In their one and only tune-up for the 2013-2014 campaign, the #2 ranked Boston College women's hockey team took a physical win Saturday against the University of Western Ontario, 2-0, at BU's Walter Brown Arena.
Coach Katie King Crowley used the exhibition as an opportunity to get significant ice time for the freshmen, particularly early, and particularly on defense, getting a good look at Lauren Wedell and Julie Fish. Wedell and Fish will have the tough task of replacing top blueliners Blake Bolden and Dru Burns, who graduated last year.
"It was a great test for us today. We were able to get our new players an opportunity to jump right into the action," said Head Coach Katie King Crowley after the game. "We were also able to find out what we need to work on as a team moving forward."
Freshman Haley McLean, expected to be an immediate impact player for the Eagles, scored the game's first goal just 17 seconds into the contest. Sophomore phenom Haley Skarupa capped the game with an empty netter with 8 seconds remaining. In between, a lot of scoreless hockey.
Obviously with the game being an exhibition there isn't too much you can gather from a results standpoint, but the Eagles did solidly control gameplay, particularly in the last two periods. The shot totals after one were even at 9-9, but BC took total control in the 2nd and 3rd periods, outshooting the Mustangs 31-8 to close the game out.
Despite the close final score -- and the Eagles' second goal came only with the UWO goaltender pulled late in the game -- UWO never really threatened. Several missed chances for BC could have put the game much more out of reach. "The biggest takeaway from this game is how important it is to capitalize on our offensive opportunities," Crowley noted.
The Mustangs out of Western Ontario complete a brief American tour today against Colgate after playing three top NCAA squads in Mercyhurst (6-2 loss), Boston University (3-2 OT loss) and Boston College (2-0 loss).
BC will now have the week to prepare for Hockey East bottom dweller Maine, who comes to Conte Forum on Sunday 10/6 at 5pm off an abysmal 5-24-4 season, featuring a particularly embarrassing 10-0 loss to the Eagles at Conte. The much calmer start to the season is a welcome change after being thrown into the fire last year against BU without any exhibition warm-up.
We'll have a some preview posts later in the week as your primer for the season. This year's BC Women's Hockey program is expected to be the best chance the school has ever had to #GetThatStar and bring a non-men's hockey national title to the Heights.
Special thanks to Austin Blank and William Whyte who were at the game and provided eyewitness insight for this post.