With only ten minutes left in the third period, it felt like No. 9 Boston College women’s hockey was in the same position as it was during its game two days prior. On Friday, the Eagles held an early 1-0 lead against the No. 2 Huskies, but a late Northeastern surge handed BC a 4-1 loss.
The game started to look all too familiar at Matthews Arena on Sunday night, as Northeastern’s momentum began to build in the third period. But the Eagles (5-3) showed that they were not going to repeat their past mistakes, as they successfully battled against the powerhouse Huskies (1-1) and came out with a 2-1 win.
The Eagles started out strong and began peppering shots on Northeastern goaltender Aerin Frankel from the get-go. But it wasn’t until their third power play, with only two and a half minutes left in the first period, that they got a number on the board.
Sophomore Hannah Bilka spun around the Huskies’ defense and sent the puck off the skate of a Northeastern defenseman into the back of the net. Despite a 1-0 lead, this was not comfortable territory for the Eagles, and with the constant help of Bilka, they continued to pressure the Northeastern defense.
“She is such a great hockey player,” BC head coach Katie Crowley said in her postgame press conference. “She is learning the defensive side, and today that showed. She was great defensively and offensively and to see a player like that grow the way she has in the last year and a half, she is doing tremendous things for our program. Today was the best game she has played all year, and I thought it really showed.”
BC continued to fight with confidence, with Cayla Barnes blocking Husky slap shots and Deirdre Mullowney generating the Eagles’ offense. BC’s Kelly Browne looked for her fifth goal of the year midway through the second period, leading a beautiful breakaway and sending a powerful slap shot that rang off the crossbar.
The Eagles maintained the majority of the possession time in the second period despite a few scares toward the end of the 20 minutes led by Northeastern’s Skylar Fontaine. BC led the Huskies 26-19 in shots on net in the second period, but neither team got a goal in the books.
The Huskies started to spark some life in the third period, with Alina Mueller attacking BC goaltender Abigail Levy with shots. It was only Levy’s second game in net for the Eagles after transferring from Minnesota State, but she proved she was up for the match.
“She was really good,” Crowley said of Levy. “She made some huge saves for us when we needed it. She was focused for the full 60 minutes, and I thought she really played well.”
Despite her best efforts, not even Levy could stop Northeastern forward Katy Noll, who followed up on a rebound and evened the matchup at 1-1 in the third period.
It was familiar territory for the Eagles from their loss on Friday, but with under eight minutes to go, Jillian Fey took matters into her own hands and outsmarted the Huskies’ defense. As Frankel went behind the net to stop a loose puck, Fey snuck in and stole it away. Fey capitalized on Frankel’s rare mistake and reclaimed the lead for the Eagles, turning the corner and blasting the puck into the Northeastern net from point-blank range.
“The last two years she’s been a defenseman, and half way through the year last year we moved her up to forward, and her energy is what she brings on the forward side,” Crowley said of Fey. “You could see it in that goal—she was a great first forward in the zone attacking the puck. She really makes it hard for other teams to play against us.”
Despite the Huskies’ efforts in the remaining minutes of the third period, the Eagles maintained their composure and came away with the win. With the win, the Eagles head into a 26-day break before returning to the ice against Merrimack in January.
“The girls get to go home and spend some time with their families, which I think is especially important during these difficult times,” Crowley said. “I want them to relax and recharge. I know it has been hard on everybody through this pandemic, especially while being in college. I hope they enjoy being with their families and then get ready for the run in the second half.”
Featured Image Courtesy of BC Athletics