Women’s Hockey East is a mess this season.
The league has gotten a lot of disrespect the last few seasons, but this year, like women’s hockey in general, parity abounds. There are truly no easy outs (as evidenced by last place Maine earning a win against first place Boston College earlier this season), and the league’s worst team sits well above the Pairwise floor at 26th.
UConn has managed to turn in a respectable season, coming into the game with a .500 record and hovering near the top 20 in the Pairwise, but I’m pretty sure nobody saw their hot start coming on Friday night.
The Huskies jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first period and a 4-1 lead in the second, but the Eagles once again showed that they’re able to dig deep in times of crisis. While they weren’t able to come away with the win, the did manage to scratch and claw their way to a 4-4 tie, clinching the Hockey East regular season title and hanging on to a home ice position in the Pairwise by a thread.
Boston College Goal #1: 6:53 of the 2nd period
Megan Keller (Makenna Newkirk, Kristyn Capizzano)
UC 3, BC 1
It was a complete disaster in the first period. UConn put three goals on Katie Burt, with a potential fourth on a breakaway opportunity stopped at the end of the period, which put BC in a hole that looked pretty grim. But you have to start the comeback somewhere, and BC got it started early in the second.
Newkirk fed Keller with a pass right to the tape of the stick that Keller one-timed home, and BC was on the board.
Boston College Goal #2 (PPG): 15:36 of the 2nd period
Makenna Newkirk (Kenzie Kent, Megan Keller)
UC 4, BC 2
The score stood at 3-1 for a while until UConn managed to score a fourth goal, which really felt like a dagger in BC’s chances. back down by 3 with under 6 minutes left in the 2nd period, that was a much steeper hill to climb.
But the Eagles once again got back on their horse. Just a minute and a half after UConn scored to go up 4-1, Kenzie Kent fired a shot in on UConn’s Annie Belanger. She makes the stop, but the rebound goes right to Makenna Newkirk who converts on the rebound... and BC is once again within 2.
That felt like something BC could work with for the third period, but there was still time on the clock left in the second.
Boston College Goal #3: 18:45 of the 2nd period
Caroline Ross (Delaney Belinskas, Andie Anastos)
UC 4, BC 3
This goal was the real turning point in the game. Caroline Ross, a freshman who had yet to score in her short BC career, decided to have a go from distance. It’s a great camera angle — you can see Belanger is screened really well by Anastos, and the puck has eyes all the way through, finding the top corner clean to cut the lead down to one.
BC was full of confidence after this goal. UConn looked like they were faced with an inevitability.
Boston College Goal #4: 1:42 of the 3rd period
Caitrin Lonergan (Megan Keller, Makenna Newkirk)
BC 4, UC 4 — FINAL
Given an entire 20 minutes with which to find a tying goal, BC took care of business early.
This is a shot from Megan Keller that is specifically designed for a rebound. It’s low and into the pad of Belanger, who can’t do anything other than steer it away from the net. It kicks out perfectly according to plan right onto the stick of Caitrin Lonergan, and she puts it home to, miraculously, draw the Eagles level after trailing 3-0 and 4-1.
Unfortunately, despite having chance after chance in the third period and overtime — an overtime in which the Huskies didn’t even register a shot — BC just couldn’t find a game-winner. It’s tough to take the tie for Pairwise purposes, but it didn’t sink the Eagles. Thanks to UConn actually being something of a respectable hockey team, BC’s RPI stayed just high enough to remain in 4th in the Pairwise and in position for a home ice spot in the NCAA tournament.
The Eagles can’t afford to have very many periods like they had against in the first against UConn if they want to put themselves in a good spot for the national tournament. They can do themselves a favor — and win some hardware — this Tuesday as they head down Huntington Avenue to Northeastern for the Beanpot championship. It’s a trophy game, but as always seems to be the case, it’ll also have big Pairwise implications for BC. Puck drop is at 7:30pm on Tuesday night.