Every college hockey season features a month-long holiday break, and every return from break calls for a quick return to form. If the team comes back a little too overstuffed with holiday pastries, it’s an easy opportunity to drop some points.
But hey, couldn’t be us! Boston College Women’s Hockey returned to the ice this week for a pair against the Maine Black Bears in a crucial league series, and Coach Crowley had her team ready to go. BC came away with a pair of 4-1 wins to take all six points, giving the Eagles some solid separation from the pack for the last home ice spot in the Hockey East playoffs.
The Eagles jumped out to a great start on Thursday, looking strong from the drop of the puck. BC seemed to put more emphasis on possession and when they had the puck, they weren’t as quick to relinquish it as they had been in the first half of the season. The good start didn’t translate to a goal, unfortunately... and of course Maine found the back of the net first a few minutes into the second period to take a 1-0 lead.
But once the Eagles scored, the scored a bunch. Cayla Barnes, Abby Newhook, and Kelly Browne all scored very pretty goals within a few minutes in a great response to the Maine goal to take a 3-1 lead into the third period. Browne would add another early in the third period to extend the BC lead to 4-1, and that was your final for game one.
Game two was a pretty similar contest. Maine did show up ready to play this time, though, and once again took a 1-0 lead, this time in the first period. But once again, the Eagles were there with a response. Abby Newhook, who quite simply only scores big goals, scored to tie the game just 23 seconds later to knot the score at 1-1 and send the game into the first intermission tied.
The second period once again belonged entirely to the Eagles. For the second straight night, BC put home three goals in the middle frame. Hannah Bilka, Kelly Browne, and Katie Pyne all found the back of the net to once again give the Eagles a 4-1 lead, which would again last through the final whistle as the final score.
The two wins were huge for league positioning. Boston College entered the weekend tied for 4th with the Black Bears, and came out of it with a six point gap — and the tiebreaker — for that last home ice spot. But perhaps the biggest story to come out of the series was the resurgence of BC’s three-year captain Kelly Browne. The team’s most trusted leader hasn’t played badly at all this season, but the goals hadn’t been coming for her. She showed up in a big way for three goals and an assist in the two games against Maine to get the monkey off her back, and her re-emergence is a good sign for BC’s postseason chances as trophy season approaches.
Next up for the Eagles is one of their toughest matchups of the season, a rivalry game against #7 Northeastern at Matthews Arena on Friday afternoon, before the Eagles head out to the hinterlands west of Route 128 to finish their season series against Holy Cross on Saturday.