In the final minutes of the game, with two Boston College players in the penalty box to give UNH an extended two-man advantage, BC defenseman (!) Megan Keller took the puck coast-to-coast, deked out the Wildcats goalie, and scored to put BC up 10-0.
It was that kind of day for UNH. And it's been that kind of season for BC, who hit double digits for the second time this year in a comprehensive demolition of UNH this afternoon at Conte Forum, outshooting the Wildcats 42-13. With the win, BC is now 10-0-1, and looks poised to continue their reign as #1 if they can beat UNH tomorrow at the Whittemore Center.
Alex Carpenter opened the scoring for BC just 0:19 into the game, before UNH even had a chance to catch their breath, setting the tone for a dominant display by Carpenter and her two linemates, Haley Skarupa and Kenzie Kent. The trio combined for nine points and 15 shots on goal, Dana Trivigno, Tori Sullivan and Emily Field all also added three points, and Katie Burt and Taylor Blake combined for the shutout between the pipes.
While it's hard to take too much away from a win over a team like UNH that is likely to finish at or near the bottom of Hockey East, longtime observers may recall that the Wildcats were for many years the archnemesis of the Eagles, and the dominant program in the conference before the rise of BC and BU. As such, wins against them are always worth celebrating, even if the 'Cats have fallen on hard times.
You had to feel a bit for UNH's goalie Vilma Vaattovaara (try spelling that without looking it up), who made 26 saves in just over 30 minutes of ice time before being pulled despite not being at fault at all for UNH's then-4-0 deficit. The Wildcats went through two more goalies on the day, neither of whom could keep BC off the board.
Seven different Eagles scored in the win, though it's almost noteworthy at this point in the season that one of BC's lines was held off the board, as that rarely happens. BC's depth in attack is something most teams in Hockey East are going to have a hard time dealing with.
Though they will be limited by having a fairly weak strength of schedule, BC at this point has a realistic chance of battling for the #1 overall spot in the pairwise if they continue to cakewalk through Hockey East. After 11 games, BC has only been in two that were vaguely competitive: the two games at St. Lawrence early in the season. While St. Lawrence is not a powerhouse this season, they are 4-1-1 at home this year, with the only non-wins being the BC games.
Realistically, BC should be heavily favored in every single game they play in the rest of the regular season with the exception of the Harvard game on Black Friday preceding the men's game vs. Minnesota. They'll probably need to go very close to undefeated to be the tournament's #1 seed. That's a heavy burden to carry and BC will have to respond to it by bringing intensity to every single game, even the ones where they're expected to be able to win by just showing up. So far, so good on that front—UNH is one of multiple opponents this year to learn the hard way that BC is going to keep playing aggressively until the final whistle.
Next up for the Eagles is a return trip to Durham, NH tomorrow to take on these same Wildcats. Let's hope for a similar effort on an Olympic-sized ice sheet that a lot of BC's players are going to get used to playing on regularly.