Boston College Women’s Hockey knew for over a month that a potential Hockey East semifinal matchup with Boston University would likely be the difference between comfortably making the NCAA tournament and sitting at home.
Perhaps it was the weeks of anticipation, perhaps it was the rivalry game, or perhaps it was just the fact that Boston College is playing their best hockey of the season at the right time. But whatever the reason, the Eagles came out and absolutely blitzed Boston University from start to finish to advance to the Hockey East championship game, winning 5-1 in a game that was never in doubt all the way from the opening seconds of the game.
Boston College Goal #1: 0:22 of the 1st period
Lindsay Agnew (Makenna Newkirk, Daryl Watts)
BC 1, BU 0
You could tell that BU was going to have some trouble in this game pretty much right off the bat. Boston College almost scored about 12 seconds in, regained possession, and went right back at it.
Daryl Watts danced across the blue line with the puck before sending it over to Newkirk. Newkirk just fires away, and Agnew gets some wood on it at the doorstep to disrupt things on its way through. She gets just enough of a deflection go send the puck off the shoulder of BU goaltender Corinne Schroeder, and it trickles into the net to give BC the 1-0 lead.
Now — the score was only 1-0 after one period. But the most telling sign that it was going to be BC’s night was that the BC defense was putting together some of their best work of the year. Individual efforts broke up almost every BU attack before it even had a chance to start. The Terriers may not have had a single odd-player rush in the game. And the Eagles held BU to just 3 shots in the first period (and four in the second).
That meant that eventually, BC was going to open up that lead.
Boston College Goal #2 (PPG, GWG): 3:57 of the 2nd period
Daryl Watts (Makenna Newkirk, Kali Flanagan)
BC 2, BU 0
And open it up they did. A tripping penalty drawn by BC’s Caitrin Lonergan put the Eagles on the power play, and it was all the push the pendulum needed.
Of course, this goal doesn’t happen unless Daryl Watts is able to bend spacetime. Watts took possession of the puck behind the net and wrapped out toward the front just above the goal line and is presumably looking for a stick to pass to out front. She doesn’t have anything to target, so she just fires at the net and somehow finds a puck-sized hole that is not there.
The goal seems to even surprise Daryl herself, which is just a joy.
Boston College Goal #3 (PPG): 11:49 of the 2nd period
Kelly Browne (Caitrin Lonergan, Cayla Barnes)
BC 3, BU 0
The Eagles took a penalty immediately after scoring the goal, but the penalty kill held strong. That kill was followed by a Terrier penalty, putting BC back on the power play once again, and BC converted to make it two for two on the advantage.
This time it’s much more of your garden variety power play goal. Lots of puck movement for BC on a sort-of-1-3-1 formation, and once Caitrin Lonergan get the puck at the far side, she spots a passing lane through traffic to the opposite side of Schroeder and slips the puck through everyone. Kelly Browne, on the receiving end, doesn’t get all of it, but that might have earned her the goal as the low shot just found its way under the pads to make it 3-0.
Boston University Goal #1 (PPG): 14:27 of the 2nd period
Abby Cook (Jesse Compher, Kaleigh Donnelly)
BC 3, BU 1
It wasn’t quite a perfect game, however. An Erin Connolly roughing penalty later in the period — which, let me tell you, was one hell of a great hit where she totally blew up a BU player for no reason (which I definitely ENDORSE) — put the Terriers on another power play, and this time they converted.
Abby Cook for BU ends up with the puck way up high at the blue line, and she takes the long distance wrist shot. The puck somehow finds its way through no fewer than six bodies plus the goaltender, and it’s a safe bet that Maddy McArthur didn’t see it coming through. That made it 3-1, which probably gave the Terriers some hope, but that hope would be promptly snuffed out for good shortly thereafter.
Boston College Goal #4: 16:20 of the 2nd period
Daryl Watts (Cayla Barnes, Kali Flanagan)
BC 4, BU 1
Daryl Watts’ status was in doubt all week after leaving game two against UConn in the quarterfinals with an injury, but you would never know there was anything wrong with her in this game. Saturday was vintage Watts, with the sophomore pulling out snipes, toe-drags, shifty moves, you name it, like it’s 2017.
The replay camera angle gets a beautiful view of this shot and Watts’ movements leading up to it. She gains possession off the drop pass from Barnes, and just goes toward the net. BU’s got a defender there, but she’s too far back to properly defend this, and Daryl takes advantage of every inch afforded to her — a couple stick moves, a couple more stick moves, maybe one more stick move, and suddenly she’s halfway between the faceoff dot and the low slot.
Her shot lasers its way over the shoulder of Schroeder, and this might have sucked any remaining life out of the Terriers for the rest of the game.
Boston College Goal #5: 6:33 of the 3rd period
Erin Connolly (Delaney Belinskas, Megan Keller)
BC 5, BU 1 — FINAL
BC’s 27-7 shot advantage through two was made a bit less impressive in the third thanks to BC pretty much just sitting back, clogging things up, and letting BU try and skate their way through five bodies for 20 minutes, but BC still found another goal to ice this one well before halfway through the third period.
It’s a low initial shot from Delaney Belinskas, clearly meant to draw a rebound, and it couldn’t have worked out better. Schroeder blocks the puck right into the slot, and while there are a few BU players there to try and clean it up, the puck’s bouncing and no one can get a good stick on it. Erin Connolly, who previously wrecked a BU player’s day with a hit earlier in the game leading to BU’s only goal, is the first one who can get a clean stick on it, and she roofs it past Schroeder to make it 5-1, closing out the scoring for the game.
This game was a total skunking, and it’s got to make the Eagles feel good going into the Hockey East championship game on Sunday afternoon. It feels like things have been firing on all cylinders, and aside from the ill-advised penalty from Connolly, this game really had it all for BC — Three lines totally clicking, a defense getting involved up front but keeping up with their defensive responsibilities, 2 for 2 on the power play (!), not too many penalties taken, a strong showing from Maddy McArthur, the top players shining in a big moment... just an A effort all around.
The win didn’t just advance BC to the Hockey East finals (and end BU’s season). Boston College also clinched a spot in the NCAA tournament, and is now playing for seeding and a shot at home ice in the quarterfinals. We’ll dive into the possibilities later tonight, but the primary focus for the Eagles right now is winning a major trophy.
The Hockey East Championship is at 1:30pm EDT (that’s daylight time, change those clocks) on Sunday afternoon on NESNplus. Boston College will take on #3 Northeastern for the title at Schneider Arena in Providence, with the winner taking home the hardware.