Sports, Hockey, Women's Hockey

Eagles Sweep Season Series with 8-3 Win over Holy Cross

After its frustrating 5-2 loss in Providence last week, Boston College women’s hockey needed to bounce back. The Eagles had won the first game in that weekend series, taking the Friars to overtime in a thrilling 2-1 victory. BC came into its matchup against Holy Cross confident, and it showed in its performance on the ice.

The Eagles (14-10-3, 13-8-2 Hockey East) have controlled the season series against Holy Cross (3-20-4, 3-17-1), defeating the Crusaders 6-0 and 5-1 in both of their prior matchups. Following the pattern that has been laid out thus far this season, the Eagles ran up the score against a far weaker Holy Cross team. Similarly to BC’s 5-1 win over the Crusaders, each goal in Friday’s game was scored by a different player, displaying the Eagles’ offensive depth and balanced scoring ability.

Just over two minutes after the puck drop, Savannah Norcross passed the puck back to Hadley Hartmetz, who brought it to the top of the left circle before firing a wrist shot past Crusaders goalie Julia Pelletier, netting her second goal of the season.

For the rest of the period, BC continued to dominate. The Eagles showed their first sign of weakness when Caroline DiFiore took a slashing penalty, putting the Eagles down a man midway through the first frame.

And yet, BC was not deterred by this disadvantage. The penalty kill unit limited the Crusaders to four shot attempts, two of which were blocked by Cayla Barnes without even reaching goalie Molly Barrow. And when the shots did make it through to Barrow, the veteran goaltender made experienced plays to keep the Eagles ahead of their opposition.

Shortly after the game returned to five-on-five play, the Eagles got another chance against Pelletier. Both teams crowded around the Crusaders’ net before Norcross was able to push the puck through traffic and into the back of the net. 

The celebrations had barely died down before BC added to its lead. Hannah Bilka fought with Crusaders defenders against the back wall, eventually collecting the puck and carrying it back toward the blue line. Bilka passed the puck to Deirdre Mullowney, who took a slapshot and beat Pelletier for her first career goal with the Eagles.

When the two teams returned from intermission for the second period, the Crusaders had made a change in goal, switching out Pelletier for Jada Brenon. In addition to the change in goal, Holy Cross came out of the locker rooms with a change in attitude. The Crusaders came out playing more aggressively and ready to compete with the Eagles, and for a short period, it looked like they would get one back against BC to begin their comeback. But midway through the frame, the Eagles further extended their lead over their conference opponents. 

Bilka forced a turnover in the neutral zone, flipping the puck to Delaney Belinskas. The senior tore into the offensive zone on a breakaway, shooting a wrister high glove-side on Brenon as four Crusaders raced to stop her.

Now that the Eagles had regained their momentum, Holy Cross couldn’t stop them. Brenon was the only thing standing between BC and victory, and the Eagles held nothing back, peppering the goalie with shot after shot. 

Shortly after Belinskas’ tally, Olivia Finocchiaro secured her own place on the score sheet. The Eagles had gone to the power play following a tripping call against Holy Cross’ Hannah Gillis and BC had fought to remain on the offense against the Crusaders. Barnes made an initial shot against Brenon that was kicked right onto the stick of Finocchiaro, who secured the rebound and tucked the puck into the net. 

Once again, it didn’t take long for BC to find itself within scoring distance, this time sophomore Kelly Browne coming in clutch for the Eagles. Bilka battled with Holy Cross defenders for the puck along the half wall, passing the loose puck over to Alexie Guay. The freshman then sent a centering pass to Browne, whose quick one-timer beat Brenon just inside the left post.

As the clock wound down on the second frame, Bridget McCarthy collected a pass from Kate Annese and shot a wrister at the goal. Brenon made the initial save on McCarthy’s shot, but the puck trickled past her skates, putting the Eagles up by seven.

Soon after the start of the third period, Holy Cross dashed the hopes of the Eagles securing a shutout for Barrow. A cross-ice pass from Rachel Moore made it onto the tape of Kailey Langefels’ stick, allowing the freshman to shoot a long-distance wrister past Barrow to put the Crusaders on the board.

With just under 11 minutes remaining in the game, Maegen Beres tapped in the puck after a shot by Belinskas hit the crossbar behind Brenon. Holy Cross, despite being down by seven goals, continued to fight. The Crusaders battled back, scoring two more goals against Barrow, but they were ultimately unable to make a dent in BC’s lead as the clock wound down. 

The Eagles swept the season series against Holy Cross and extend their all-time series lead to 6-0-0.

While the win does not push the Eagles ahead in the Hockey East Standings, BC is now only one point behind No. 8 Boston University heading into the Beanpot, where the two teams will meet in the first round. 

Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Editor

February 1, 2020