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BC Women’s Hockey Starts Strong, Holds On For 4-2 Win in Game 1 of Hockey East Quarterfinals Over UConn

Maddy McArthur returns between the pipes to star for the Eagles

Boston College Women’s Hockey didn’t have the prettiest win on Friday evening, but all in all, it wasn’t that bad of a night. The Eagles pulled out to a sizable lead early and leaned on their #1 goaltender, back between the pipes for the first time in three weeks, to get the 4-2 win over UConn in the first game of a best of three series in the Hockey East quarterfinals.

Boston College Goal #1: 2:40 of the 1st period
Hannah Bilka (Cayla Barnes, Kate Annese)

BC 1, UC 0

The Eagles jumped ahead early with a goal just two minutes and change into the opening period thanks to a shot from freshman Hannah Bilka. Kate Annese started the breakout for the Eagles with a pass up the ice to Cayla Barnes along the boards. Barnes fed across to Bilka, who kept the shot low and managed to sneak the shot past UConn goaltender Morgan Fisher.

Fisher probably wants that back, but Bilka put just enough on it to get through to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead — and probably some confidence.

Boston College Goal #2: 19:22 of the 1st period
Cayla Barnes (Maegan Beres, Delaney Belinskas)

BC 2, UC 0

Cayla Barnes bookended the first period with a goal of her own to make a 2-0, which was easily the most important tally of the night.

It was also the prettiest. Barnes took the feed from Beres across the blue line and it was really just her and the D going into the offensive zone. Barnes made a quick move around the first defender, which at least put her in a position to get a good shot off, she got off a good shot indeed. Barnes was able to rifle a puck through the legs of the defender between her and the goaltender to go bar-down and make it 2-0 Eagles into the break.

It was so pretty, Barnes herself gave it a little kiss.

It was a crucial goal, because while the Eagles were up 2-0, they weren’t playing that well, and 1-0 wouldn’t have felt good at all going into the 2nd.

Boston College Goal #3 (GWG): 0:51 of the 2nd period
Jillian Fey (Delaney Belinskas, Hadley Hartmetz)

BC 3, UC 0

The Eagles rode the momentum of the late goal from Barnes to a third goal right at the beginning of the 2nd period, which really put the Huskies in a bind. Jillian Fey scored her second of the season on a goal similar to Bilka’s, taking the puck in deep and shooting hard and low at the five hole. Fisher was again taken by surprise by the low shot, and it beat her to put the Eagles up 3-0.

It’s a good thing BC was able to build that big lead, because UConn responded really well from there. The Huskies outshot the Eagles a whopping 20-6 in the middle period, but BC’s Maddy McArthur played some of her best hockey of the season to keep the Huskies off the scoreboard.

The Eagles put things back together in the third period, and as the clock wound down and McArthur kept picking up the saves when needed, it felt like BC would stroll to the buzzer for an easy win. But UConn made it more than interesting.

UConn Goal #1 (EAG): 17:13 of the 3rd period
Jessie Aney (Tristyn Svetek, Viki Harkness)

BC 3, UC 1

The Huskies got a well-earned goal on a shot from the top of the faceoff circle with a few minutes left to play and the goalie pulled. It was deflected nicely on the way in by Aney, and McArthur had no chance.

Still, with just a few minutes to go and BC up two, the Eagles looked good to close this one out...

UConn Goal #2 (EAG): 18:35 of the 3rd period
Natalie Snodgrass (Morgan Wabick, Taylor Wabick)

BC 3, UC 2

...until all of a sudden, the Huskies found a second goal just a minute or so later on a fluky play that saw the puck chip up and over the shoulder of McArthur and trickle into the net. It was briefly reviewed, but the play would stand, and suddenly out of nowhere it was time to stress out.

Boston College Goal #4 (ENG): 19:25 of the 3rd period
Delaney Belinskas (Unassisted)

BC 4, UC 2 — FINAL

But the Eagles kept things under control, and Delaney Belinskas came through with the long-range empty netter right into the middle of the net to seal the win.

4-2 was probably more indicative of how well UConn played than 3-0 was, so it’s fine. It would have been nice for BC to be able to finish off the shutout for McArthur, who really deserved it after stopping the first 41 or so shots that she faced in this one, but BC will take the win and move on to tomorrow.

The Eagles now need to win just one of the next two games to advance to the Hockey East semifinals, and they seem to have found a little bit of a spark. McArthur was brilliant in net, and the offense found a few nice shots. Game two will be at 2pm on Saturday, and a win would let the Eagles relax for the rest of the weekend to see how the rest of the league quarterfinals shake out.