The big story coming into the 2020-2021 Boston College Women’s Hockey season? A totally revamped roster. With 10 brand new faces of the 25 players on the line chart, it felt like surely, surely the Eagles would have a rebound season after last year’s frustrating near-.500 campaign.
Well, game one certainly didn’t disappoint. The Eagles controlled the season opener against New Hampshire from start to finish thanks to one of those new faces, with freshman Gaby Roy netting a quad trick of all things to lead the Eagles to a 6-2 win over the Wildcats at the Whittemore Center.
Boston College Goal #1 (PPG): 13:24 of the 2nd period
Gaby Roy (Kelly Browne)
BC 1, UNH 0
Boston College came out sharp and came out firing. All the extra practice time to start the season was definitely put to good use by Coach Crowley and Coach Kennedy, because the Eagles really looked prepared for the start of the year.
The Eagles didn’t score in the first period, but it wasn’t for lack of opportunities. BC outshot UNH 11-2 in the opening frame, and it sure felt like more than that. Finally, as the clock ticked past the halfway point of the game, the Eagles finally broke through with their first goal of the year.
Gaby Roy got things started, and with authority. The freshman skated into the offensive zone and turned laterally to allow for reinforcements, but the UNH defenders kept giving her space — and she took it. Eventually the Wildcats let her skate all the way into the slot, and she fired off a snipe that went double-iron on the way into the net to make it 1-0 BC.
New Hampshire Goal #1: 15:38 of the 2nd period
Brianna Brooks (Nicole Kelly, Kyla Bent)
BC 1, UNH 1
Unfortunately for BC, the Wildcats found a nice goal of their own a couple minutes later. Two white jerseys got behind the BC defense for a 2 on 1, and a nice finish by Brianna Brooks brought New Hampshire level.
Boston College Goal #2: 16:34 of the 2nd period
Willow Corson (Caroline Goffredo, Cayla Barnes)
BC 2, UNH 1
But the Eagles kept things under control and were able to respond less than a minute later to retake the lead. It all started with a really nice breakout from their own end — a common theme in this game and a likely result of improvement in the D corps — which allowed BC to skate into the UNH end with some speed.
The organized entry across the blue line allowed Cayla Barnes to feed freshman Caroline Goffredo who found some open space in front of the net to skate to, and it wouldn’t have been surprising to see her score from there. UNH goaltender Ava Boutilier made the save, but the rebound popped right onto the stick of senior Willow Corson crashing the net, and she sent it back where it came from for the 2-1 lead.
Boston College Goal #3 (GWG): 17:45 of the 2nd period
Gaby Roy (Hadley Hartmetz, Savannah Norcross)
BC 3, UNH 1
The Eagles kept at it and found yet another goal just a minute and change later, and this was just BC staying on the attack. Norcross did a nice job keeping the puck moving to hold possession before sending it back to Hartmetz at the blue line. Hartmetz, who had a great game all around, fired the puck into traffic, but the puck deflected behind the net.
Gaby Roy was there to gather the puck in, and she kept the pressure on by sending the puck back into the mixer — never a bad idea, and she was rewarded with a goal after the puck deflected in off a UNH skate and into the net for the 3-1 lead going into the final intermission.
New Hampshire Goal #2: 9:40 of the 3rd period
Jada Christian (Lauren Martin, Talli Warren)
BC 3, UNH 2
New Hampshire didn’t quite go away without a fight, though, and got a goal on another odd-player-rush midway through the third to pull back within one.
UNH’s Talli Warren sent the puck up ice to a waiting Lauren Martin who was sitting on the blue line. The BC defender had her covered — but the Eagles didn’t account for a Wildcat coming in behind the play. Martin dished on over to Jada Christian who made the shot to just straight up beat Maddie McArthur to make it 3-2.
Boston College Goal #4 (HT): 10:19 of the 3rd period
Gaby Roy (Kelly Browne, Savannah Norcross)
BC 4, UNH 2
But once again, the Eagles responded to a UNH goal with a back-breaker just seconds later — this time with the goal of the game. This was just a peach of a play for any time of year, but you won’t find too many goals scored with this kind of sharpness in game number one.
Kelly Browne got the play started coming across the blue line, again with some good pace forcing the Wildcats into a retreat on the 3 on 2, and sent a nutmeg backhander through the legs of her defender over to Savannah Norcross. Norcross didn’t even once look over to the trailer going to the net and went no-look backhand 360 right to the tape of Gaby Roy. Roy had to be wondering with chemistry like this if college hockey could really be this easy, and barely even had to move to shoot the puck past Boutilier for the hat trick in her first career game.
Boston College Goal #5 (ENG): 17:15 of the 3rd period
Jillian Fey (Olivia O’Brien, Hadley Hartmetz)
BC 5, UNH 2
From there, UNH pulled the goalie early and allowed not one...
Boston College Goal #6 (ENG, QT): 18:53 of the 3rd period
Gaby Roy (Savannah Norcross, Alexie Guay)
BC 6, UNH 2 — FINAL
...but two empty net goals, including one for Gaby Roy who almost apologetically put the puck into the net for her fourth goal of the game. That completed the quad trick, making Roy the first women’s hockey player to score four goals in her first appearance since at least 2011 — and probably way longer than that, as the advanced stats only go back so far.
That made it 6-2 for the final, and while the two empty netters inflated the score line a bit, it would be hard to say that it wasn’t indicative of how much the Eagles controlled the game. It definitely wasn’t perfect — you really want to see BC clean up the odd-player rushes on defense — but it’s hard to complain with an effort like that, especially in a rink that has given the program fits over the years.
- I mistakenly omitted Deirdre Mullowney and Willow Corson in my list of “Key Returns” in the season preview earlier this week. Big fail. All Mullowney did was keep things clean on the back end as a stay at home defender like she did all last season. She’s also got a nice heavy shot from up top. And Corson, of course, scored a goal. Always trust someone writing about sports to be a .
- A stand out blueliner on the night was Hadley Hartmetz who had more than a few shifts of quality stick work. One sequence in particular sticks out where the Wildcats were already starting to lose their legs and Hartmetz made strong plays not once, but twice to keep the sequence going and eventually allowed the Eagles to get in a full change. USA Hockey has had their eye on Hartmetz, and you can see why.
- Last year, Jillian Fey started out on D but ended the year skating as a forward. While the roster still shows her as a D, she was fourth line center today and seems likely to be skating up at forward for the rest of the year. She was rewarded for her Utility Player status by tallying BC’s first empty netter today. She should add some nice depth to the BC forward group.
Game 2 is less than 24 hours away as the Eagles and Wildcats will take the bus ride down I-95 to wrap up the home-and-home series at Conte Forum. Saturday’s matchup is at 4:30pm and like today’s game will also be shown on NESN.