson’s first of the season. Despite generating pressure, Brenon denied the Eagles their sixth goal on multiple occasions. Toward the end of the period, BC received its fifth power play of the game but was unable to convert yet again, and the score remained as time expired.
“I’d like to see them score on the power play, but nine shots is pretty good. I’m glad we were putting pucks to the net,” Crowley said of BC’s special teams performance. “I thought we could’ve been a little sharper overall, including on that power play. As long as we are getting those scoring opportunities, I don’t think we will change too much on that.”
The Eagles continued their recent dominance of Holy Cross with the win, and further staked their way to a strong lead in the Hockey East table. BC has come surging out of the gates and has won both blowouts and closely contested matchups. With three straight home games on tap, the Eagles are in a great position to continue to keep pace with that 2015-16 national runner-up squad.
Featured Image by Kayla Brandt / For The Heights