Women's Hockey, Hockey, Winter, Sports

Eagles Use Three-Goal First Period to Defeat Providence 5–2

Boston College women’s hockey won its last game against Providence by three goals in a 3–0 shutout on Feb. 3.

On Friday afternoon, it took just 17 minutes and 35 seconds for the No. 15 Eagles to register as many goals en route to a comfortable 5–2 victory over the No. 13 Friars. 

“I thought we just stayed disciplined,” BC head coach Katie Crowley said. “We were getting pucks deep when we needed to. And, you know, in our offensive zone we were just protecting pucks so well and making plays to the net.”

BC dominated on the Friars’ home ice right from puck drop, notching three shots in the first two minutes. 

Gaby Roy got the Eagles on the board with 11:56 remaining, batting down a Cayla Barnes laser past Providence goaltender Sandra Abstreiter. 

Though the Friars controlled the ensuing minutes, logging seven straight shots over a 3:31 span, BC extended its lead when Hannah Bilka lobbed a shot off teammate Katie Pyne and into the net. 

Just over two minutes later, Alexie Guay—stuck between two defenders—chipped a shot over Abstreiter’s shoulder. The goal marked Guay’s 20th of her career and the seventh BC defender to ever reach that milestone.

The Eagles headed into the second frame ahead by three goals and with 32 seconds left on their first power play of the game. 

“I thought we just did a really good job of staying patient and sticking with our game plan,” Crowley said. 

BC’s three-goal first-period performance forced Providence to pull Abstreiter for sophomore Hope Walinski to start the second period. Guay, however, quickly forced Walinski to make her first career save just after the power play expired, just 44 seconds into the second period. 

Providence found a series of quality shot opportunities following the 14-minute mark, including a Rachel Weiss shot that rang off the post and a Reichen Kirchmair shot that referees immediately waved off. 

“They came up with a little hunger in the second,” Crowley said. “I think we were like, ‘Oh, it’s 3–0, let’s kind of sit back a little bit,’ although that’s not what we want.”

Despite putting the Eagles on the power play minutes later, the Friars again created solid chances. Providence’s leading scorer Sara Hjalmarsson found a wide open lane with only BC goaltender Abigail Levy to beat, but Levy stood tall, stopping Hjalmarsson’s threat. 

Hjalmarsson, however, wouldn’t be denied for much longer. With her team on the power play for the first time all day, Hjalmarsson found Noemi Neubauerová for the score at the 14:09 mark in the second period—the Friars’ first goal of the game.

Walinski, making her first appearance between the pipes since Sept. 24, 2022, blanked the Eagles in the second period, stopping five shots to send her squad into the final 20 minutes down 3–1.

“After one of the best periods in the first period that we’ve had all season, I think, you know, they kept us hemmed in our zone a little bit more,” Crowley said. 

Three minutes and three seconds into the third period, BC restored its three-goal lead. In the blink of an eye, Bilka deked past a Providence defender and slid the puck over to Abby Newhook, who snapped home a one-timer for a team-leading 17th goal of the season. 

“The forwards were really working well together today,” Crowley said. “And I thought they were really helping each other out … [Newhook] and Hannah Bilka really know where each other are all the time.”

But the Eagles allowed the Friars to linger, gifting Providence a lengthy 1:40 5-on-3 power play opportunity. 

The Friars, however, couldn’t capitalize on the two-man advantage, and senior defenseman Barnes disrupted their best scoring look. That missed opportunity allowed Newhook to shut the door on Providence midway through the period. The sophomore forward cleaned up after a Caroline DiFiore shot to secure her second two-goal game against the Friars in as many weeks. 

With an empty net in the final minutes for an extra skater, Providence inched back into the game, as Weiss picked up a goal at the 18:18 mark.

BC’s three-goal edge proved insurmountable, though, and the Eagles coasted to victory. 

With the win, BC jumped past Providence to the conference’s third seed.

“I think we’re playing well right now, so hopefully we can continue that through and into the postseason, as well,” Crowley said.

February 17, 2023