It was a Hockey East season known for having upsets just about every single weekend, and that trend bit Boston College Women’s Hockey at the worst possible time.
A surging UConn Huskies team that has given the Eagles fits all season and is playing their best hockey at the best possible time took a 2-1 lead in the second period over BC and never gave it up. The Huskies took the Hockey East semifinal by a final score of 4-2, sending the Eagles back home for Selection Sunday as they await their NCAA tournament opponent.
Boston College Goal #1 (PPG): 7:40 of the 1st period
Daryl Watts (Caitrin Lonergan, Toni Ann Miano)
BC 1, UC 0
Things started out so well for the Eagles. After killing an early UConn power play, the Eagles started to control things for the most part until they got a power play of their own. From there, it was the usual suspects on transition.
Caitrin Lonergan did her usual thing sprinting into the offensive end before circling behind the net and finding Daryl Watts across the slot at the bottom of the faceoff circle. Watts took the pass with her head up, finding the opening through UConn’s Annie Belanger, and fired home the goal to put BC up 1-0. Things looked pretty good!
UConn Goal #1 (PPG): 13:07 of the 1st period
Natalie Snodgrass (Briana Colangelo, Leah Lum)
BC 1, UC 1
But it was a short-lived BC lead. UConn tied the game a few minutes later on a power play of their own off a pretty similar play from Husky freshman Natalie Snodgrass.
Snodgrass took the pass from Crawley at the faceoff dot and, like Watts, had her head up looking for a target to shoot at. She shoots glove side and beats Burt up top to tie the game up at 1-1 before the end of the first period.
UConn Goal #2: 4:34 of the 2nd period
Natalie Snodgrass (Catherine Crawley, Kayla Mee)
UC 2, BC 1
It was UConn who came out strong at the start of the second period and found the go-ahead goal.
It’s Snodgrass again, this time on a breakaway off a turnover in the BC end along the boards. She goes forehand to backhand to beat Burt on a great shot, putting UConn up 2-1 — a lead they would not relinquish.
UConn Goal #3 (GWG): 9:30 of the 3rd period
Nora Maclaine (Emily Reid, Jaime Fox)
UC 3, BC 1
The good news for BC is that they responded very well to the second UConn goal. The bad news is, it didn’t matter. The Eagles couldn’t find a tying goal the rest of the second period, and couldn’t find a goal in the first half of the third period.
That proved killer to the Eagles, because UConn scored completely against the run of play midway through the final period.
It was a harmless shot from up top, but it’s through traffic and Burt isn’t able to control the rebound. It ends up on the doorstep, and Nora Maclaine found the puck on her stick for the rebound goal that really turns the screws on the Eagles.
That goal proved to be critical.
Boston College Goal #2: 12:40 of the 3rd period
Makenna Newkirk (Grace Bizal)
UC 3, BC 2
The Eagles responded again with some of their best hockey after UConn’s goal, and they finally broke through to get back within one thanks to Makenna Newkirk.
Annie Belanger was playing out of her mind all game for the Huskies, and it took a perfect screen to beat her. It’s not the hardest shot of the year by any means — more of a change-up, with Newkirk shooting across her body — but there are no fewer than four bodies between Newkirk and Belanger.
The puck finds space through all of them, making it 3-2 UConn.
UConn Goal #4: 19:20 of the 3rd period
Theresa Knutson (Leah Lum)
UC 4, BC 2 — FINAL
Unfortunately, even though the Eagles just peppered the UConn goaltender (and even had the benefit of a late power play), they just couldn’t find that game-tying goal. Annie Belanger continued the UConn tradition of having goaltenders who manage to repeatedly stymie Boston College.
Once the Huskies cleared the BC end, they were able to find the empty net goal to finally sink the Eagles and advance to the Hockey East championship game.
The loss dropped Boston College to 4th in the Pairwise, still high enough for a home ice spot in the NCAA quarterfinals, but not high enough to get a lower-ranked autobid team. The Eagles should be locked into playing either Cornell, or, if Minnesota wins the ECAC championship, then Ohio State. There’s always the chance that the committee does some shenanigans to save money, in which case BC could get the Hockey East champion... but that would be a bit of a surprise.
Selection Sunday is tomorrow night at 9pm. We’ll see who the Eagles end up with.