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BC Women’s Hockey Topples #2 Northeastern 2-1 To Close First Half

The Eagles pull off the upset!

John Quackenbos, BC Athletics

Boston College Women’s Hockey came into their final series of the first “half” of the season playing with a good bit of confidence. Their only two losses of the year, a sweep at the hands of Providence, were put well behind them with a gutsy sweep of their own over UConn while missing seven players due to COVID protocol.

But this weekend’s home-and-home with Northeastern posed a far bigger challenge. BC did get some of their players back, but not all, and had to face off against Northeastern — a true juggernaut ranked #2 in the USCHO poll and #1 in the SB Nation poll — without a full roster. While Friday’s game didn’t go as planned, the Eagles turned around and took a huge (and well-deserved) road upset over the Huskies with a 2-1 win at Matthews Arena to head into the break.

Boston College Goal #1 (PPG): 17:17 of the 1st period
Hannah Bilka (Unassisted)

BC 1, NU 0

Much as they have in most of their games this season, the Eagles came out of the gate hot, and like Friday, they were the team to come away with the first goal.

Northeastern’s Aerin Frankel has stonewalled BC through her career, and it took a little bit of help from her Husky teammates for the Eagles to score this goal. Hannah Bilka turned to line up a cross-ice pass, but the puck deflected off an NU skate and past Frankel for the goal. Sure, it was good luck for BC, but the Eagles deserved a lead through the first period.

BC continued to play strong in the second and actually turned the heat up a notch. The Eagles led in shots in both the first two periods, and it was only through Frankel’s usual magic that Coach Crowley’s squad was only up 1-0 going into the final 20 minutes.

Northeastern Goal #1: 9:25 of the 3rd period
Katy Knoll (Peyton Anderson, Skylar Fontaine)

BC 1, NU 1

But like Friday, Northeastern started to find their footing in the third period and put several high-quality chances on BC goalie Abbey Levy, who made several great stops to hold onto the lead. But the Huskies finally broke through to tie the game halfway through the frame.

Levy was the better goalie in this one, and aside from her great glove, she also did very well controlling rebounds. It was only when the puck bounced around in the slot after not making its way to the crease that the Huskies were finally able to beat her on a blast from point blank. With Knoll’s shot finding its way through, that made it 1-1 — but the Eagles had an answer.

Boston College Goal #2 (GWG): 11:52 of the 3rd period
Jillian Fey (Unassisted)

BC 2, NU 1 — FINAL

It took the better part of three-plus years, but Aerin Frankel finally made a mistake, and it cost the Huskies the game. Frankel went behind the net to play the puck but was pickpocketed by Jillian Fey, a converted forward making an impact in her new role. Fey kept her composure on the wraparound (anyone who’s ever tried it knows it’s harder than it looks) and slipped the puck in to give BC the lead just two minutes and change after they lost it.

Maybe the most puzzling part of the play was what Northeastern’s #6 was doing to just watch Fey score the goal uncontested — but nothing she can do about it now.

BC did nice work to keep Northeastern from getting too many Grade A chances from there, although there was about a minute of gut-check time after a Boston College penalty gave NU a 6 on 4 with Frankel pulled for the extra attacker. But the Eagles kept the puck to the perimeter for the most part, and the buzzer finally sounded on a 2-1 win for the Eagles, one of their biggest victories in years.

BC’s goals may not have been super pretty, but based on game flow and chances, 2-1 Eagles is just about where you’d have expected the score to end up. The Eagles were the better team through the first two periods, and while Northeastern did flip the ice in the third, BC did enough to hold off the Huskies and found a way to win after giving up the lead late. It was a massive win and it allows the Eagles to go into the break with some real confidence for when they return after the holidays.

BC gets the next four weeks off before their return on January 8th for a home-and-home with Merrimack. But they’ll now get to see their families for a well-deserved break as they rest up for the stretch run in 2021.