The frustrations of BC’s losing streak aren’t entirely in the rear view mirror just yet, but things are definitely moving in the right direction for Coach Crowley’s squad. Despite falling behind early, Boston College Women’s Hockey took control of Tuesday afternoon’s matchup against Providence, earning three crucial league points in a 4-2 victory and giving the team a little bit of momentum with some important games on tap.
The Friars got the scoring started in the first few minutes. PC’s Hayley Lunny scored just 3 minutes and change into the contest, but the Eagles weren’t about to go quietly into the night. With as full a bench as they’ve had all season (four full lines of forwards and seven defenders dressed for the game), Boston College looked as though they had a little bit more jump in their step. While the Eagles didn’t even the score until the second period, you could tell it was coming.
BOSTON COLLEGE GOAL #1 (PPG): 7:13 of the 2nd period
Gaby Roy (Abby Newhook, Abbey Levy)
BC 1, PC 1
GOALIE ASSIST! After Abbey Levy left the puck behind the net for Abby Newhook on the power play, the freshman forward did most the work, streaking the length of the ice and getting a quality shot on net. Providence’s Sandra Abstreiter surrendered the rebound right on the doorstep where Gaby Roy was there to put it back where it came from, tying the score at 1 apiece.
The second period was a good one, with BC controlling play for the bulk of the frame. Shots were 14-4 in the middle period, and a tied contest was at least what BC deserved going into the third. That momentum would pay off in a hurry.
BOSTON COLLEGE GOAL #2: 0:42 of the 3rd period
Abby Newhook (Hannah Bilka, Sidney Fess)
BC 2, PC 1
It was a couple of BC’s top scorers combining for this one, and while Abstreiter would probably want the goal back, you can still tell that it was BC who wanted it more on the play. Bilka turned on the jets across the blue line to draw in the PC defenders, leaving some space behind for the sharp drop pass back to Newhook. Newhook’s shot was through the five hole, catching Abstreiter off guard and putting the Eagles ahead for the first time.
Providence would answer with a power play goal halfway through the period to tie the game back up, but the Eagles actually brought some decent firepower to this one and it didn’t take long for them to pull back ahead.
BOSTON COLLEGE GOAL #3 (PPG, GWG): 13:13 of the 3rd period
Hannah Bilka (Alexie Guay, Kelly Browne)
BC 3, PC 2
This was a good power play goal for BC. Alexie Guay got possession in a really nice spot to shoot — the top of the crease — and fired it into the mixer with two players in white crashing the net. One of those players was Hannah Bilka, who really brought the fight on this play and chipped away at the puck until beating Abstreiter for the go-ahead goal.
It was still a close game to this point, but BC didn’t leave much opportunity for this one to get stressful as they got some insurance shortly after.
BOSTON COLLEGE GOAL #4: 15:03 of the 3rd period
Kelly Browne (Hannah Bilka, Abby Newhook)
BC 4, PC 2 — FINAL
More of the same from BC’s top line — speed, hard skating, aggressive on the rebounds. Hannah Bilka, lethal all game for the Eagles, drove the net and took the initial shot. This time it was Kelly Browne there to bury the rebound with an unstoppable roof shot from close range. Providence didn’t put up much of a threat from there, and the Eagles finished off the victory.
This was one of those games where you can sort of see the blueprint for how BC can pull off an upset or two as we get towards the end of the season. The elite superline-style grouping of Newhook, Browne, and Bilka is truly as good any in Hockey East. The trick is for the defenders to be able to keep the puck out of their own end and let the big three do something with it.
With BC’s deep bench on Tuesday (and over the weekend, though against weaker competition), you can start to see that pay dividends. The Eagles outshot Providence 33-32, which doesn’t sound like much but is a huge turnaround from how things had been going all season. It’s the first time since the beginning of December that BC outshot someone other than Holy Cross.
Combine an elite line that’s actually able to keep the puck on their stick, get a great goaltending performance, and take advantage of you special teams opportunities, and BC can certainly pull out a big win when they need to. We’d like to see a few more results like this before staking a claim to any hardware just yet, but it’s definitely a start.
Next up for BC is UConn on Friday afternoon in Storrs, followed by a makeup game against Boston University at Walter Brown on Saturday. The Eagles are battling both teams for league positioning, so this is a pretty big weekend coming up before the puck drops on the Beanpot next Tuesday.