Boston College women’s hockey has faced a tough opponent in the University of Connecticut this season. On Friday night, the Huskies (8-5-1, 5-3-1 Hockey East) handed BC (11-3-1, 10-3-1) its first loss of the season. But in the second matchup of their home-and-home series, the tides turned in the Eagles’ favor after a goal by Savannah Norcross late in the third period. The freshman delivered the game-winning goal, and the Eagles tied up the weekend series at one apiece in Saturday afternoon’s 2-1 victory.
After five minutes of back and forth play, the No. 6 Eagles settled into Connecticut’s zone. The Eagles showered UConn goalie Morgan Fisher with shots, and it didn’t take long for the goaltender to crack under the pressure. BC’s Cayla Barnes wove her way through defenders and took a shot on Fisher, who couldn’t see through the traffic. The puck connected with the back of the net, giving the Eagles an early lead.
The Huskies broke away multiple times to try to equalize the score, but the Eagles caught up to block their shots.
Shortly after, the referees called Morgan Wabick for tripping, putting BC a man up. BC spent the entire two minutes in front of Fisher, but the Huskies managed to kill off the penalty.
A second call on UConn immediately after BC lost the advantage gave the Eagles another two minute power play. Despite being a man up for four consecutive minutes, the Eagles couldn’t capitalize.
At the start of the second period, it took just seconds for Connecticut to equalize. Nine seconds after the puck drop, Danika Pasqua snuck the puck past Maddy McArthur to tie up the score. The Eagles tried to immediately respond, but Fisher quickly blocked every shot that came her way.
Toward the end of the period, Connecticut spent some more time in front of McArthur, putting pressure on the sophomore goaltender to try to break ahead of the Eagles, but she stood fast.
BC’s first penalty came after Barnes went into the box for hooking. The Eagles successfully killed off the penalty, but Connecticut, in a desperate attempt to break away, pulled Fisher as the game returned to full strength to keep their extra player.
Minutes later, a tripping call on Delaney Belinskas then put the Eagles back in the penalty box. Despite heavy pressure from the Huskies’ offense, the Eagles killed off the penalty and returned to even strength.
BC took control of the first period, while Connecticut took control in the second, leading to a 1-1 tie heading into the final frame. In the third, the Eagles had an early power play after UConn’s Savannah Bouzide was called for tripping. The Eagles took shot after shot on Fisher, but they couldn’t connect, and their second power play opportunity of the afternoon expired without a goal. The Eagles looked for a golden opportunity after Erin Connolly connected with a rebound, but Fisher kicked it away at the last second. After 10 minutes, neither team could pull ahead of the other.
The teams were equally matched, and save for Connecticut’s penalty early in the period, puck possession was equal between them. Both McArthur and Fisher blocked every shot that came their way.
While it looked as though the game was going to go into overtime, Norcross had other ideas. After picking up a pass from Hannah Bilka, the freshman slammed a shot past Fisher from the crease to put BC ahead with just over one minute left in the frame. After an official review, the referees awarded Norcross the game-winning goal.
UConn has been the Eagles’ kryptonite all season, handing them two losses so far. It’s encouraging for BC to beat the Huskies through strong team play on UConn’s home ice. BC’s prolific ability to kill penalties has been its saving grace all season, and that proved to be no different tonight.
Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Editor