In 14 games this season, Boston College women’s hockey has only lost once when entering the third period ahead. The Eagles continued this feat Friday night by solidifying a 3–0 shutout win against No. 11 Providence.
“They know that Providence has some big wins on their schedule and they’ve had a really good season,” BC head coach Katie Crowley said. “I think they were focused from the puck drop and all the way through the end, so I was really happy with [how] they played.”
Despite trailing in shots and faceoff wins, the Eagles (16–12–1, 14–10–0 Hockey East)
came out on top against Providence (18–9–4, 13–7–4) 3–0 thanks to Abigail Levy’s 42 saves. In over a year since BC’s last matchup against the Friars, the Hannah Bilka-Abby Newhook tandem bookended the matchup.
“We knew they were gonna be a big, strong team—they are,” Crowley said. “We were trying to come out just like we do [against] any other team, and try not to focus on that part of it. I thought we handled it really well.”
Both teams scrambled to set up in their offensive zones, making for a slow start to the first period. After Sara Hjalmarsson went to the box for interference, BC seized its first power-play opportunity of the night. But the Eagles were unlucky on the man advantage, taking just two shots.
Providence had its chance on the man advantage halfway through the frame, but the Friars’ power-play unit failed to match Bilka.
After a turnover by the Friars, Bilka swept past Providence’s defense and fired a pass to Newhook, who registered her 15th goal of the season to give BC a 1–0 lead.
“For her to finish on the shorthanded, that was a great goal for us,” Crowley said. “It gets the team pumped up, gets momentum going our way. I think that helped carry us through the game.”
Providence was inches away from tying the game as Maddy Coene backhanded a shot that floated into the crease, but Levy denied the puck with her stick.
“I think I honestly got really lucky,” Levy said. “I think the ice was a little snowy so it stopped right before it crossed that line for me. It gave me a little bit of confidence.”
The Friars only got scrappier with time, unleashing shots and fighting for rebounds on a power play in the final minutes of the first period.
“Overall, I think the team just played great in front of me,” Levy said. “They were blocking the shots that I wasn’t seeing so, all credits to them.”
Levy was the benefactor for BC in the second frame, making 15 saves while often losing her stick and sprawling her pads across the crease to stop loose pucks.
Bilka found a breakaway with just eight minutes left in the period and tried to sneak it past Providence goaltender Sandra Abstreiter but failed to convert.
The tide turned in favor of Providence as the Friars weaved passes with offensive pressure and continued to lead in shots 25–12.
But with just 15 seconds remaining in the frame, BC extended its lead to 2–0. Cayla Barnes retrieved the puck from the boards and slid a breakaway assist to Gaby Roy. Splitting the defense, Roy landed a backhand shot for her seventh goal of the season.
“I really like that goal by Gaby after they hemmed us in there for a little bit,” Crowley said. “When you get an opportunity, you gotta bury it. She was able to do that there.”
Less than five minutes into the final period, Bilka and Newhook were back at it again. With tic-tac-toe passing, Newhook found the back of the net and captured a 3–0 lead over the Friars, establishing her fourth career two-goal game.
“Bilks gave her a couple really nice passes there and she was able to put them home,” Crowley said. “She’s one of those players that gets a lot of those opportunities. She’s not going to hit on every one, although I think she did tonight.”
After the game, Newhook spoke of her dynamic with Bilka.
“I think that playing alongside of Bilka helps, for sure,” Newhook said. “I think that we’ve had a lot of chances and now they’re finally going in for us.”
The Friars pulled Abstreiter from the net with just under a minute remaining, looking to utilize the man advantage against Levy, but fell short and left the scoreboard empty. Providence’s Caroline Peterson shot the puck at Levy after the buzzer rang, causing her to receive a 10-minute major penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
“I thought that was a good win for us,” Crowley said. “They’re a very good hockey team and I thought we did a good job of finishing on our opportunities.”