That was... not what the Eagles had in mind for their WCHA road trip.
Friday’s 3-3 draw with the Bulldogs was frustrating because the Eagles could have — and maybe should have — won the game. But Saturday was a comprehensive 5-2 dismantling of the new look Eagles by a team BC needed to beat to show they were still in the championship discussion.
Minnesota-Duluth Goal #1: 10:18 of the 1st period
Demi Crossman (Sidney Morin, Sydney Brodt)
UMD 1, BC 0
BC looked fine early on, but even at their best moments, Duluth looked to be an equal team. While UMD is expected to be much improved, they were still under .500 at the end of last season. BC needed to show that they were at least the better team, and they didn’t do that even aside from the score.
Duluth broke the early stalemate with a really nice shot into traffic that Crossman deflected down into Katie Burt’s skates. The goal was briefly reviewed for a potential high stick, but it was a good goal.
Minnesota-Duluth Goal #2: 1:39 of the 2nd period
Brooklynn Schugel (Sidney Morin)
UMD 2, BC 0
Another deflection goal from up high for UMD.
Morin got a ton of weight on the shot, and this time the deflection stayed up and skipped over Burt’s shoulder — another nice goal for the Bulldogs.
The problem for BC at this point wasn’t so much that they were down by two goals. History has shown that they can make up that ground. But the Eagles, deep into the second period, hadn’t yet shown that they could put together a scoring chance with the newly shuffled Saturday lines.
Duluth, to their credit, didn’t even let BC entertain thoughts of a comeback.
Minnesota-Duluth Goal #3 (GWG): 7:14 of the 2nd period
Lara Stalder (Kateřina Mrázová, Sidney Morin)
UMD 3, BC 0
This was the back breaker for BC. Until this point, there was still hope they would find a spark, but three goals really put the game out of reach.
This is a really impressive goal from Stalder. BC gets caught a bit too far forward on the neutral zone battle along the boards, and Stalder just takes off as soon as the puck is on her stick.
Stalder and company make BC look pretty bad on this play. The other Bulldog streaking into the Eagle end just goes right past the BC defender — it looks like freshman Delaney Belinskas — which forces Miano, defending Stalder, to have to respect the pass.
Stalder’s skate to the net is really a thing of beauty. She gives just a subtle move toward the middle of the ice, causing Miano to overcommit to the pass.
Now in even more of a shooting position at the hash marks, Stalder has a clear lane to shoot through, and while Burt has a clear look at it, it’s a short, quick snap into the top corner. Really nice goal.
Minnesota-Duluth Goal #4: 8:54 of the 2nd period
Ashleigh Brykaliuk (Sydney Brodt, Linnea Hedin)
UMD 4, BC 0
BC has really fallen apart now. They’re playing undisciplined and are chasing the game. Brodt takes a wide shot, probably intentionally wide, that takes a huge bounce off the boards. Knowing the boards is one of the most valuable benefits of playing at home, and Burt is clearly caught offguard by the bounce.
And yet, you can see BC is disorganized and chasing.
There are two big problems for BC here. First, Haley McLean, at the far faceoff circle, is just coasting, almost stopped. Granted, she’s not expecting this bounce off the boards either, but that’s unimportant — Brykaliuk, the best player on the ice all weekend, is allowed to roam free right on Burt’s doorstep. She’s completely unchallenged for the rebound and has a layup goal.
But second, look at the BC skaters and the Duluth skaters. This isn’t a UMD power play; it’s 5 on 5. There is one Eagle defending a Bulldog, in a location that will have no influence on the play whatseover, and four BC players who are marking air, every single one of whom is skating in the direction of the puck and not even acknowledging a skater around them.
Four BC players defending no one leaves four Duluth players to skate around at will, and it’s no wonder that the Bulldogs score so easily.
Minnesota-Duluth Goal #5 (PPG): 18:03 of the 2nd period
Katherine McGovern (Lara Stalder, Ashleigh Brykaliuk)
UMD 5, BC 0
BC’s loss of focus and lack of discipline also put them in the box repeatedly — the Bulldogs had the first six power plays of the game, the bulk of which coming with the game well out of hand — making an already uphill battle pretty much insurmountable.
With a two man advantage, and BC already mentally on its flight back to Boston, it was only a matter of time before the Bulldogs converted, and they moved the puck well with a couple quick one-touch passes around the cage before McGovern finished it off.
Katie Burt was pulled in favor of Gabri Switaj after the 2nd period, and Switaj had probably her best 20 minutes in a BC uniform. The Eagles would find their heads a bit in the 3rd period, but it was obviously too little, too late.
Boston College Goal #1 (PPG): 14:04 of the 3rd period
Caitrin Lonergan (Kate Annese, Kali Flanagan)
UMD 5, BC 1
Little bit of pinball for the Eagles on this goal, with Annese throwing the puck out front and Lonergan taking advantage of the chaos to score her second goal. That took away the clean sheet for Duluth’s Maddie Rooney.
Boston College Goal #2 (PPG): 17:58 of the 3rd period
Delaney Belinskas (Toni Ann Miano, Bridget McCarthy)
UMD 5, BC 2 -- FINAL
Another power play goal for BC, and another goal from a freshman. Miano send the puck in from up high, and Belinskas is in a battle with a Duluth defender on the doorstep. She gets a piece of the puck — perhaps with a skate, but it counted nonetheless — to get BC one goal closer.
The Eagles would get the puck in the net one more time to make things somewhat interesting, but the goal was quickly waved off for being kicked into the crease. And that was, mercifully, that.
The worst part of the game was obviously how much the Eagles let the game get away from them. Losing was one thing, but it was a very uncharacteristic loss off focus for BC that let the game get so bad.
The good news for BC is that the special teams, and the freshmen, looked very good. Four of BC’s five goals came on the power play, and three of the five came from rookies. Freshman Caitrin Lonergan in particular was as advertised, leading the Eagles in scoring on the weekend with a pair of goals.
The bad news, aside from the game itself, was that senior captain Andie Anastos was in street clothes after being injured in the first period. It’s unclear how she was injured or if there is a timeframe for return, but getting her back quickly will be critical for BC’s prospects as the season goes on.
Needless to say, BC will need to keep working on its new look and find some line combinations that work, and will need to work on keeping it together when things aren’t going well.
The Eagles will get a chance to find their groove next weekend with a much easier matchup, at Conte Forum, with a pair against Hockey East bottom dweller Maine. Hopefully a couple big wins against the Black Bears give BC a chance to right the ship.