Another night on the Heights and for the Eagles—BC women’s hockey faced the team’s toughest test of the season Saturday afternoon, going up against No. 3 Quinnipiac University at Kelley Rink.
The Bobcats feature the nation’s top defense, behind senior goaltender Chelsea Laden. They were no match, however, for the No. 1 ranked Eagles, as BC won 2-1.
The Bobcats quickly jumped on the offensive in the first few minutes of play, holding most of the puck possession through the first five minutes.
“They’re a very good team, and they came out hard,” BC coach Katie Crowley said of the team’s opponent. But she was quick to note a change in the Eagles’ defense as the first period continued.
And change they did. Following a hooking penalty on Quinnipiac’s Emma Greco, BC began to control the ice, bringing the puck time after time across the Bobcat blue line and towards senior goaltender Chelsea Laden.
The Eagles broke the stalemate in the 17th minute of the first period, when a broken offensive play at the top of the crease led to a shot by junior Haley Skarupa and a finishing rebound by linemate and fellow junior Alex Carpenter.
Quinnipiac immediately bounced back and BC resorted to playing defensively through the next couple of minutes until a rush by the Eagles brought the puck back before Laden, then pushed quickly to an open defensemen who took a big slapshot from the top of the circle. The shot was blocked, however, by a Quinnipiac defender.
BC entered the second period with blazing accuracy, amounting a staggering 22 shots in the 20 minutes of play.
The offensive pressure paid off quickly, when Haley Skarupa fired a one-timer over the goaltender’s right shoulder and into the back of the net. The play began off a rush generated by sophomore Andie Anastos, who brought the puck up the far boards before centering it to Skarupa, who was hot on the heels of the pursuing Bobcat defenders.
“It was a great play by Andie,” Skarupa said of the goal, “She drew three or four people to her, and then she just gave it back to me, wide open”.
The rest of second period play was riddled with penalties, as both sides suffered two. The teams were put in a 4-on-4 situation, following an interference penalty by senior Emily Pfalzer, and an embellishment penalty for Quinnipiac. Neither team generated much of an advantage from the penalties, with each shooting just once on the power play.
BC noticeably took the foot off the gas after the second goal, allowing Quinnipiac time to take some shots as the Eagles turned to a more conservative possession of the puck.
As Conte Forum settled in for the third period, Quinnipiac turned on its jets, continually bringing the puck into BC’s defensive zone, and doubling BC’s shots in the final period of play.
“They won that third period and that’s something that will resonate with our kids,” Crowley said of the Bobcats performance in the waning minute of the game.
The Eagles’ defense held the two goal lead for 17 minutes before Bobcat junior Nicole Connery sneaked one by freshman goaltender Katie Burt out of a scrum at the top of the goal crease.
Despite the goal, Burt was optimistic about her fellow defenders’ play. “They played incredible, and just really did their jobs, especially in a few 2-on-1 situations that came up in the third,” she said.
Quinnipiac entered desperation mode with just 2:40 left in the game, but the Eagles were adamant on getting their 23rd win of the season. “We really tried to stick to our game, and to stay disciplined for the full 60 minutes,” Crowley said.
With just nine games left in the regular season, the Eagles look to be on the path to an unbeaten season—a staggering accomplishment for Crowley and her players.
Featured Image by Arthur Bailin / Heights Editor