It’s felt like ages since Boston College Women’s Hockey has had a stress-free yawner of a win — and in fact it has been ages, because the last time it happened was November 24th against Holy Cross. But the Eagles did just that on the road against the Vermont Catamounts on Friday night, taking an early 2-0 on the strength of an excellent first period on their way to a ho-hum 4-2 league win.
BC came out strong right out of the gate, getting the first 9 shots of the game in the opening 7:25. Vermont goaltender Melissa Black made some spectacular saves for a while, but the Eagles finally broke through about 15 minutes in with a goal from Delaney Belinskas. A minute and a half later, BC got another from Makenna Newkirk — a thrilling effort as she went down to the ice — making it 2-0 into the first intermission, which was at least as much as the Eagles deserved.
But Boston College came out flat in the second period thanks to back to back penalties, and the Catamounts scored on the power play to cut the lead to 2-1. BC couldn’t get anything at all going in the second period, and that was where the score stayed heading into the final break.
The Eagles found a spark thanks to a snipe from Megan Keller from close range early in the third period, and BC controlled play the rest of the way. Freshman defender Jillian Fey scored the first goal of her career a few minutes later to make it 4-1 BC, pretty much icing the game for the Eagles, though Vermont’s Saana Valkama scored one last tally for the Catamounts in garbage time with 2:49 to play.
It wasn’t exactly the blitzkrieg effort you’d like to see against a lower ranked team, but it was fine. With the long road trip — and several BC players at less than 100% due to illness, per social media posts — you’ll take the easy win and get ready for game two.
The bigger concern for the Eagles, though, is the massive struggle BC’s had on the power play. Boston College hasn’t scored a power play goal since December 7th (!!), going 0 for their last 18 attempts on the advantage, and 2 for their last 33. The fact that this incredibly poor stretch has been so long and yet the Eagles have only fallen to 16th nationally on the power play over the course of a full season is evidence that the BC special teams were actually pretty great for a while. And it’s no coincidence that this 0-fer stretch goes back to the beginning of BC’s recent 1-6-0 run dating back to late November. Prior to that run, the Eagles were 2nd in the country on the power play (!!!!!!!!).
Needless to say... if Boston College can at least get the power play to a respectable level, that will cure a lot of ills. As it stands, though, BC’s looking for its first 3-game winning streak since November, and they’ll try to get it Saturday afternoon at 3pm for game two of the weekend series at Gutterson Fieldhouse.