Sports, Winter, Hockey, Women's Hockey

Eagles Drop Upset Opportunity in 5–3 Loss to No. 1 Wisconsin

Wisconsin women’s hockey allows, on average, 1.3 goals per game. 

By the end of the first period on Thursday night, Boston College had already scored three goals against the No. 1 Badgers.

“We learned from last weekend and played even better this weekend,” BC head coach Katie Crowley said. “That’s what you want, especially from a young team.”

The Eagles (0–3) traveled to LaBahn Arena for their eighth all-time meeting against Wisconsin (3–0) on Thursday and their first road meeting since 2015. BC went ahead 3–2 in the opening frame, with the two teams scoring four combined goals in less than eight minutes to open the game. But the Eagles’ energy dwindled after the Badgers secured two second-period goals, and an insurance score in the third period solidified Wisconsin’s 5–3 win.

“I was really proud of how we played the whole game, honestly,” Crowley said. “We knew it was gonna be a tough battle and we knew we were gonna have to play our A-game. I thought for as young of a team as we are to come in with their rank—they’re the No. 1 team in the country right now—and to play the way we played, I was really, truly impressed with everything about our game.”

BC didn’t waste any time, as less than two minutes into the game it took the lead. Kara Goulding slipped a pass to defender Sidney Fess, who fired a top-shelf shot over the left of Wisconsin netminder Jane Gervais to give BC a 1–0 lead.

Wisconsin, however, immediately responded, as Britta Curl found the breakaway and sent a tape-to-tape pass to Lacey Eden, who controlled the rebound and snuck the puck past the right leg of BC sophomore goaltender Grace Campbell.

At the 3:56 mark, Wisconsin’s Laila Edwards found another breakaway opportunity and fired a shot against Campbell. As the Badgers charged the crease, Sarah Wozniewicz lunged the puck past the line to give the Badgers a 2–1 lead. 

But BC wasted no time with an equalizer. Not even two minutes later, Julia Pellerin fired a centering pass to Sammy Smigliani, who scored to even the game at two apiece.

While the Eagles struggled to maintain pressure during a power play at the 12:04 mark, a buzzing Molly Jordan was ready with a pass to Jade Arnone, who fired a clear shot for BC’s first power-play goal of the season.

The Badgers received a chance to capitalize a mere 40 seconds later on a power play of their own, but BC tangled up their opportunity with strong defense. The Eagles held Wisconsin scoreless on all three advantages on Thursday.

“We knew we were gonna have to be a little bit gritty,” Crowley said. “We’re gonna have to block some shots and be very disciplined on our [penalty kill]. They have a very, very potent power play and they did everything we asked them to. We were able to kill off a power play that will guarantee we’ll be up in the top five at the end of the year.”

Three minutes and 16 seconds into the second frame, Wisconsin’s Marianne Picard found a top-shelf goal over Campbell, tying the game 3–3. Curl continued to test BC’s defense, firing a quick shot on goal above Campbell at the 10:14 mark to put Wisconsin ahead 4–3.

“I thought our [defense] did a great job,” Crowley said. “They have pretty much four people jumping up at every rush that they get. Our [defense] and forwards did a really good job at keeping them to the outside the best they could.” 

While BC got a burst of energy as the second period clock ran out, firing a barrage of shots against Gervais, the Badgers ultimately overpowered BC 56–18 in shots as BC failed to score in the second and third periods.

Campbell, however, tallied a career-high 51 saves.

“I thought she played phenomenal in a huge game for her,” Crowley said. “She was a big reason why we were a great team tonight. 

Wisconsin secured the game with a goal with less than five minutes remaining in the third period. Chayla Edwards sent a shot flying past the clogged lanes in front of Campbell, andEden placed the puck into the net to put Wisconsin up 5–3.

“It’s big for us,” Crowley said. “The last few times we played them was in the NCAA tournaments, so to play them in a regular season game—I think it’s great for our team to see this early on. Now we can learn from this and take this, not only into tomorrow but into the next weekend, and then the next weekend, and they have to understand that we have to play that hard every weekend.”

October 6, 2023