Sports, Winter, Hockey, Women's Hockey

Eagles Earn First Win of Season in Home Opener with Newhook’s Heroics

Boston College women’s hockey has not lost a home opener since 2012. And despite starting the season with four straight away losses, this year was no different. 

While Connecticut swept the 2022–23 regular season series with three wins over BC, the Eagles closed out their final matchup against the Huskies with an overtime victory in the Hockey East Tournament Quarterfinals. This year, BC looked to keep that same energy and find its first win of the season. 

The Eagles (1–4–0, 1–0–0 Hockey East) opened the ice at Kelley Rink against UConn (1–1–1, 0–1–0) in the first of their home-and-home series on Friday. After a slow start, an action-packed second period turned the tide for BC—the Eagles fought through five penalties and over 64 minutes of regulation time to pull off a 4–3 overtime victory. 

“It’s really going to help our team’s momentum going into tomorrow and next week,” freshman forward Julia Pellerin said. “Having this win is really going to fuel the fire to continue going and not get back to those losses again.” 

The Huskies took the ice with pressure in the offensive zone and jumped the Eagles’ passing lanes, making it difficult for the home team to land connections.   

UConn was quick to get the first point on the board at the 5:31 mark. Off a rebound, Jada Habisch forced a shot behind BC goaltender Grace Campbell to set the score to 1–0.

“Typically, UConn is pretty defensive,” BC head coach Katie Crowley said. “They were jumping a little bit earlier than we were used to and what we’ve seen.” 

BC continued to struggle defensively in the ensuing minutes, and it cost the Eagles. Ashley Allard fired a shot from the point that traveled just higher than Campbell’s glove to further the advantage at 2–0.  

The Eagles dragged their feet with a response. Halfway through the period, Katie Pyne found a backside rebound to cut the deficit to 2–1. In the 2022–23 season, Pyne scored three consecutive goals against UConn, one being the overtime goal that sent BC to the Hockey East Tournament Semifinals.  

The Eagles’ energy deflated as the penalty box filled up. BC gave UConn three chances with a power-play advantage during the frame. The Huskies couldn’t add to their lead but didn’t hesitate trying, towering over BC 16–5 in shots in the first frame.   

BC opened the second frame on a penalty but earned a man advantage soon after. At the 1:33 mark, officials called a penalty on UConn for having too many players on the ice. 

One chance was all it took for BC to change the game. Late in BC’s first power-play opportunity,  Gaby Roy rifled a shot through the crease to knot up the score 2–2. 

From there, BC’s rhythm was back in full force. The Eagles made up the first period by stepping up their forecheck and maintaining steady possession with a barrage of shots. Forwards Pyne and Abby Newhook got creative with their looks, trying to find tough angles to get past Huskies’ netminder Tia Chan.

“I thought we played with more discipline,” Crowley said. “Our third guy on the forecheck was a little bit higher. We gave them less offensive zone play for them. But also, when we were in the offensive zone, we beat them to pucks. I was impressed with how we did that, especially in the second period.”

While the Eagles got a second power-play opportunity at the 12:29 mark, the Huskies found a way to create scoring chances, forcing Campbell out of the crease to halt shots. 

“I’m really happy with how we rebounded in the second,” Crowley said. “We really started to take over the play there and I thought we had a lot of scoring opportunities in that period and then in the third as well.”

The game got more aggressive as tensions got higher. In the third period, Pellerin entered the box at the 1:49 mark for slashing and UConn’s Riley Grimley got her turn for tripping just five minutes later.  

The Eagles’ chances seemed limited as the Huskies made it hard for BC to connect with passes in the offensive zone during the man advantage. Yet, with just 10 seconds left on the power play, Pellerin found a way to secure her second goal of the season. Unassisted, Pellerin made an opening to land a top-shelf shot above the pads of Chan and put BC on top 3–2.  

“It’s crazy to get your first home goal,” Pellerin said. “I saw my opportunity to get the puck on net hoping for a rebound and it just snuck in there, so I was lucky.” 

Crowley didn’t see it as lucky, however. 

“Obviously, [Pellerin’s] goal was tremendous,” Crowley said. “She found the right angle off the side there and was able to put that in. You’re always trying to find ways to score goals. We always try to work on different things, so it was able to work today.”

But BC barely had time to bask in the spotlight. The Eagles failed to kill their fifth penalty of the night just over the 12-minute mark, as UConn’s Christina Walker found a backdoor opening on the left side of Campbell to keep the Huskies in the game at 3–3.   

It became anybody’s game as the clock ticked down, with both teams going back and forth  peppering the nets. But shots fell just wide, ultimately sending the two teams into overtime. 

With just a minute left in the extra period, Newhook, BC’s captain, won a faceoff in the far zone, giving herself a breakaway and bringing the game home. Straight from the faceoff dot, Newhook created a two-on-one rush with Pellerin before lifting a top-shelf shot over Chan to ricochet off the pipe and into the ropes. 

“I thought we had some pretty good opportunities throughout the whole overtime,” Crowley said. “They both were very threatening offensively, and I think the goalie didn’t know whether she was going to pass or shoot. Newhook just found a way to put it in and hit the net.”

October 14, 2023