Boston College Women’s Hockey will not have a perfect season this year — but then again, that was never the expectation.
The Eagles took three separate leads against Minnesota-Duluth, but the Bulldogs responded each time, including late in the third period, to earn a 3-3 draw against the 3rd-ranked Eagles.
Boston College Goal #1: 0:17 of the 1st period
Haley McLean (Andie Anastos, Kenzie Kent)
BC 1, UMD 0
Things sure got off to a quick start for BC. Senior Haley McLean, previously buried behind three lines of world class talent, was promoted to the first line and given the opportunity to become this season’s breakout player.
McLean enters the offensive zone with a wide berth right off the opening faceoff and takes the opportunity to put the puck on net. It deflects wide, but Anastos deposits the puck into the crease and McLean crashes the net to score the season’s opening goal — all before you could even pick up a program and get to your seat.
Minnesota-Duluth Goal #1: 15:45 of the 1st period
Ashleigh Brykaliuk (Kateřina Mrázová)
BC 1, UMD 1
Duluth responded before the end of the period with a set play off the draw that was so quick the cameras weren’t even showing gameplay when it happened. Mrázová won the faceoff cleanly back to Brykaliuk who just unloaded on the puck, and Burt doesn’t even have a chance to flinch at the shot.
It was a cannon shot for Brykaliuk. And we haven’t seen the last of her.
Boston College Goal #2 (PPG): 17:51 of the 1st period
Caitrin Lonergan (Kali Flanagan, Tori Sullivan)
BC 2, UMD 1
BC’s new big name freshman made herself known and got her first college goal out of the way early. Lonergan was a big, strong presence during her shifts.
The Eagles battled for the puck along the boards and it was Lonergan that came away with it. She had a couple passing options, but saw a shooting land and took it. She was rewarded for it, and the Eagles were back on top.
Minnesota-Duluth Goal #2: 13:12 of the 2nd period
Ashleigh Brykaliuk (Kateřina Mrázová, Sidney Morin)
BC 2, UMD 2
What happened just before this GIF was probably more interesting than the actual goal that was scored. Duluth came in on a near breakaway chasing a puck that trickled into the BC end, and Katie Burt vacated her net to try and get there first. She did, but a BC player went spilling over her into the corner.
Burt got back to her net just in time to see Mrázová and Brykaliuk team up once again on a one-timer goal to tie the game back up going into the 3rd period.
It was a really disappointing goal to give up. After a fairly even first period, the Eagles came out firing in the second, racking up a 10-1 shot advantage in the frame at one point until UMD gathered things together for the equalizer.
Boston College Goal #3 (PPG): 3:04 of the 3rd period
Andie Anastos (Toni Ann Miano, Megan Keller)
BC 3, UMD 2
Oh the emphatic go-ahead goal for the Eagles!
This is just the way you draw up a tic-tac-toe powerplay goal. The Eagles have the play set up at the blue line and Duluth is stretched out around the perimeter. Anastos recognizes the space that’s being given to her in the middle of the Duluth end, and goes to take it.
It takes the Bulldogs a second too long to recognize that she’s coasted right into the slot, and Miano sends her the puck. Anastos gets her stick in enough to get good wood on it, and she let’s loose a blast for the 3rd BC goal.
For a while it looked like BC’s 2 power play goals and 4 for 4 penalty kill would be what won the day for the Eagles, but that 5th penalty kill did them in.
Minnesota Duluth Goal #3 (PPG, HT): 14:29 of the 3rd period
Ashleigh Brykaliuk (Lara Stalder, Katherine McGovern)
BC 3, UMD 3 -- FINAL
And it’s Brykaliuk again, for the hat trick, this time with a snipe from in close on the power play. Brykaliuk was the best player on the ice for either team, single handedly earning Duluth the draw against #3 BC.
The Eagles did have chances in overtime — including one stopped by UMD goaltender Maddie Rooney on an incredible glove save — but couldn’t find the game winner.
The most important piece of reconnaissance gathered from this game is that BC is very deep, but seems to lack a clear top line to match up with a team that might be a little more top heavy. Stalder-Mrázová-Brykaliuk is an elite line that is as good as any in women’s college hockey, and the Eagles did not have an answer for it.
While BC did control large stretches of the game, they were repeatedly burned by Duluth’s set of elite, experienced top line playmakers. It will be very interesting to see if Coach Crowley shuffles the lines for game two this afternoon or next week against Maine to put together a similar first line. Most teams don’t have as high end a group as Duluth does, but if the Eagles plan on making noise late in the season, they’ll need to find a solution.