The words of Boston College women’s hockey head coach Katie Crowley landed on the ears of freshman defenseman Cailin Flynn as she sat on the bench in BC’s matchup against Connecticut on Saturday.
“I don’t care how you score it. We just need to get a goal,” Crowley said.
Flynn scored midway through the second period, but between the aggressive play and strength of the Huskies’ defense, BC (6–5–1, 5–3–0 Hockey East) looked like it did one night earlier: outmatched. After a 1–0 loss to UConn (8–4–2, 4–4–2) on Friday, the Eagles struggled to keep up with the Huskies for 60 minutes on Saturday and fell to UConn 3–1 to close the weekend.
The weekend would’ve been scoreless for the Eagles if it weren’t for Flynn being at the right place at the right time to earn her first career goal.
The Eagles opened the game weaving passes in and out of UConn’s first line. It looked as if it would only be a matter of time until BC landed a shot in the net, but the Huskies held on.
Brooke Campbell sent the puck behind the BC defense and over the shoulder of goaltender Grace Campbell to spark a 1–0 lead for UConn.
Another high shot from the Huskies found the back of the net in the 16th minute of the first period, as Brianna Ware fired a one-time shot from the point, putting UConn ahead 2–0.
The Eagles may have outshot UConn 9–6 in the first frame, but they couldn’t produce quality shots to beat Husky goaltender Tia Chan.
“They play that defensive style, and we need to be able to be more deceptive with our shots and finding ways to get pucks through,” Crowley said.
BC sustained offensive pressure throughout the second period but struggled to finish on scoring opportunities until Hockey East Player of the Month Hannah Bilka was in the right spot to assist Flynn.
When the freshman sent a shot to the boards behind the net, Chan came out and attempted to play the puck, sending Husky defensemen flying in to assist. The puck ricocheted off the boards right in front of Flynn, who tipped it under the opposing players and landed BC’s first goal of the weekend.
“That was one way to do it,” Crowley said about Flynn’s scoring opportunity. “I think she’s playing well for us. She’s a big, strong kid who, every game, you see her get better and better, and that’s what you want from a first-year player, and I think she’s doing a great job for us.”
BC received the first power play of the night to close out the second period and pressured the Huskies’ net for the final minute and a half of the frame, but the Eagles seemed to lose steam when resuming the advantage at the start of the third.
“Got—I thought—a lot more quality scoring opportunities, had some chances there in the third period to tie it up, and we weren’t able to put it home.” Crowley said.
BC outshot the Huskies 25–22 despite the loss.
“That’s I think pretty good for us,” Crowley said. “We haven’t been getting a lot of shots on net. I thought we had second-chance opportunities that we missed on, and that’s where I think it killed us. We had those vital chances to be able to put one in.”
Bilka entered the box with just six minutes remaining in the frame after holding Riley Grimley during a breakaway rush to the net. That extra player allowed UConn to capitalize on the advantage and secure the 3–1 victory.
A day earlier, BC failed to score once in its series opener against UConn in Storrs.
A Jada Habisch goal put the Huskies up 1–0 just 38 seconds into the game, and neither team scored again through the next 59 minutes and 22 seconds of play.
“You need to be able to score against these teams that play such a defensive game, and that’s something we’re still battling and fighting through,” Crowley said.