After losing 6 of their last 7 games, Boston College Women’s Hockey is finally back in the win column.
It was a wild ride, but the Eagles pretty emphatically flipped the script on Friday night’s lackluster loss against these same Huskies. We talked about how BC has started to look like they’re trying far too hard and have been too methodical in their play. Saturday was the polar opposite — the Eagles were instinctive and sharp, using creative passes to open up the ice and jumping up into the play often (often to their detriment defensively, but baby steps) to explode offensively and claim a 7-5 win over #3 ranked Northeastern.
It was by far BC’s biggest resume-building win of the season.
Boston College Goal #1: 6:44 of the 1st period
Megan Keller (Delaney Belinskas)
BC 1, NU 0
Boston College Goal #2: 12:27 of the 1st period
Megan Keller (Daryl Watts)
BC 2, NU 0
The Eagles shot out of a cannon and really set the tone early, putting up roughly the first 8 or so shots of the game and finally having some flow. Megan Keller was the star of the show, with her first goal coming off her own rebound, and her second coming off a very nice tip out front from a shot-pass from Daryl Watts, putting the Eagles out front and giving BC some real confidence for the first time in what seems like (and probably actually has been) months.
Northeastern Goal #1 (PPG): 18:31 of the 1st period
Andrea Renner (Codie Cross, Maddie Hartman)
BC 2, NU 1
Boston College Goal #3: 19:32.3 of the 1st period
Daryl Watts (Kelly Browne, Ryan Little)
BC 3, NU 1
The rest of the game had a common theme. Whenever the Huskies would get a sniff of a comeback, the Eagles would come out and show tom real heart with a big response.
Northeastern got its first on the power play late in the period, and it looked like they’d be headed into the locker room down just one, but BC answered just a minute later with only seconds left before the buzzer.
The goal was some vintage Daryl Watts, who had what was easily her most electrifying game in quite some time. Watts is at her best when she’s picking corners, and she does just that, nearly nicking the far post on her way in after some very well done stickhandling to give herself an open shot. That made it 3-1 going into the locker room, and BC wasn’t done.
Boston College Goal #4: 7:48 of the 2nd period
Kali Flanagan (Delaney Belinskas, Maegan Beres)
BC 4, NU 1
The Eagles came out strong in the second period as well, and extended their lead to three on a perfect odd player rush from Delaney Belinskas and Kali Flanagan.
Belinskas had a breakout performance, and this pass to Flanagan through the defender was just the start. We’ll be calling her name a couple more times before this game is done. All Flanagan has to do is get a stick on it, and she’s got a wide open net to hit for the score.
Northeastern Goal #2: 17:06 of the 2nd period
Kasidy Anderson (unassisted)
BC 4, NU 2
But like the first, Northeastern got itself some hope with a late goal that looked like it would give them some life heading into the next period.
Here’s a case of BC’s loosey-goosey play getting the best of them a little, with Serena Sommerfield making an ill-advised pinch that leads to a 2 on 0 for the Huskies. Anderson ends up keeping the puck on her own for the score, and Cayla Barnes plows through the player without the puck as well leading to a penalty. A bit of a disaster all around on this one, really.
Boston College Goal #5: 19:32.2 of the 2nd period
Kelly Browne (Caitrin Lonergan, Kali Flanagan)
BC 5, NU 2
But BC, as they did over and over in this game, responded again. With 27.8 seconds left in the second period, BC got an odd-player rush of their own thanks to a similarly over-eager Husky defender at the blue line.
Lonergan’s pass to Browne is partially deflected, but all it does is slow it up for Browne to gather it in and slide the puck through the five hole for the score, and the huge goal heading into the final intermission to put BC up 5-2.
That would chase NU goalie Aerin Frankel, the nation’s top goaltender heading into the game, for the third period.
Northeastern Goal #3: 2:14 of the 3rd period
Brooke Hobson (Alina Mueller, Kasidy Anderson)
BC 5, NU 3
Some more loosey-goosey play biting the Eagles to allow Northeastern to cut the lead back to two early in the third period.
Caitrin Lonergan tries to stick the puck away from Brooke Hobson, and it does not end well at all. With Lonergan out of the picture, Hobson can skate right in on McArthur, and while she’s at a tough angle for the left handed shooter, she targets the top corner and doesn’t miss, hitting the back bar over the shoulder of Maddy McArthur.
Northeastern Goal #4: 6:28 of the 3rd period
Maddie Hartman (Codie Cross, Matti Hartman)
BC 5, NU 4
Boston College Goal #6 (GWG, TD): 6:51 of the 3rd period
Delaney Belinskas (Megan Keller, Maddy McArthur)
BC 6, NU 4
A few minutes after Hobson’s sharpshooting, Northeastern climbed back within one on a long distance shot through traffic that went all the way through clean. But just 23 seconds later, the Eagles — you may have noticed a pattern — dig deep for a goal to take back control, this time against new goaltender Brittany Bugalski.
It’s one that Bugalski probably wants back, with Delaney Belinskas finding the five hole on a partial breakaway down the near side, but Bugalski gives her the opening and it’s a well placed shot from Belinskas to take what she’s given to put BC back up by two at 6-4.
Northeastern Goal #5: 16:29 of the 3rd period
Paige Capistran (Andrea Renner, Miceala Sindoris)
BC 6, NU 5
Now it’s Maddy McArthur’s turn to have one she’d like to have back with a goal from the Huskies.
A relatively harmless shot from Northeastern’s Andrea Renner is stopped by McArthur, but she doesn’t control it cleanly and it falls to her feet. McArthur can’t see it, and by the time she does, Capistran is there to poke the puck home and get the Huskies back within one once again.
Boston College Goal #7 (PAT): 17:52 of the 3rd period
Delaney Belinskas (Cayla Barnes, Kali Flanagan)
BC 7, NU 5 — FINAL
But the Eagles responded again to ice the game before the Huskies even have a chance to pull the goaltender.
This is one that Bugalski definitely wants back. The puck comes in harmlessly to her feet, and she goes down to stop and cover the puck. But she’s far too lackadaisical about it, and Delaney Belinskas (again) gets her stick on the puck before Bugalski can cover it, slipping the puck through and putting the game on ice for a 7-5 BC win.
So what did we see in this game? We saw the Eagles completely shake off their stiffness and play very loose, finally finding their scoring touch thanks to them just playing hockey and not thinking through every move. That meant BC’s defense left a whole lot to be desired thanks to a lot of over-eager pinches in their own end, but at the very least it opened the Eagles up and seemed to get their minds in the right place. The right balance is clearly somewhere in the middle, but this is the kind of breakthrough game — against a real national championship contender in #3 Northeastern — that can give the Eagles confidence and spark a run as we inch closer to trophy season.
Next up for the Eagles is a pair on the road in Burlington as BC takes on the University of Vermont. Road games have a history of giving the Eagles problems, but the Catamounts are a team that a loose BC team should be able to handle. With a little help nationally, a weekend sweep could very well put BC on the cusp of the NCAA tournament conversation once again.