Boston College Women’s Hockey coasted through the first 1⁄3rd of the regular season thanks in part to a soft schedule, but that run of weak opponents ended on Friday evening with a trip down to Boston University.
The Terriers aren’t ranked, but they’re right on the cusp of the top 10 and had to play just about the whole season with one of the best forwards in the country off the ice due to injury. Now that she’s back, this is a BU team that will absolutely be climbing the rankings. So the fact that the Eagles went into their rival’s arena, looked a third period deficit in the face, and showed some serious resiliency to come away with a 4-2 comeback win says a lot about what the team is made of. This win is going to have been a big one come February.
Boston University Goal #1: 5:22 of the 1st period
Kristina Schuler (Deziray De Sousa, Nara Elia)
BU 1, BC 0
The first period was kind of bizarre. The Eagles jumped out to a 5- or 6-0 lead in shots, and the Terriers put put their first attempt into the back of the net.
It was a pretty good goal, off the draw the Terriers were able to corral the puck behind the net, and Schuler for BU was first to react to go to the slot to receive a pass. The Eagle defender was just a half step too late reacting to the move, and the Terriers got the goal to make it 1-0 on one shot.
But the weird thing about the period wasn’t so much that BU scored one goal while only getting two shots over the opening twenty minutes, it was more the fact that the Eagles looked surprisingly toothless in their outshooting of the Terriers by a count of 12-2.
Boston College Goal #1 (PPG): 17:19 of the 1st period
Hannah Bilka (Savannah Norcross, Alexie Guay)
BC 1, BU 1
But fortunately, the Eagles got a boost toward the end of the period thanks to a 5 minute major to BU’s US National Team-er Jesse Compher that allowed the Eagles to tie the game up at one.
BC looked pretty solid on the 5 minute advantage and finally got a really good flurry on BU’s Corinne Schroeder. Schroeder somehow kept the puck out of the net at first, but one too many rebounds found its way to Bilka to popped the puck back where it came from to tie the game at 1-1.
It was an important goal for BC, but you could argue that the Terriers dodged a bullet with the whole situation on the penalty — Compher’s boarding penalty was only a 5 minute major and not a 5 with a game misconduct like you usually see. That allowed Compher to return to the game, and while she didn’t factor into the scoresheet, the fact that she was on the ice so much kept BU as, arguably, the favorite to win the game from that point.
Boston University Goal #2 (PPG): 13:57 of the 2nd period
Kristina Schuler (Deziray De Sousa, Julia Nearis)
BU 2, BC 1
Boston University would re-take the lead late in the 2nd period on a crazy sequence with a power play of their own. A couple too many rebounds in front of the net gave BU a chance on net, and while the referees called “no goal” on the ice, the goal light went on and it sure appeared that the puck had gone in.
After more than a minute of game play, replay showed that the Terriers had indeed scored, putting a second goal on the board for the Terriers and putting over a minute of game time back on the clock.
BU totally dominated the rest of the second period from there, and it just felt like the Eagles were not quite playing well enough to beat a talented team like the Terriers.
Boston College Goal #2 (PPG): 5:04 of the 3rd period
Alexie Guay (Kelly Browne, Hannah Bilka)
BC 2, BU 2
But boy oh boy, did the game turn after the second intermission. Whether it was a locker room coaching job by Coach Crowley and Coach Kennedy or an ill-timed BU penalty or both, the Eagles looked better in the third period and found a way to start the comeback.
The Eagles scored a power play goal 5 minutes into the third period on a point blast from freshman defender Alexie Guay, but the leadup to the score was why Guay had acres of room to tee up the shot. BC was doing very, very well to keep the puck in tight on goal, causing the Terriers to pull in on their net and somewhat frantically try to keep the Eagles from shooting.
The Eagles did well to hold possession in such tight space before sending the puck up top for the hockey equivalent of this...
...to tie the game up at 2-2.
But BC was just getting started.
Boston College Goal #3 (GWG): 7:43 of the 3rd period
Delaney Belinskas (Maegan Beres, Hadley Hartmetz)
BC 3, BU 2
Just a couple minutes later, the Eagles found the goal that gave them their first lead of the night.
Freshman defender Hadley Hartmetz started the breakout with a hell of a flip-pass out of the defensive zone, and the rush was on with BC on a partial 2-on-1. Maegan Beres shot-passed the puck from a low angle, and while Delaney Belinskas may or may not have gotten a stick on it, she was able to get something on it to deflect the puck past Schroeder.
That made it 3-2 Eagles, though the game wouldn’t end without a scare. BC took its fifth penalty of the night at the worst possible time with just over two minutes to play in regulation making for plenty of heartburn in the closing minutes. The Terriers very nearly scored on that power play, but goaltender Maddy McArthur saved the day covering the far post while screened to keep the lead for the Eagles.
There was still plenty of time left for an equalizer, but the Eagles were able to kill the rest of the penalty from there.
Just as the clock expired on the penalty to Cayla Barnes, the sophomore stepped out of the box down the ice, winning the one-on-one battle and hitting the empty net from a tough angle to seal the win.
Boston College Goal #4 (ENG): 19:21 of the 3rd period
Cayla Barnes (Unassisted)
BC 4, BU 2 — FINAL
“It was a competitive game,” said Coach Crowley afterward. On the third period turnaround, “I just said they were playing great and to keep it up. Tidy up the D-zone and win the game in these last twenty minutes.”
It should go without saying that any win over the Terriers is a big one, but this was truly a huge win for several reasons. First and foremost, it gives the Eagles their confidence back after a disastrous trip to UConn that saw the Eagles take their first loss of the year in embarrassing fashion. It also gives BC an extra two-point edge over a team that was projected to finish ahead of them in Hockey East, and gives the Eagles their first signature win nationally, which gives the team a huge boost in the Pairwise.
There are still plenty of things to be concerned about — like what the hell happened to the team’s great defense from the beginning of the year, for started — but this is not a time for complaining. This was a big win for BC, and they’ll get to rest up a couple days before taking on #4 ranked Northeastern at home on Tuesday evening.