Before we kick things off here in our Goal By Goal recap of last night’s Boston College Women’s Hockey game against UConn, a quick personal note for the players who actually put on the maroon and gold and play the games:
This, this right here, the effort shown from whistle to whistle by the players on the ice, is the magic sauce that BC has been looking for all season. For what felt like the first time all year, the Eagles spent 60 minutes sprinting to pucks, moving their feet, and generally getting to where they wanted to be before their UConn counterpart could get there. It opened up the entire game plan for BC — sluggish play development turned into great game flow, passes that were rushed in prior games now had time and space to be on target, and plays were there to be made.
This was not a blow-out (though after hitting no less than 4 posts, it definitely could have been). This was a methodical twisting of the screws by a talented team finally not allowing their opponent to close the gap by a mismatch in effort.
There are pedestrian 3-0 wins and there are good 3-0 wins. This was a good 3-0 win.
Let’s watch some goals.
Boston College Goal #1 (GWG): 17:08 of the 1st period
Daryl Watts (Caitrin Lonergan, Delaney Belinskas)
BC 1, UC 0
BC started well pretty much out of the gate, though you wouldn’t know it by looking at the 8-6 shot margin from the end of the first. But the Eagles were in control pretty much from the drop of the hat.
For a while it looked like BC was going to go another opening frame without scoring a goal (coming into the game the Eagles had only scored 5 of their 27 goals in the first period), but that was resolved with an emphatic dunking upon UConn goaltender Morgan Fisher by Watts and Lonergan.
Watts got to finish off the alley-oop with the earth-shattering slam on the back end, but wow does Lonergan bust a move to create the two on one. Her little toe drag as she enters the offensive zone gives more than enough room for two of most talented players in the country to do their thing, and the end result is a thing of beauty to put BC up 1-0.
No scoring in the second period, although BC really started turning up the heat, leading in shots 10-1 at one point in the middle frame. So in lieu of a second period goal, here’s a GIF of Maddy McArthur and Megan Keller early in the third giving Natalie Snodgrass an opportunity to re-think her life choices:
Not to worry — the scoring would return soon after.
Boston College Goal #2: 2:36 of the 3rd period
Savannah Norcross (Daryl Watts, Willow Corson)
BC 2, UC 0
BC finally got their insurance goal early in the third period, though they’d certainly earned one or two earlier on.
This is just the sort of play they deserved to score a goal on. There’s a puck battle along the boards that starts to leave the offensive zone, but Kali Flanagan jumps to the line to barely keep the puck in. The Eagles are in position ready to capitalize on the turnover, and a couple easy passes from Corson to Watts over to Norcross results in a one-on-one with Fisher. Norcross finds the opening, and it’s 2-0.
Boston College Goal #3 (PPG): 15:22 of the 3rd period
Megan Keller (Makenna Newkirk, Kelly Browne)
BC 3, UC 0 — FINAL
Special teams also did well for BC in this game, in particular the penalty kill who held UConn, surprisingly the #1 team in the country in power play efficiency, to 0-5 on the night. BC’s own power play made things happen as well, and they cashed in on their third and final opportunity of the evening.
The Eagles are re-entering the zone and frankly seem to have the Huskies playing a bit intimidated and back on their heals. Browne skates in deep which gives Newkirk the space to receive a back pass, and Keller, who started the zone entry, just goes to the soft spot between the three central UConn defenders.
Newkirk threads the needle to Keller who only needs to get a stick on the puck to redirect the puck through Fisher, and that was your ballgame.
The BC skaters were the story in this game with the effort they showed from the drop of the puck, but freshman goaltender Maddy McArthur has quietly turned BC’s goaltending from a question mark — given that they lost their senior starter in the offseason — to an exclamation point. McArthur currently sits in the top 10 nationally in both GAA and Save%, is the national leader in minutes played (and again, she’s a freshman), and has managed to not just improve on Katie Burt’s senior year numbers, but dramatically improve on them, taking Burt’s .933 Save% to .947 and Burt’s 1.95 GAA to a whopping 1.20.
Yes, there is no doubt that getting three of the best defenders in the world back on the roster has helped a ton. But at this point the sample size is large enough where we can pretty confidently say that BC’s questions in goal heading into the season have been pretty convincingly answered by the freshman.
BC has a seriously dangerous game on Saturday at Providence College. Four players — the three Olympic D plus forward Caitrin Lonergan — will be away with Team USA as they practice for the upcoming Four Nations tournament. That’s going to result in a brutal lack of warm bodies available to take the ice, so the Eagles are definitely going to need another full-throttle effort and a McArthur brick wall to come away with two points.