Friday afternoons win over UConn was pretty chill. Saturday afternoon’s game two against the Huskies had exactly zero chill.
This game was just about as wild as it gets from start to finish. Boston College scored to open the game, but crazy momentum swings saw the Huskies take a lead, the Eagles take it back, and then the Huskies tying the game with the goalie pulled before the Eagles found a winner in overtime. When all was said and done, it was a thrilling 5-4 (OT) win for Boston College... but there was so much that happened.
Boston College Goal #1: 3:04 of the 1st period
Lindsay Agnew (Makenna Newkirk, Daryl Watts)
BC 1, UC 0
This game started out so normal, you would never have guessed it would go so berzerk after the first half of the opening period!
BC started the scoring off with a really pretty goal from Newkirk and Agnew. Newkirk entered the offensive zone with Agnew streaking in behind the defense, and the pass from Newkirk allowed Agnew to cut across the goal mouth. The forehand to backhand move easily beats UConn’s Morgan Fisher, and it’s a nice, innocent 1-0 BC lead.
From there EVERYTHING WENT COMPLETELY TO HELL.
Let’s rewind a bit to the end of game one. BC’s Delaney Belinskas and a few UConn players had to be separated after the final whistle on Friday afternoon, so there was clearly some bad blood already built up.
Fast forward to Saturday’s first period — Belinskas was body checked pretty good into the boards for an obvious penalty, which the referees called. Great! Not great was after the call, Belinskas got up and slapped her stick on the ice a few times in the general direction of the player skating toward the penalty box, drawing a bizarre unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
That negated BC’s upcoming power play, and instead the Huskies scored on the four on four to tie the game up at 1-1 as the teams went into the locker rooms for the first intermission. The UConn fans at the game were fired up, the UConn players were fired up... there was a definite buzz coming from the visitors’ end of the rink.
The second period was an unmitigated disaster for the Eagles. I can’t recall watching a 19 minutes that were more of a mess than the second period was on Saturday.
- BC was clearly frazzled by the whole turn of events starting with Delaney’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and passes and just general game play were all over the place.
- UConn scored twice to take a very strong 3-1 lead before the period was even half over, thanks in part to the fact that...
- ...Cayla Barnes got called for one of the most ridiculous penalty calls I’ve ever seen, getting sent to the box for two minutes because a UConn player skated into Cayla’s back. That allowed UConn to score their third goal on the power play.
- Boston College appeared to score one a few minutes later on a scrum in the crease, where the puck was sitting just inches from the goal line with bodies crashing the net. Erin Connolly, God bless her, just took the puck with her hand and physically threw it into the net. The team had a halfhearted celebration, but the review made it an easy no-goal call for the referees. You have to admire that she tried it, anyway.
- The Eagles got tagged for another unsportsmanlike conduct penalty later in the period, this time from Erin Connolly for snowing the goalie. Connolly had just been called for this a couple games back, and as soon as she pulled up and let the snow fly, her hands were on her head in frustration — she knew it. Sure enough, she turned around and the referee had the arm up.
- As if all of those things weren’t bad enough, reigning Patty Kazmaier Award winner Daryl Watts left the game midway through the period with an apparent injury and did not return.
And that was all in the second period! And that wasn’t even the last of the craziness!
Boston College Goal #2: 19:59.8 of the 2nd period
Erin Connolly (
Maegan Beres Delaney Belinskas, Serena Sommerfield)
UC 3, BC 2
HOLY MOTHER OF GOD this was a massive goal that changed the entire trajectory of the game. Let me count the ways.
First off, as was previously mentioned, the second period basically consisted of BC Murphy’s Law-ing all over the ice for 20 minutes. Getting the goal before the end of the period to make it a one goal game going into the third was obviously huge, but it was just the start.
The goal itself sharpened the team’s focus. The third period was a BC Blitzkrieg the likes of which we haven’t seen in many games this season, and it was definitely sparked by this goal. The team went into the locker room looking more fired up than they’d been in a long time, and even Coach Crowley yelled up to the crowd “WE’RE COMING BACK.” as she went down the tunnel for the break.
And finally, while officially the box score has it as Meagan Beres on the primary assist, the replay makes very clear that it’s Delaney’s point. Talk about redemption — the two players tagged for crucial unsportsmanlike conduct penalties (warranted or not) redeemed themselves in a big, big way, tag-teaming for the goal on the assist and goal just before time expired on the period.
This goal just changed everything.
Boston College Goal #3: 3:52 of the 3rd period
Erin Connolly (unassisted)
BC 3, UC 3
Now BC’s really feeling it to open the third period, and it doesn’t take long for Erin Connolly to once again play the hero and score to tie the game up at 3 early on.
Connolly skates in and just rifles a wicked wrister ticketed for the corner cleanly past Fisher, and all of a sudden UConn’s got to feel like they’re staring into the abyss. It had only been a few minutes of game time ago that they were up two and the Eagles were just trying to figure out how to hockey again.
BC’s third period comeback didn’t take long to complete, either.
Boston College Goal #4: 7:55 of the 3rd period
Makenna Newkirk (Lindsay Agnew, Caitrin Lonergan)
BC 4, UC 3
Just a couple of quick passes and a big bounce off the boards is all it takes for BC to retake the lead. Makenna Newkirk is the one on the doorstep to grab the puck off the active boards, and she is able to slip the puck past Fisher
And just look at the reaction from the players on the ice. Caitrin Lonergan goes flying up to the blue line to celebrate with Agnew, who was leaving the ice for a change when the puck went in, and Lonergan is so hyped you’d think she was the one who scored the goal.
It looked like this would be the goal that would put BC ahead for what looked like the final time, because UConn was dead to rights in the third period. The Huskies took their first shot of the period a minute or two into the frame, and didn’t get a single additional shot until about four or five minutes or so left in the period. In between, it was a BC firing squad, as the Eagles were just flying trying to extend the lead. They even did a tremendous job defensively, with just about everyone — though Caitrin Lonergan sticks out in particular — really making a defensive effort to keep the game under control while the Eagles were also pressing for the goal.
But of course, nothing comes easy, and UConn managed to get one more shot in the period... which ended up finding the back of the net with the goalie pulled with under two minutes left to play in regulation.
The response from BC was going to be critical here. After the Huskies found a goal to tie the game late in the first, the Eagles had one of their worst periods of the season. But fortunately, the Eagles were able to maintain just about all the momentum. BC continued with the pressure — and weathered a UConn power play — before finally putting the series to bed.
Boston College Goal #5 (GWG): 8:51 of Overtime
Ryan Little (Kelly Browne, Caitrin Lonergan)
BC 5, UC 4 — FINAL (OT)
It was a goal the Eagles deserved. All night, some of BC’s best pressure came from the net front presence creating havoc for Morgan Fisher, and this time it was a stick, not a hand, that got onto the puck in a scrum to score the goal.
It was a crazy, roller-coaster ride of a win, and one of the most thrilling end-to-end games in recent memory.
The win sends the Eagles to their 9th consecutive Hockey East semifinal, where they’ll take on Boston University in what is easily their biggest game of the season to this point — we’ll go into the details later this week, but this is a game that has massive Pairwise implications. A win would lift BC as high as 4th in the Pairwise and into a home ice position, and a loss could drop them out of the tournament entirely.
All of the favorites won in a sweep in the Hockey East quarterfinals, so the semifinals set up as expected:
#4 Providence vs. #1 Northeastern — 1:30pm (NESN)
#3 Boston University vs. #2 Boston College — 4:30pm (NESN)
Both games, plus the final, will be played at Providence College, who is hosting the tournament.
We’ll have more on BC’s position in the Pairwise later this week after the ECAC quarterfinals wrap up tomorrow!