Sammy Smigliani caught a glimpse of a favorable two-on-one situation 13 minutes into the second period of No. 15 Boston College women’s hockey’s rivalry matchup against Boston University. Smigliani took advantage, driving the puck up the right side of the ice to score an unassisted goal which tied the game 2–2.
Near the end of the contest—in a situation to take the lead—Smigliani was unable to find the net as she missed from directly in front of the goal. But teammate Gabby Roy was ready to help.
“It’s definitely not a solo effort,” Roy said. “I’m lucky to be playing with really good linemates. They always put me in a really good position to score.”
In a show of resilience that mirrored the Eagles’ overall performance during Friday’s affair with the Terriers (5–5–1, 4–4–0 Hockey East), Smigliani maintained control of the puck following her miss and sent it over to Roy, who snuck it past BU goaltender Alexa Matses to put the Eagles (8–6–1, 8–2–1) up 4–3. Smigliani’s two-point performance set the tone for BC in its 5–3 victory.
“Even in a game where we were struggling a little bit to get a flow going for our team … I’m happy with the way we battled through that,” BC head coach Katie Crowley said.
The Eagles’ hard-fought win happened in front of several groups of loud elementary schoolers on Field Trip Day in Conte Forum.
“It was a lot of fun I think for the players, and all of us, to be able to showcase our sport in front of a bunch of little kids running around,” Crowley said.
The young fans intensified the energy from the get-go, as both the Eagles and the Terriers looked more than prepared to play a scrappy, aggressive game. Throughout the matchup, both sides crept up high defensively and hit the walls frequently while battling for possession of the puck.
“I feel like the only time we’ve had a crowd similar to that was last year’s Beanpot final game,” Roy said.
The Terriers’ aggressiveness paid off first when BU’s Sydney Healey scored with 6:33 left in the first period, picking up her fourth goal of the season.
Moments before the goal, officials booked BC forward Katie Pyne for tripping in the Eagles’ offensive end. Pyne’s mishap gave the Terriers a man-up advantage which Healey capitalized on to give her team a 1–0 lead.
Despite BC’s many chances at a goal during the first five minutes of the game, the Terriers claimed the game’s early momentum with Healey’s goal, leaving the Eagles frazzled and scoreless to end the first period.
“I felt like everything was bobbly,” Crowley said. “We were turning pucks over a little bit.”
Just over two and a half minutes into the second frame, Pyne ended the Eagles’ scoring drought with an unassisted goal that whizzed past Matses from the left side, tying up the game at one apiece.
The Terriers, however, did not back down.
It took BU’s Clara Yuhn just over a minute to respond to Pyne’s goal, as she found the back of BC’s net to restore the Terriers’ lead at 2–1.
Several minutes of the second period following Yuhn’s goal were full of quality shots by both teams, all of which narrowly missed their mark or were saved by BC’s Grace Campbell and Matses. Both goaltenders finished the game with 27 saves.
Just over five minutes into the third period, Pyne made her mark again, assisting Kate Ham for Ham’s first goal of the season.
Crowley explained that Ham’s lack of goals this season, while frustrating, has ultimately been a source of growth. Ham has worked hard to improve other parts of her game in the absence of scoring, according to Crowley.
“I think she’s done a great job of learning the whole game and being better on the defensive side,” Crowley said. “And I think that’s helped her be able to put that one in today.”
Ham’s goal boosted the Eagles confidence as they continued to drive into the offensive zone with a poise that kept the Terriers on their toes for the remainder of the game.
An interference penalty on BC’s Cailin Flynn eight minutes into the final period proved to be costly for the Eagles, though, as BU scored shortly into its power-play opportunity to tie the game again at 3–3.
The teamwork of Smigliani and Roy, however, redeemed BC’s lead once again–a lead which the Eagles would not give up this time.
Captain Abby Newhook notched her seventh goal of the season on an empty BU net to close out the 5–3 victory.
“I don’t think that was our prettiest game, but we found a way to get it done,” Crowley said.