In a whole lot of ways, Friday afternoon’s BC Women’s Hockey tilt against Saint Lawrence was a carbon copy of Thursday night’s win. The Eagles dominated possession and shots, they fell behind 1-0, and they came back to win in overtime.
In the end, they came away with the exact same score, a 2-1 win in overtime, but wow did this one end up playing out a whole lot more stressfully.
Let’s go to the videotape!
Saint Lawrence Goal #1 (7:04 of the 2nd period)
Maggie McLaughlin (Kayla Vespa, Natalie Wozney)
SLU 1, BC 0
So, sort of the same story as game one of the series on the Saint Lawrence goal. It’s a weird bounce — though this time a less egregious one — that ends up as a turnover at the blue line for BC with the puck finding its way onto the stick of an SLU player.
One quick back-pass from Vespa to McLaughlin sets the latter up for a shot in the high slot. It’s hard to tell exactly how this goes in, but it definitely wasn’t a shot that went off the stick clean. Either McLaughlin semi-whiffed a changeup over McArthur’s shoulder or it deflected off Cayla Barnes defending the play... but either way, it goes in over McArthur for the 1-0 Saints lead against the run of play.
Things started getting pretty wild in the third period. After a stretch of so-so hockey for BC in which it started to look like maybe this just wasn’t their night, the Eagles started to really turn on the jets and play some pretty fierce hockey.
The Eagles deserved a handful of goals, and would have had them were it not for the expertise of SLU goaltender Sonjia Shelly, who played every bit as well as her Kiwi counterpart Grace Harrison did on Thursday night. At one point, Daryl Watts had a shot from point blank that was highway-robbery’d by Shelly with one of the saves of the young season.
So after all that domination, it makes perfect sense that BC’s game tying goal in the waning seconds was a greasy goal on a scrum in the crease.
Boston College Goal #1 (EAG): 19:32.5 of the 3rd period
Cayla Barnes (Megan Keller, Lindsay Agnew)
BC 1, SLU 1
What a mess. Cayla Barnes started the chaos with a rifle of a shot from the right side of Shelly that probably deserved to find twine more than anything else, but it was either partially stopped or hit the post or both and bounced right into the crease. Almost every Saint Lawrence skater on the ice went down like a stunned goat in an attempt to block off the goal mouth, but somehow the puck went to the back side where the net mouth was just gaping wide open to anyone who could lift the puck over Shelly’s leg.
It’s Barnes again who finds the puck and gets her stick on it. From the replays it looks like a frantic desperation backhand as she’s falling to the ice, but in real-time from my angle directly behind the net, it was actually a very controlled, very purposeful “I am going to make 1000% sure that I’m going to lift this puck” movement from Barnes to get the puck over Shelly.
The goal set off a cathartic moment for the Eagles as Lindsay Agnew led the charge to gang-tackle Barnes to the ice in celebration. Fortunately, Barnes didn’t have very far to fall.
Boston College Goal #2 (GWG): 1:43 of Overtime
Grace Bizal (Makenna Newkirk)
BC 2, SLU 1 — FINAL (OT)
Saint Lawrence was a broken team after the Eagles were able to tie the game, and BC actually nearly had an opportunity to win the game in regulation. It didn’t take long in overtime for the Eagles to complete the comeback and skate away with the win.
Makenna Newkirk starts the play with a fancy through-the-legs back pass to Bizal at the point, who sees a perfect opportunity for the shot with Kelly Browne joined by two Saints players right on the doorstep for a perfect screen. Shelly is screened so badly that she drops down to the ice on the shot despite it going in at eye-level — she clearly doesn’t see the puck until it’s going past her. The puck may have taken the slightest of deflections off one of the SLU skaters as well. But in the puck went, and the Eagles pulled off a heart-stopping comeback win that is going to be just gigantic in the Pairwise come the end of the season.
Even so, like Thursday’s win, the overtime victory will only count for 90% of a win in the Pairwise thanks to the new RPI rules. But given that the Eagles were just 27.5 seconds away from getting 0% of a win, I’m sure they’ll take it.
ESPN sure liked the victory — the Eagles got a full recap on SportsCenter for their efforts, which was pretty sweet:
So it turns outs that a 2-1 OT comeback win will get you on @ESPN...#WeAreBC | #HockeyEast pic.twitter.com/jlPxXpgdwk— BC Women's Hockey (@BC_WHockey) October 13, 2018
It hasn’t been the perfect start for BC, who have climbed to 3-2-0 after starting the season with two losses. But the progression in the early going has been really very good, with the Eagles playing with very strong time of possession against a ranked team in Saint Lawrence — something that almost never happened last year. BC scored a ton of transition goals last season, and after only outshooting their opponents by about 3 shots per game on average last year, it’s almost like BC needs to re-learn how to create plays while they have possession. Given that they managed to pull out two gut-check wins in overtime against the #10 ranked team this week, it looks like they’re moving in the right direction.
The Eagles drop the puck on the Hockey East conference slate next weekend with a pair at home on Friday and Saturday against Merrimack and Vermont, respectively. Both games will be shown live on ESPN3.