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Short-Staffed BC Women’s Hockey Guts Out 5-3 Win At UConn

Several players out due to COVID protocol

John Quackenbos, BC Athletics

It’s been a pretty up and down year so far in the young season for Boston College Women’s Hockey, with a good 2-0 start against New Hampshire followed up by a frustrating sweep at the hands of Providence in week two. There was still some optimism to be had going into this week’s home-and-home against UConn, though, given that the Eagles had played well in all four games this season.

Then — bam:

A whopping seven players were all ruled out this weekend for Boston College due to COVID protocol (mostly due to contact tracing rules), putting the previously-fully-stocked roster back into short-bench status.

Fortunately, though, it was next-woman-up at its finest for the Eagles, and while the game was by and large pretty ugly, BC came away with a 5-3 win over UConn in their House of Horrors down in Storrs.

The Eagles got things going early with a couple quick goals, first from Kelly Browne shorthanded, and then followed up at even strength by Hannah Bilka — BC’s two star scorers that you’d hope to see pick up the slack with so many players unavailable. But despite the quick lead, it was UConn who took control in the first period, whipping up a 13-5 shot advantage in the period and getting one goal back shortly after Bilka’s tally.

That strong play from the Huskies continued into the second period, with UConn scoring immediately off the draw just 12 seconds into the frame to bring the score even at 2-2. With the Huskies seemingly in control of the game flow, you might have expected BC to start to cave in — but as they’ve shown a few times this year, the Eagles dug deep and started to find their game. A goal from freshman Natalie Tulchinsky — her first of the season — gave BC the lead again midway through the second, and the Eagles took the 3-2 advanage into the final intermission.

Boston College locked things down quickly in the third period. Tulchinsky and Browne each scored their second of the game less than two minutes apart early in the third to give the Eagles a commanding lead, and save for a UConn goal in garbage time with 6 seconds to play, that was plenty for BC to take the win. 5-3 was the final, and really you would have taken any score given the circumstances.

It’ll be the same story on Saturday, as the Eagles will try and gut out the win against UConn at Conte Forum without seven of their players. The game will be shown live on NESNplus at 2pm.