Northeastern did not make Wednesday’s Hockey East Tournament Semifinal an easy game for Boston College women’s hockey goaltender Abigail Levy.
The Huskies pressured the crease with 41 shots, and while Levy made 38 saves on the night, two shots from awkward angles slipped by her and cost BC a bid to the Hockey East Tournament Championship.
“She’s done a great job for us,” BC head coach Katie Crowley said. “We’ve had some great goaltenders come through our program, and she’s up there with them. She’s a kid that has battled for the three years that she’s been with us and I’m really proud of her effort. She’s left some of her legacy with our program and with the players that are coming back.”
Although Levy put on a masterful performance, the No. 15 Eagles (20–15–1, 16–11–0 Hockey East) dropped what became their final game of the season to No. 5 Northeastern (32–2–1, 24–2–1). The Huskies scored a goal in the opening seconds of the first frame and BC never recovered, as Northeastern scored one more and an empty-netter to hand the Eagles a 3–0 loss.
“[Northeastern’s] obviously a good team and they played well enough to win today,” Crowley said. “Not the way we wanted to end our season but extremely proud of our team and our group in that locker room for how hard they’ve fought and the effort we gave tonight.”
The Huskies only took 47 seconds to go up 1–0.
Megan Carter opened the frame by rifling a shot from the point that missed. Peyton Anderson collected the puck from the endboards and attempted to backhand the puck to the front of the net, but Levy inadvertently kicked it in as she tried to cover the near post.
Three minutes later, Jules Constantinople entered the box for hooking to give BC its first power play of the night, but it failed to capitalize. In the Eagles’ quarterfinal matchup against Connecticut, they went the entire 60 minutes without a power-play opportunity.
Halfway through the first period, BC turned the tide with a flurry of shots toward Northeastern netminder Gwyneth Philips.
The Eagles’ energy ignited as they maintained puck possession through Northeastern’s defensive zone, but BC was still unsuccessful in putting shots into the net. BC registered seven shots in the first frame, and only eight more combined in the second and third periods.
Northeastern opened the second frame with tape-to-tape passing. Katy Knoll took a shot and forced Levy to make a save within the first eight seconds.
“There were games this season where she carried our team, especially early on where she carried our team on her back a little bit,” Crowley said of Levy. “She helped us get to the point where we could start to be a better team.”
At the 12:35 mark, the Eagles knocked on the door when Katie Pyne planted a shot in front of Phillips, redirecting a pass from the corner. Backed into the crease by Carter, Pyne quickly escaped, but Phillips fell to the ice as the forward skated away.
BC celebrated what would’ve been Pyne’s equalizing goal and third goal in the tournament, but officials reversed the call for goaltender interference.
“Those are the tricky ones that refs have to handle,” Crowley said. “They’re difficult ones to call, but I thought it should’ve still been allowed. I think [Pyne] got pushed into the net by their player, and she couldn’t get out. When she was able to get out, she was able to put that in, and I don’t think that’s on her.”
Less than a minute later, the Huskies doubled their lead to 2–0 as Anderson flung a wide-angle shot from the corner that slid under Levy’s pads and into the net.
Northeastern went on its first power play 29 seconds later and demonstrated more puck control. The Huskies failed to convert on the man advantage but continued to outshoot BC.
By the final frame, BC was under pressure. Levy flashed her leather with a glove save just minutes into the third period, but BC’s skaters had difficulty controlling the puck and attacking in Northeastern’s zone.
Halfway through the period, Gaby Roy carried the puck through the neutral zone into the Huskies’ territory, but Phillips quickly squared up to the shooter to make the save.
Caroline Goffredo drew a penalty for body-checking with six minutes left in the final period, handing the Huskies another chance to add to the board on the power play. By clogging passing lanes, BC killed the penalty before requesting a time-out.
With under two minutes to go, Crowley pulled Levy from the crease for an extra skater. But with 19.5 seconds remaining, Alina Mueller collected the puck in the neutral zone and fired a shot on the empty net, securing a 3–0 victory and punching Northeastern’s ticket to the Hockey East Tournament Championship for the seventh consecutive season.
“Obviously disappointed in the outcome,” Crowley said. “I thought our team played really well and had opportunities there. We just came up short.”