After being shut out by Quinnipiac in its last time on the ice, Boston College women’s hockey looked for a much-needed rebound against Merrimack in the first of a home-and-home series on Friday.
BC (3–1, 2–0 Hockey East) did exactly that, comfortably defeating Merrimack (1–3, 0–2) 4-1 to pick up its first Hockey East win and earn its 500th victory in program history.
“Our program has gone through some great growth in the last 20, 30 years,” BC head coach Katie Crowley said after the game. “To see our program get 500 wins, it’s awesome for the players that came through [BC] and were such an instrumental part in all of those wins.”
BC raced out of the gates, peppering Merrimack goalie Hayley Chang with five shots in the game’s opening five minutes. A high sticking call on BC’s Gaby Roy, however, gave Merrimack a two-minute man-advantage—a prime opportunity for the Warriors to regain some offensive momentum.
Teghan Inglis almost cashed in, launching a one-timer late in the power play. Making her debut between the pipes for the Eagles, freshman goalie Grace Campbell turned away Inglis’ shot. BC’s Hannah Bilka scooped up the rebound, carried the puck all the way down the ice herself, and slipped a short-handed goal past Chang to give the Eagles an early advantage.
After both teams again squandered a pair of power plays early in the second period, Katie Pyne knocked home another goal to give the Eagles some breathing room.
BC turned up the intensity near the end of the second period. Looking to take advantage of traffic in front of the net, the Eagles unleashed a barrage of shots. But Chang leapt over the puck, just as the horn sounded, sending BC into the final frame ahead by two.
The third period began with the two teams trading shots, though none of them found the back of the net. Halfway through the period, Bilka fed Abby Newhook right in front of the net, who converted on the team’s first power-play goal of the night.
Facing a 3–0 deficit, Merrimack returned the favor just 13 seconds later with its first goal—ending Campbell’s bid at a shutout in her debut.
“For her first game, I thought [Campbell] did a really great job for us,” Crowley said. “She was confident [and] she looked comfortable back there. I was really happy for her to get her first win.”
Merrimack maintained its composure down two goals in an effort to mount a comeback. The Eagles ended the Warriors’ rally before it could even begin, however, as Roy secured the clinching fourth goal via a centering pass from Cayla Barnes.
Despite the win, BC did not leave Merrimack unscathed, as Pyne had to be helped off the ice with under a minute left to play.
The Eagles’ play was undisciplined for much of the night, as BC recorded five penalties.
“This Merrimack team is really feisty and they can get under your skin a little bit,” Crowley said. “I think our players did a really good job of not allowing that to happen. So, a couple of penalties, but overall I thought [BC] handled the team well.”