Just hours before Boston College Women’s Hockey’s game against Boston University, the Eagles learned that their already-depleted defensive corps would be even thinner for the rest of the season.
Superstar defensive recruit Cayla Barnes, former captain and three-time member of the USA U18 team, was called up to the US National Team on Saturday morning. BC is reporting that she will maintain all four years of eligibility due to the unforeseen circumstances and having only played in five games this season, and will return to re-start her freshman year next season.
It’s a huge honor for the freshman, who will join two other current Eagle defensemen (Kali Flanagan and Megan Keller) with the national team this year, with all three returning next season to what might be the nation’s best blue line.
But it’s a huge blow for Boston College’s 2018 national championship prospects. They got a taste of what might be in store the rest of the season this afternoon with a tight 4-3 win over a struggling Boston University team.
BC took an early 2-0 lead in the first period thanks to goals from Willow Corson and phenom Daryl Watts. But the Terriers outshot BC 11-8 in the frame and it never really felt like the Eagles were handling the Terriers despite the score.
Things were much more one-sided in the shot count the rest of the game. BU outshot BC 35-10 (!!!) over the final two periods, although BC’s high-end talent did see them pull out to 3-0 and 4-1 leads. Two extra attacker goals for the Terriers made the final tally closer than the score had been all day, but it was at least as much as BU deserved.
BC really struggled like they haven’t in years in getting the puck out of their own end and starting the breakout — something that had been a strength of theirs over the last few seasons with the superstars they’ve had on the blue line. BC brought forward Bridget McCarthy back to play defense (which is probably a smart move, as she will probably have a chance to make a bigger impact back there than she did on the third line).
The biggest concern for BC is that they got outshot so severely by a 1-5-0 BU team. Hopefully it’s just growing pains from getting the defensemen acclimated to their new roles. BC still has high-end talent — Watts plus Lonergan plus whoever Coach Crowley wants to put with them is probably the best line in the country, and they haven’t even been the starters.
Parity abounds in women’s hockey this season. Hopefully the adjustment to the loss of Cayla Barnes is a quick one and the Eagles find their footing.