No matter how good you are, perfect seasons aren't easy. There are teams that just give you headaches, and it's impossible to play perfect hockey every single game.
But one thing you can say about any team that goes perfect this deep into the season is that they have to be resilient.
Boston College women's hockey did not play their best game on Saturday, and with UConn playing to keep their season alive, the Eagles had a game on their hands. In the end, BC kept their focus, stuck with their game, and ended up gutting out a gritty 4-2 win at Merrimack's Lawler Arena to advance to the Hockey East title game.
Boston College Goal #1 (PPG): 15:21 of the 1st period
Haley Skarupa (Alex Carpenter, Makenna Newkirk)
BC 1, UConn 0
One of the biggest differences between last year's BC women's hockey team and this season's new-and-apparently-improved version is their success on the power play. It has been just relentless this season, good for 2nd best in the country, and has earned BC some key goals this season.
"Relentless" is definitely a good description. There are four Eagles below the dots on this goal, and three fighting for the puck behind the goal line. With that much pressure behind the net, the Huskies are running around with their heads cut off and Haley Skarupa sets up shop in the slot.
BC wins the fight for the puck and sends it out to Skarupa who makes UConn pay.
Boston College Goal #2: 7:29 of the 2nd period
Meghan Grieves (Tori Sullivan)
BC 2, UConn 0
There was a lot of vintage Elaine Chuli tonight for UConn. This was not vintage Elaine Chuli.
We did get some vintage Meghan Grieves on this goal. Grieves burns past the entire UConn defense off the draw all the way down the ice. UConn's #5 Lexi Lersch has to turn around to keep up, but Grieves' right handed shot is too far away for her to be able to disrupt with her stick.
Chuli probably should have stopped this, but it was nice 5 hole shot and goal for Meghan Grieves.
UConn Goal #1: 16:00 of the 2nd period
Theresa Knutson (Margaret Zimmer)
BC 2, UConn 1
The first period for BC was okay. The first half of the second period was slow, but passable. The 2nd half of the 2nd period was really UConn deciding they weren't going to go quietly into the night.
The Huskies struggled to get any pressure at all on the Eagles all game, but they have shooters that can take advantage of BC's aggressiveness. Theresa Knutson is far and away UConn's leading goal scorer with 19 on the season, and she absolutely slings this puck. Katie Burt is a pretty big goalie, but Knutson still goes bar-down over the shoulder for the goal to bring UConn to within 1.
But that didn't quite make it gut check time for BC.
UConn Goal #2: 0:58 of the 3rd period
Justine Fredette (Margaret Zimmer, Kayla Mee)
BC 2, UConn 2
Okay now it's gut check time.
UConn ties the game up early in the third period thanks to a wild individual effort from Justine Fredette. Fredette makes a move past one BC defender and earns a penalty call on the other. But she gets her money's worth on the way down, somehow keeping her stick on the puck and getting it through Katie Burt.
There haven't been too many times this season that the Eagles have had to dig deep. But they've done it every single time.
Boston College Goal #3 (PPG, GWG): 4:44 of the 3rd period
Alex Carpenter (Kenzie Kent, Makenna Newkirk)
BC 3, UConn 2
There's that BC power play coming through right when they need it.
The Eagles get the puck in deep, and UConn retreats to allow BC to set up. But Alex Carpenter has the puck on the far side and sees how passive the Huskies are with their penalty kill and decides to have a go herself.
All she needs to do is skate in as far as the Huskies will let her, and she's got a shooting lane. She fires the puck off, and it's blocked -- right back on to her stick. Chuli bit on the first shot and went down, leaving Carpenter with net to shoot at to retake the lead for the Eagles.
Boston College Goal #4: 7:47 of the 3rd period
Kristyn Capizzano (Meghan Grieves, Tori Sullivan)
BC 4, UConn 2 -- FINAL
The box score won't show it, but this goal also came on the power play.
UConn took a penalty at 5:47 of the 3rd period, and Capizzano scored at 7:47. You can see the UConn skater just opening the door as the puck goes in the net. That would have given BC a 3-for-4 powerplay on the night.
But it doesn't matter. What matters is that you can see the jump in BC's step in the third period. Right off the draw, the Eagles are going in hard for this puck. With the penalty coming to an end, they're playing the skater out of the box conservatively and only have three players forward.
But those three players know they've got help behind them and go right to work making Chuli's life 5 seconds of hell off this draw. In the end it's Capizzano who ices the game with the goal, and that's all she wrote for UConn's season.
So the Eagles now have a trophy to play for tomorrow -- a trophy they've only won once, and a trophy that Boston University has had a stranglehold on. BU is the four time defending Hockey East champion, and they've also won 5 of the last 6.
The Terriers will take on Northeastern this afternoon at 4:30pm, with the winner punching their ticket to the finals against BC for all the Hockeys in the East.
We'll see you right back here for the Hockey East championship game Sunday at 1:30pm.