27 up, 27 down. That's the story so far for the Boston College women's hockey team as they roll through through the 2015-2016 season.
At this point, all these games are starting to blend together. Another weak opponent, another lopsided shot count, and while Tuesday afternoon's game wasn't the blowout we would have expected, it was yet another easy win for BC. This time it was a 4-1 victory over Merrimack, completing the season sweep of the Warriors and bringing their record to 27-0-0.
Boston College Goal #1: 5:27 of the 1st period
Haley Skarupa (Makenna Newkirk, Kaliya Johnson)
BC 1, MC 0
Things started out according to plan, with BC jumping ahead early and often. Haley Skarupa scored the first goal for BC on a snipe from the faceoff circle to put BC out front.
Incredibly, it was her only point of the night on an evening where she was probably the best player on the ice, controlling the game and making some great moves to the center of the ice for some quality shots.
Boston College Goal #1 (PPG, GWG): 7:53 of the 1st period
Kenzie Kent (Alex Carpenter, Megan Keller)
BC 2, MC 0
The Eagles kept on the pressure. As you can see in the GIF, Merrimack collapsed in the slot like crazy and blocked a ton of BC chances throughout the game. That collapsing allowed BC to get in good position to shoot, like Keller up top on this goal, who skated almost to the top of the clot before firing off the wrist shot.
With all the traffic out front, it's just a flip of the coin for who gets possession and what happens to the puck. Somehow the puck pinballs around and through Merrimack goalie Samantha Ridgewell for the goal, and it's 2-0.
Boston College Goal #3: 15:41 of the 1st period
Makenna Newkirk (Dana Trivigno, Andie Anastos)
BC 3, MC 0
These games against low level competition are really tough to get much out of, but BC spent most of the game focusing on getting the puck into high percentage areas, and while they didn't convert on as many as they liked, they can take solace in the fact that most of their chances were quality ones.
Trivigno is fed the puck right out front but Merrimack does a good job defending her. Unfortunately, for the Warriors, Makenna Newkirk is right there in a shooting position to roof BC's third goal of the night, and Newkirk's 15th of the season.
Newkirk, by the way, is starting to pull ahead of the rest of the freshmen nationally in goal scoring. Her 15 is tops in the country, with Loren Gabel of Clarkson 2nd with 12 and a slew of others trailing with 11. Newkirk figures to be a contender for national rookie of the year, particularly with all her production coming from the 2nd line, away from the assistance of Skarupa and Carpenter.
Merrimack Goal #1 (PPG): 1:25 of the 2nd period
Felila Manu (Jessica Bonfe)
BC 3, MC 1
Unfortunately for the Eagles, things really slowed down from there. The chances kept coming, but the goals didn't. Part of that was Merrimack getting bodies out front, and part of that was Ridgewell playing yet another incredible game in goal for the Warriors.
A penalty at the end of the 1st period handed Merrimack with a power play to open up the 2nd period, and they were able to score the program's first ever goal against the Eagles. The goal came as a result of an unfortunate deflection off a BC stick...but they all look the same on the scoresheet.
Boston College Goal #4: 9:36 of the 3rd period
Kristyn Capizzano (Meghan Grieves, Megan Keller)
BC 4, MC 1 -- FINAL
The BC attack was too much for Merrimack to keep off the board for the rest of the game. Grieves goes right to the net for the backhand which is steered away by Ridgewell, but Capizzano is on the doorstep for the rebound.
The Eagles outshot Merrimack a whopping 56-15, in line with their first two games against the Warriors, but 4-1 was all they could walk away with. But their style of play—going to the net and getting the puck into the slot—will translate well against better opponents, and they have plenty of them coming up.
BC will have the weekend off before heading down to Walter Brown Arena next Tuesday for the first round of the Beanpot against Harvard. After the "sandwich game" against UConn, the Eagles have two straight against the other better teams in Hockey East, with BU/NU in the Beanpot 2nd round and Northeastern the following weekend.
For now, BC will rest up for the stretch run. It was last season's Beanpot final that saw the Eagles take their first loss of the season, so they know better than anyone that a casual effort won't be enough to carry them the rest of the way.