With 2:18 left in overtime and Boston College women’s hockey tied with Providence at one apiece, Hadley Hartmetz carried the puck near the Providence blue line and dished it off to Savannah Norcross. Norcross wound up for a huge slap shot, but whether she meant to pass or shoot ended up unimportant, as she perfectly placed the puck at the stick of Cayla Barnes next to the goal. Barnes immediately poked the puck past Providence goalie Sandra Abstreiter, scoring her third goal of the season and concluding the ninth-straight win for No. 6 BC by a final tally of 2-1.
Despite the Eagles’ (12-3) strong finish, the No. 10 Friars (10-6-1) held the lead for much of regulation. Friars forward Bailey Burton scored five minutes into the game. Coming off a pass from Brooke Becker, Burton sprinted through the neutral zone and snapped a quick, low shot past BC goaltender Abigail Levy.
BC struggled with penalties all night, handing the Friars five power plays throughout the game. Kelly Browne particularly struggled with clean play, heading to the box in the first period for interference and again in the third period for delaying the game. Luckily, Providence failed to score during any of its 5-on-4 opportunities. In fact, all three of the afternoon’s goals came at full strength.
It took the Eagles until midway through the second period to level the score. Hannah Bilka skated through traffic, weaving her way through defenders, and ultimately set Norcross up perfectly, right in front of the Friars’ net. Bilka’s assist marked her 50th career point, while Norcross scored her 10th goal of the season.
Following Norcross’ goal, the momentum of the game shifted in BC’s favor. More accurate passing and fast-paced stick handling allowed the Eagles to attempt 19 shots on goal, in comparison to the Friars’ seven, in the third period.
The Eagles opened the year by rotating through three goalies, but Levy has taken over the starting responsibilities in some of the bigger games due to her consistent strong play, including a shutout against UConn two weekends ago. She had another strong showing on Friday afternoon, notching 30 total saves, including a big save on a breakaway during a Providence power play in the last few seconds of the third period.
“I think Abby’s been playing great for us,” BC head coach Katie Crowley said in her postgame press conference. “She got tested again today with … a breakaway there, and a couple of power plays where they had opportunities.”
Abstreiter also put on an impressive performance, racking up 31 saves.
“We [have] got to find a way to score more on even strength with this goalie,” Crowley said of Abstreiter. “Obviously, she’s played great in the three times that we played them so far, and I think finding ways to score on her, being more diligent in front of that net, and trying to take away her eyes, trying to get some tips and screens in there will be helpful.”
The Eagles’ dramatic win gave them their first victory of the season against the Friars. BC has fallen 3-2 in both of the teams’ prior matchups this season.
“I thought we had some other scoring opportunities that we could have scored on, but their goalie played great,” Crowley said. “And you know, we were able to find one out there in the overtime, so it was a nice one for us.”
Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Editor