One weekend into the Boston College Women’s Hockey season, and the Eagles have just about done all you can ask of them. With an always-tricky drive up to North Andover for a pair of Hockey East road contests at Merrimack to start the year, you would have definitely forgiven the Eagles for dropping a point or two given the youth on the roster and the uncertainties surrounding a new season.
But it was two wins in two games for the Eagles to open the year. After a 2-0 win on Friday night, BC came away with a 3-1 win to complete the sweep on Saturday, looking well-coached and ready for their start to the season.
Merrimack Goal #1: 15:19 of the 1st period
Gabby Jones (Sam Lessick, Megan Fergusson)
MC 1, BC 0
It was probably a lot to ask for BC to get through the weekend without allowing any goals, but we’ll settle for the one, especially with the score not coming on a rush off irresponsible defense.
Still, some things to work on here. McArthur does what she can to get rid of the puck out of her crease — it never did get all the way to her — but two Warriors are the only ones nearby, and a couple hacks from them are able to slip the puck past McArthur for the goal.
Going forward, the Eagles will want to see some more maroon jerseys in the slot there to clean things up.
Boston College Goal #1 (PPG): 17:46 of the 1st period
Hadley Hartmetz (Kelly Browne, Hannah Bilka)
BC 1, MC 1
Like Friday night, it was special teams that jump started the BC offense. The tying goal here came with three Merrimack skaters in the penalty box giving BC an extended 5 on 3. The Eagles managed it well but couldn’t beat Merrimack goaltender Lea-Kristine Demers on a few good chances before finally setting up the one timer off the draw.
It’s freshman defender Hadley Hartmetz scoring her first of the season for BC here, rifling a slap shot over the shoulder of Demers for the score to make it 1-1.
Boston College Goal #2 (PPG, GWG): 15:28 of the 2nd period
Savannah Norcross (Caroline DiFiore, Cayla Barnes)
BC 2, MC 1
This was a good game for BC, but the refereeing was a total mess. There were sixteen (!) penalties in this game, with 9 in the second period alone. It was even at 9 penalties apiece, but it just makes the game so disjointed when the refs are so involved like this.
But, it did work out well for the Eagles. They converted again on one of their many power plays later in the second to take the lead thanks to some great movement in the offensive zone on the advantage. There are BC players going in all directions here, and it opens up passing lanes everywhere.
This goal is a beauty all around. Barnes feeds DiFiore down low with some space, and Norcross gives her a good target out front. The two connect just the way you drew it up, and Norcross’ one-timer goes over the shoulder of Demers for the score.
Boston College Goal #3: 0:39 of the 3rd period
Olivia Finocchiaro (Cayla Barnes)
BC 3, MC 1
Until now, all of BC’s goals on the season had come on something other than 5 on 5. But the Eagles finally broke through at even strength — at which they mostly controlled play over the weekend — right at the beginning of the third period to give themselves some breathing room.
More excellent puck movement and energy by the BC skaters. This looks a lot like the power play for BC’s second goal — good movement, good pass, good target for the shooter, and great deflection for Finocchiaro who scores her first of the season and second of her career to just about wrap things up for BC.
The Eagles had to weather two more penalties before all was said and done, but that penalty kill is starting to look like a strength early on... which makes sense, given how much practice they’ve gotten at it over the first two games. BC went 6 for 6 on the PK on both nights for a perfect 12 for 12 on the weekend. Combine that with a 3 for 10 weekend on the power play, and that’s a pretty solid look to start the season.
Aside from a couple chances on those last power plays, Merrimack never really did threaten to pull the game back into reach the rest of the game. In fact, the Eagles nearly put in an empty netter in the final seconds, but 3-1 is how the final score would remain.
It wasn’t a flashy weekend, but it’s the kind of hockey that we’re hoping to see out of BC with the deeper, less top-heavy roster: well-organized skating with good decision-making and nice puck movement. Just the way you’d draw it up.
BC’s got another pair on the road next week, a stop in Worcester against Holy Cross on Thursday before heading up to Syracuse on Saturday afternoon, and they’ll look to end next weekend with the perfect record intact.