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BC Women’s Hockey Ties #1 Minnesota 2-2 In Country Classic

A good tie if there ever was one

BC Athletics

Boston College Women’s Hockey dropped the puck on the “Country Classic” showcase in Nashville on Friday afternoon, and the Eagles certainly did not disappoint. In game one, BC faced off against the #1-ranked team in the country, Minnesota, and led twice on their way to an eyebrow-raising 2-2 tie against the juggernaut Gophers. It’s the first time the Eagles have ever won or tied against the #1 team in the nation, going 0-16-0 previously (though they’ve been #1 a few times themselves).

The Eagles came out with a pretty respectable start against Minnesota and for the most part played pretty even with the seven-time national champions. Just going more than 13 seconds without giving up a goal was a step-up from the last time the two teams played, when the Gophers scored almost immediately in the 2016 NCAA Championship game to end BC’s perfect season. But this time, it was the Eagles who struck first, with Delaney Belinskas going coast-to-coast on a shorthanded goal to take a 1-0 lead late in the first period.

Unfortunately, under a minute later, the Gophers responded with a tying goal off a two-on-one shortly after the BC penalty was over.

But the Eagles clearly came out in the second period feeling like they belonged on the ice with the Gophers, because after Minnesota came out firing, the Eagles really opened things up in the shot count, nearly doubling-up the Gophers at one point late in the period. Another BC penalty resulted in another BC goal — somehow the first time any team has ever scored two shorthanded goals in one game against the Gophers — this time with Kelly Browne going bar-down after slipping the puck around a diving Gopher at a tough angle.

The Eagles took the 2-1 lead into the third period, and it was clear BC started to hold their stick a little tighter against the top team in the nation. Minnesota tied the game up about halfway through the third period, and the Eagles were really hanging on for dear life as the clock ticked down. BC was outshot a whopping 15-1 in the third period, erasing their shot lead from the rest of the game, and the Gophers were really sensing blood in the water.

But after killing a late penalty and getting some big-time saves from goaltender Maddy McArthur, the Eagles were able to come away with the draw and the solid Pairwise boost from tying the top team in the country.

The third period and overtime were pretty rough for BC, but it certainly seemed to come from getting a bit anxious in the big moment. Should the Eagles make an NCAA tournament run, it will have been beneficial for BC to have had an opportunity to play in a game like this one to help set them up for a big postseason moment.

Next up for BC is game two of the Country Classic in Nashville against #2 Wisconsin. With BC already having skated stride-for-stride with the #1 and #3 teams in the country (Minnesota and Northeastern), the Eagles could really start to believe in themselves if they can give the Badgers a run on Saturday afternoon.

Puck drop for #8 BC vs. #2 Wisconsin is at 2pm EST in Nashville!