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GOAL BY GOAL: #3 BC Women’s Hockey Opens With 4-3 Win Over #4 Minnesota-Duluth

The Eagles start the season off right

John Quackenbos, BC Athletics

Wow. Actual, real, honest-to-goodness, they-count-now hockey. It’s been far too long.

Boston College Women’s Hockey played the first non-exhibition hockey game of the BC hockey season on Thursday night, and they were thrown right into the fire. #4 Minnesota-Duluth is in town for a two game series, and while the Bulldogs got to warm up with a pair of real games last weekend, the Eagles had to wait an extra week for their season opener.

While the game got a lot more stressful than it needed to be in the end, the Eagles did manage to come away with a quality 4-3 win over the 4th ranked Bulldogs to start the year 1-0-0.

Minnesota-Duluth Goal #1: 14:59 of the 1st period
Naomi Rogge (Jessica Healey, Sydney Brodt)

UMD 1, BC 0

BC definitely came out of the gates pretty raw and rusty. Duluth started out the game as the better team, and some of that can probably be attributed to the fact that their season is already well underway — they’ve already had a full weekend of games and a regular practice schedule, and this was game three of the season for them.

Part of it too is that the Bulldogs are ranked 4th in the USCHO poll. Now, that may be a big high given that they returned less scoring than almost every team in the country, but the pollsters gave them some respect nonetheless.

Whatever the reason, Duluth was the better team in the opening 15 minutes or so, and they were rewarded with the game’s first goal.

This was one hell of a deflection. UMD’s Jessica Healey sent in a good shot through traffic from the blue line and Naomi Rogge finds the puck with her stick on her way through the slot. The puck sailed high into the air and over the head of Katie Burt and into the net.

A UMD player nearly touched the puck on it’s way down with a high stick, but fortunately for the Bulldogs, she missed.

Boston College Goal #1 (SHG): 17:27 of the 1st period
Makenna Newkirk (Daryl Watts, Toni Ann Miano)

BC 1, UMD 1

Oh yes, pump this directly into my veins.

Daryl Watts is BC’s latest freshman phenom forward. She’s #9 streaking up the left wing shorthanded with Makenna Newkirk in tow shorthanded. Her pass to Newkirk is directly onto the tape with a Bulldog in her face, and all Newkirk has to do redirect the puck in from point blank range.

This was a beauty of a play. We’ll be seeing a lot of Daryl Watts in Goal By Goal this year.

Boston College Goal #2: 3:34 of the 2nd period
Maegan Beres (Makenna Newkirk, Kenzie Kent)

BC 2, UMD 1

One the Eagles tied the game late in the 1st period, they took control for a pretty long stretch of the game. They took the lead early in the 2nd period and wouldn’t relinquish it.

This time the Eagles get gritty for the score. Newkirk gathers the puck in the corner and just takes it right to the goal mouth. A UMD player knocks the puck off her stick, but the puck is sitting in the crease with a pile of humanity collapsing in on the blue paint.

Maegan Beres comes like a wrecking ball with a complete disregard for decorum and is the first one to slice her stick at the puck. It’s her first career goal — and it’s a pretty great one, considering Head Coach Katie Crowley described her as “gritty” in a preseason word association.

...Well I guess so.

Boston College Goal #3 (PPG): 8:39 of the 2nd period
Caitrin Lonergan (Toni Ann Miano, Willow Corson)

BC 3, UMD 1

Caitrin Lonergan came to the Heights last season as one of BC’s biggest recruits in years. She had a great freshman campaign, but it looks like she’s primed to really break out as a sophomore.

The Heights put together a feature on Lonergan this month that showed how hard she worked in the offseason, and that hard work already paid off.

This is Lonergan’s first of two goals in this game, and while the finish was a bit lucky, she definitely made her own luck on the play. Lonergan went coast to coast, starting with the puck below her own hash marks and burning through three zones. She sends the puck into the slot on a centering pass, but instead of finding an Eagle stick, it finds a Bulldog skate, takes a tough deflection, and slides right past Duluth goaltender Jessica Convery.

No doubt the Eagles were fortunate for the deflection, but good things happen when you send the puck toward the net — it just so happens that she did it from 180 fee away.

Boston College Goal #4 (PPG, GWG): 6:54 of the 3rd period
Caitrin Lonergan (Makenna Newkirk, Daryl Watts)

BC 4, UMD 1

More Lonergan, this time of the more conventional variety.

BC’s on the power play here, and it’s a pretty simple play. The Eagles get Newkirk set up behind the net, and she draws a UMD defender in just a bit. That leaves a good passing lane to Lonergan below the faceoff dot, and she takes her chances with a rip of a one-timer. She finds the opening to beat Convery, and the Eagles are cruising at this point, up 4-1.

Duluth had the shot count in their favor, but from about the second period on, right about when the Eagles took the lead, they felt in control of the game. Certainly their top end scorers were more lethal, and a 4-1 score was probably deserving for how things had gone to that point in the game.

But then, the Eagles started a parade to the penalty box, and it could have cost them the win.

Minnesota-Duluth Goal #2 (5v3): 9:09 of the 3rd period
Ashton Bell (Ryleigh Houston, Jessica Healey)

BC 4, UMD 2

5 on 3. No bueno.

Credit to Duluth for converting on a pretty slick play here. Bell is set up on the top of the crease, and the feed from Houston is pretty much as good as your going to get.

Could the Eagle defenseman maybe have done a little better trying to disrupt Bell down low? Yeah, probably, but she’s also trying to defend the back door pass to the Duluth player on the goal line, so her options are pretty limited.

Nice goal from Duluth, but it’s not quite panic time for the Eagles.

Minnesota-Duluth Goal #3 (5v3): 10:22 of the 3rd period
Catherine Daoust (Sydney Brodt)

BC 4, UMD 3 — FINAL

Okay now it’s pretty much panic time.

Another 5 on 3 for the Bulldogs, and this time it’s just grip-it-and-rip-it. Daoust has all the room in the world at the top of the facebook circle to go for a back-scratcher of a slapshot, and it finds its way all the way through. Suddenly a game the Eagles are controlling is down to a one goal game with almost a full half period to go.

Fortunately, though, once the Eagles got everyone out of the penalty box, they seemed to get things back under control. UMD did get their chances in the final 10 minutes, but nothing particularly heartburn-inducing, and Katie Burt did what she had to do to keep the lead and give the Eagles a win in their season opener.

You can play back the full game right here on ESPN3.

There’s no rest for the weary. BC and UMD will face off on Friday at 2pm for game 2. The Boston College that found its legs in the middle 30 minutes of the game is going to be the one that has to show up to earn a big sweep against the WCHA’s Bulldogs.