Before the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to the season, Boston College women’s hockey was eliminated from the Hockey East Tournament in the quarter finals by the Connecticut Huskies.
But on Friday night, the No. 10 Eagles (3-2) got their revenge on the Huskies (0-2-1), taking down UConn 5-3 behind a strong offensive effort and a quality performance in net from junior goaltender Maddy McArthur.
After dropping both games in last weekend’s series against Providence, BC head coach Katie Crowley said she wanted her team to start this game off on the right note. At the outset, it didn’t seem that the Eagles would get off to that great start that they wanted, as freshman defenseman Maddie Crowley-Cahill took a tripping penalty just over a minute into the game.
Even so, it was the shorthanded BC side that scored first. Star center Kelly Browne took the puck down the ice and wristed a shot through traffic on net that beat UConn goaltender Samantha Carpentier-Yelle to give the Eagles the 1-0 lead.
“We realized that our effort wasn’t there for the whole team last weekend,” Crowley said. “Coming out with a lot of energy and scoring that first goal really helped.”
Just over six minutes later, the Eagles doubled their lead. Defenseman Alexie Guay ripped a shot from the right point that was deflected into the net by last year’s Rookie of the Year, Hannah Bilka, for her second goal of the season.
The Huskies struck right back a minute later, cutting the BC lead in half on a goal by Savannah Bouzide. Bouzide put a centering pass in front of the net that hit off McArthur’s stick and bounced behind her to make the score 2-1. The score remained that way into the intermission despite UConn outshooting BC 13-5 in the period. McArthur made key save after key save, totaling 12 saves in just the first period alone.
The Huskies kept their momentum out of the first intermission and tied the score back up just twelve seconds into the second period on yet another Bouzide goal. The Huskies then generated several chances on the power play after a tripping call on Natalie Tulchinsky, but McArthur stood tall in net to keep the score tied at two apiece.
Halfway into the second frame, the Eagles had a flurry of chances, and a rebound fell to Tulchinsky in front of the net, who poked it home for her first collegiate goal to give BC a one-point edge, which held into the second intermission.
After the break, the Eagles came out firing, and forward Savannah Norcross made a beautiful backhand pass to Browne in front of the net, who buried a shot past Carpentier-Yelle for her second goal of the night, giving the Eagles a two-goal cushion once again. Just under two minutes later, Crowley-Cahill played it down low to Tulchinsky, who scored her second goal of the night from close range, giving BC a 5-2 advantage. The Huskies tallied one final score late on a Kate Klassen goal with six seconds left in the game to inch closer, but it was too little too late.
“I thought we did such a good job of putting shots back on their goaltender after the initial shot,” Crowley said. “Instead of backing off, we just were relentless in how many times we kept putting it back at their net. They were scrambling, and we were able to put a couple in through that.”
Despite being outshot 39-31, the Eagles came away with a two-goal margin of victory. McArthur was key in the win, as her 36 saves held off a ferocious Husky attack. The Eagles will look to sweep the weekend series when they take on the Huskies again on Saturday night at home in Chestnut Hill.
“You need your goaltender to come up with a save for you, and I thought she did a good job for us,” Crowley said of McArthur. “Those [saves] are big. Those can get your team to go the other way and feel a little bit better about trying to put one in. I thought Maddy was very good for us. We’re going to need to continue to have good goaltending as we keep going forward.”
Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Editor