Selection Sunday threw a bit of a curveball at the Eagles. BC was expecting to face the lowest ranked eastern team in the tournament field, and... well, according to the committee, that's what they got. But according to any metric -- mathematical or otherwise -- used to determine team strength in women's hockey, Princeton should have been that team.
Instead, the committee sent Northeastern down the E line to make a not-free transfer at Copley on their way to Conte Forum to face the Eagles.
But BC can only play who they're given. At 38-0-0, the Eagles are happy to take all comers, and the Huskies have come up on their schedule four times already this season.
Let's take a look back to look forward and see what the Eagles have in store this Saturday in the NCAA quarterfinal.
Friday, November 20th
Boston College 4, Northeastern 2 (ENG)
BC had faced a few decent teams early in the year, but nothing of the caliber of the Huskies. To be fair, they still haven't -- the Huskies are the only NCAA tournament team the Eagles have faced all year.
Everyone expected a battle of titans with Olympic superstars Alex Carpenter and Kendall Coyne on the ice at the same time, and the game didn't disappoint.
BC's Coach Crowley had started the season with Alex Carpenter and Haley Skarupa on separate lines, but this game marked the first of the season with the superline back together. Crowley consistently matched up Carpenter's line with Coyne's the entire night, Coyne was kept largely in check aside from scoring the game's opening goal.
With Skarupa/Carpenter/Kent busy with one of the best players in the world, it was up to BC's secondary scoring to carry the load. They did just that. Sullivan and Grieves from the third line scored three of BC's four goals, with Kaliya Johnson adding one from the blue line.
If you had put together a "BC vs. Northeastern '15-'16" blueprint for what you would have expected every matchup to look like, it would have looked just like this.
Saturday, November 28th
Game 2... not so much.
Northeastern's freshman phenom goaltender Brittany Bugalski was out unexpectedly with a medical issue, and backup Sarah Foss was thrown into the fire. Foss is a quality goaltender -- not at all a lifer backup -- but she had a tough time against the Eagles and was yanked halfway through the game after giving up 5 goals in 32 minutes.
BC feasted on backup goaltenders and Kendall Coyne was kept off the scoresheet entirely until getting an assist in garbage time. And once again, the scoring came from all over, with each line scoring at least a goal, with a bonus from Flanagan on the blue line.
In a bizarre twist, however, the Huskies actually outshot BC 37-23, the only time all season that an opponent outshot the Eagles. That contributed to the general opinion that the blowout was more an anomaly than actually representative of how future games between the teams would go.
Tuesday, February 9th
Beanpot Championship at Walter Brown Arena
Don't let the score fool you.
It's true, BC dominated this game. You'd have some difficulty finding a 7-0 game where the winning team didn't. But the Eagles only led this game 2-0 after two periods and held a modest 24-17 shot margin at the time.
Katie Burt, as you can see in the highlight video, had to make some quality saves to keep the shutout intact, and the game would have been much, much more of a nailbiter had even one slipped through before the Eagles exploded for five goals in the third period.
The third period has been crucial to BC's success this year. In the Eagles' first game against Northeastern, BC was tied halfway through the third before finding a game winner. In Game 3, while BC held a solid 2-0 lead, the Eagles didn't let Northeastern hang around, and put the game away before the Huskies could even muster even a glimmer of hope.
Friday, February 12th
The danger of playing Northeastern several times started to catch up with the Eagles. In Game 4, BC lost track of Kendall Coyne.
Coyne was a part of all three of Northeastern's goals. Winning a draw in the offensive zone on NU's first power play of the game, fighting tooth and nail for a loose puck in the crease to retake the lead for the Huskies nearly halfway through the game, and tying the game late in the third on this unassisted beauty of a snipe.
But unfortunately for Northeastern, BC's top line shadowing Coyne wasn't just there to play shadow this time. Skarupa/Carpenter/Kent combined for 3 goals and 5 assists, including the game winner with two seconds left in the 2nd period where all three players were credited on the scoresheet.
But like in Game 1, it took an empty netter for BC to finish off the Huskies. In all three games against the Huskies with Brittany Bugalski in net, the games were close into the third period. In the two games at Conte Forum, BC won by a single goal topped off with an empty netter.
Needless to say, Kendall Coyne's Huskies are not a team BC will be tempted to overlook. To that end, perhaps it's a good thing that the Eagles were paired up with the dangerous Huskies, and not a team struggling down the stretch in Princeton who managed to get knocked out of its conference tournament in the quarterfinals.
The NCAA quarterfinal against Northeastern is 1pm on Saturday at Conte Forum.