Boston College women’s hockey played its fifth shootout this season. Thanks to Kara Goulding, Friday afternoon marked the team’s third shootout win.
“Kara works hard in any aspect and every aspect of the game,” BC head coach Katie Crowley said. “For her, she’s one of those players that’s been finding ways to score in shootouts before games.”
Just two weeks ago, Goulding gave BC the extra point in its matchup against Providence. When it came to picking the first skater for shootouts on Friday, Crowley wondered “Why not go back to her?”
No. 15 BC (14–9–7, 13–5–5 Hockey East) welcomed Vermont (11–15–3, 9–11–2) to Conte Forum on Friday afternoon for the ALZ Together game. The matchup was far from dull, featuring a successfully challenged goal by the Eagles and an own goal by the Catamounts in the second period alone. BC may have won the first period, but after the score leveled 2–2 with 21 seconds left to play in the second period, the win was up for grabs.
Ultimately, though, Goulding’s shootout goal crowned BC as the 2023–24 series winner with a 3–2 shootout win.
“Not quite the way we wanted to play, but we found a way to get two out of three points and at this point in the season that’s what you’re trying to do—get points—and we found a way to do that,” Crowley said.
After splitting its last two matchups against Vermont in November, BC looked to quickly get ahead in its final meeting with the Catamounts of the regular season.
The Eagles opened the first period by doing exactly that.
Not even two minutes into the game, Kiley Erickson and Annaka Mettler retrieved a chip off the boards in the defensive zone. The defenders sent the puck to Gaby Roy, who passed it to Sidney Fess to carry it down the ice.
Fess dished the puck to a racing Katie Pyne during an odd-man rush. Pyne brought the puck backhand, forcing Vermont goaltender Jessie McPherson to open the net for a clear goal at 1–0. The goal marked Pyne’s 10th of the season.
“They were all patient and didn’t rush the play,” Crowley said.
Fess moved from her defensive spot into a forward position since January’s game against Merrimack—an adjustment Crowley praised.
“She is finding her way… the way [she] plays is so patient,” Crowley said.
The period held lots of back-and-forth play, but not enough for Vermont to match BC’s lead. The Eagles disrupted the Catamounts’ passing patterns and angled their opponent to make it difficult for the team to get out of the zone.
Natálie Mlýnková answered the call for the Catamounts in the second period.
At 4:05 mark, Mlýnková got a hold of the puck in between the blue lines and outskated BC’s defensive line for a clear view at the crease. Mlýnková ripped the puck blocker-side high past BC goaltender Grace Campbell and evened the board at 1–1.
“They’re so potent offensively,” Crowley said of Vermont. “They can find a way to score in a game even if you feel like you’re on the advantage most of the time. They can get a break and find a way to score.”
During another odd-man rush led by Fess and Pyne, Pyne took a look to the net and Fess batted down a rebound. McPherson, who jumped to a save, halted both efforts.
Now confident, the Catamounts tried to establish a lead after Natalie Zarcone sent a shot from the top of the point which flew top-shelf over Campbell’s shoulder to net a Vermont lead.
Crowley made sure Vermont didn’t have an opportunity to celebrate by challenging the play, and officials found the Catamounts were offside.
The reversal seemed to wipe out both the Catamounts’ goal and their energy.
At 15:27, the Eagles solidified their lead, though not by their own stick. Vermont’s Hailey Eikos retrieved the puck from the board and tried to bump back the play and open the ice by passing to Anna Podein.
The pass found the reverse outcome when the puck bounced off Podein’s skate and slipped past McPherson to hand BC the lead 2–1. Officials credited Julia Pellerin with the goal.
The Eagles appeared confident as the clock drained—but so did Vermont’s Alaina Tanski.
From the high slot, Tanski sent the puck to Lily Humphrey in front of the crease. Humphrey netted a top-shelf goal to tie the game with 21 seconds left in the period.
With breakaway bids and forceful forechecking, the third period became the Catamounts’ game.
BC received the first power-play opportunity of the game at the 3:06 mark when Vermont’s Rose-Marie Brochu took the box for slashing. Despite the advantage, BC spent more time than it would probably like in the defensive zone.
Vermont made it difficult for the home team to re-enter the zone, with Mlýnková sending a short-handed bid at Campbell. The advantage expired with only two Eagles’ shots, neither of which beat McPherson.
Vermont got their chance on the power play when Molly Jordan was penalized for tripping at 12:19, but BC mustered enough energy to kill the penalty. Campbell made 32 saves in regulation before both teams skated into overtime.
Five minutes was not enough for either team to tilt the ice in their favor, and Goulding put BC on top 3–2 with her second shootout goal of the season.
“We try to tell them to keep it simple and not try to force too much,” Crowley said. “The team stays positive through everything and anything. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything like it, actually.”