The Boston College women's hockey team took their shiny new #3 ranking out for a spin last night at Matthews Arena and wore it well, playing like a top-tier team and overwhelming Northeastern, 6-2. The streaks continue to grow for BC: 10 straight wins, 15 games without a loss, 12 straight wins for goaltender Corinne Boyles, and 17 straight games with a point for sophomore Alex Carpenter. BC is now 14-3-2 overall (9-2-1 in Hockey East).
One thing that struck me watching the game last night is that I've seen teams that play like this before - namely, the great UNH women's teams of yesteryear, or some of the stellar Harvard and Dartmouth teams that dominated the ECAC. They are fast, incredibly strong on the puck, win every battle along the boards, are very good at holding the zone when teams try to clear, and are capable of setting up cycling shifts like you'd see from a pro team, or operating like they're on the power play while it's even strength. Additionally, they are relentless, pushing for goals right up until the last second.
The first few minutes of the game made it look like we might be headed for another game similar to the 10-0 beating of Maine in December, as BC came out scorching, scoring two goals in the first 6:26 and recording the game's first eight shots; Northeastern didn't even really clear the BC red line other than to dump the puck in the opening minutes of the game.
Meagan Mangene opened the scoring at 4:15, knocking home a wide-open rebound after a great play by Taylor Wasylk to strip Northeastern of the puck and get a shot on goal, which came right out to Mangene. Alex Carpenter then notched BC's second goal two minutes later, and the rout appeared to be on.
Following the second goal, BC went in to a bit of a funk and for a short period of time it looked like the game would be tight. On Northeastern's very first offensive pressure of the game, they crashed the net hard, with Brittany Esposito's shot getting loose under Boyles for Lucie Povova to push in and make it 2-1. Kelly Wallace scored the tying goal for Northeastern at 14:51 of the period on another scrum around the net.
Northeastern cooked up just what the doctor ordered to snap BC out of its funk, serving up an own goal less than two minutes into the second period to give the Eagles a lead that they wouldn't relinquish; Kate Leary threw a puck in front of the net and a Northeastern player basically shot it into her own net in an attempt to clear. It looked an awful lot like this famous YouTube clip:
Japanese hockey player, own goal. He celebrates! (via pandasteak)
In the third period, the rout was on; Kate Leary notched her second goal of the game, Haley Skarupa picked up her 15th goal of the season, and Dana Trivigno got in to double digit goals on the season as BC looked in complete control in the third period.
The final shots on goal were 36-26, with Boyles picking up 24 saves to improve her record this year to 12-1-0.
It's now on to Sunday and a clash at Conte Forum with #4 Cornell, a game with huge pairwise implications. By my rough estimate, BC would have a very good chance of flipping the PWR comparison with #2 Harvard and moving in to second place (first place in the NCAA women's hockey human division) with a win. Game time is 2 PM.