By the end of the 2019-20 season, Boston College women’s hockey ranked No. 22 in the nation for penalty kill percentage. The Eagles escaped an astounding 83.4 percent of their shorthanded periods unscathed. But against Providence in the Eagles’ third game of the 2020-21 season, something was different.
The Eagles gave up two power-play goals to the visiting Friars—plus one while Providence (2-0-1) was shorthanded itself—in a down-to-the-wire 3-2 game, handing BC (2-1) its first loss of the season. Regardless of the result, the Eagles put up quite the fight, particularly in the third period. Down 2-1, the Eagles put up 18 shots in the final period compared to Providence’s four.
“I really like that about our team—that fight that we had … we put the foot on the gas pedal in that third period, and on another day, maybe we’d put another one in, but it just wasn’t our day today,” head coach Katie Crowley said in her postgame press conference.
Although the Friars came out on top, it was BC that opened the scoring. It didn’t take long for Savannah Norcross to put up her second tally of the year. Just three minutes into the game, Norcross cherry picked a pass from Gaby Roy right in front of the net and poked it past Providence goaltender Sandra Abstreiter.
Norcross was a force to be reckoned with last season. The forward notched 11 goals—the fourth most on the team—and six assists during the 2019-20 campaign.
Norcross may be a familiar name for BC fans, but a new name made an appearance in net for the Eagles: Abigail Levy. The junior transfer from Minnesota State had her first career start with the Eagles and came away with an impressive 25 saves for BC.
Providence responded to Norcross’ opening goal with two of its own, both on the power play. Maegan Beres went to the box for hooking just after the four minute mark, and Providence fired three shots on Levy before Lauren DeBlois connected with the net.
The second of Providence’s power-play goals took a bit longer to materialize, and when it did, it was nothing short of spectacular. With a minute and a half left in the first period, Beres attempted a clear out of the Eagles’ zone, but Claire Tyo nabbed it out of the air and placed it for a long-range slap shot from the blue line. The puck made its way through traffic and over Levy’s shoulder to find the back of the net.
Even after a high-flying first period with highlight reel-worthy play, both teams stood stagnant in the second. The scoreless period wasn’t for a lack of trying, as the Friars notched 13 shots on Levy, and BC fired six of its own. Crowley attributed the lack of scoring to her team trying to be too polished.
“In the second, we were just trying to look for a perfect play,” Crowley said. “You know, it’s nice to see a pretty goal, but I think sometimes you’ve got to get a dirty goal, and you’ve got to fight for it a little harder.”
The Eagles are no stranger to perfect goals, as a video of Willow Corson’s perfect assist to Hannah Bilka went viral earlier this week, drawing retweets from USA Hockey and even the NHL.
After a scoreless second period, Providence expanded its lead to two on a shorthanded score eight minutes into the final period. But the Eagles kept up the fight.
“I think we just thought that we had the ability to win the game still,” Crowley said. “Obviously that was a little bit deflating in terms of, you know, you don’t want to have a shorty scored on you, but overall, I really liked our power plays. I liked the opportunities [we] got.”
After Providence’s third goal of the night, BC responded with a score from Beres, giving the Eagles new hope. Unfortunately for the Eagles, Beres’ was the only shot of BC’s 18 in the frame that found the back of the net. But luckily for the Eagles, they have a chance for redemption on Saturday.
“I think that’s the good thing about this being the first part of the series: We have that second game to start off where we ended … with that intensity and that desire to win the game,” Crowley said.
Featured Image Courtesy of BC Athletics