Belinskas’s Hat Trick Leads Eagles Over New Hampshire

Delaney Belinskas

Delaney Belinskas is having a hot streak. And when Belinskas has a hot streak, she gets really hot.

The freshman, a standout for Boston College women’s hockey who shows significant offensive depth this season, saw her goals total balloon to 11 for the season after scoring yet another hat trick. Her first, a four-goal effort against the dismal 3-10 University of Maine squad, announced her arrival. The Eagles used her three goals to lift them over the University of New Hampshire in a 7-1 blowout. Showcasing its talents from top to bottom, BC (9-3-2, 8-2-0 Hockey East) also saw multiple-goal days for Andie Anastos and Kristyn Capizzano.

Gabri Switaj started out in net for the Eagles, giving Katie Burt a break after a successful 5-1 campaign the night before at the Wildcats’ (3-10-0, 3-5-0) home ice. BC jumped into its groove quickly in the first period, scoring back-to-back goals toward the middle of the period. For the first, Caitrin Lonergan shot from behind the faceoff circle, but it was deflected off of a UNH defender. Anastos found the puck and passed it behind her to Belinskas, who buried it from right in front of the crease to put it past Kyra Smith.

The Eagles received another chance shortly after, when Amy Schlagel was sent to the penalty box for hooking. With Kenzie Kent behind UNH’s net with the puck, she fed it to a wide-open Lonergan, whose shot was again deflected. Kent pushed the puck to a waiting Belinskas, who found an open space on Smith’s stick side. BC’s defensive corps staved off two penalties, which overlapped for a short time to make a 5-on-3, and made it through the end of the period with a man advantage that lasted into the second period.

Though a checking penalty on Toni Ann Miano could have cancelled out the benefit, a simultaneous holding penalty for Carlee Turner maintained the Eagles’ advantage. BC jumped on the shorthanded Wildcats, with Kali Flanagan taking the puck up from the Eagles’ goal. Executing a perfect play, Flanagan passed to Lonergan, who skated up the boards and made a cross-ice pass to Anastos. The play brought Smith out too far left from the goal, and Makenna Newkirk blocked Tori Howran from backing Smith up. Anastos fired into the open right side of the goal while still skating. She’d notch her second goal as the teams returned to even strength, forcing the puck in from the back door as chaos ensued near the crease. Anastos initially looked unsure about whether the goal would count, but the goal was good. The Eagles, now with a 4-0 lead, had no intention of stopping.

Capizzano, not one to buck trends, scored her two goals back to back, too. She trailed the UNH defensemen until Miano passed her the puck. She broke away from the defensemen and faked out Smith to put the puck in on Smith’s stick side in one effortless motion. Capizzano later opened up the third period in a similar fashion. Newkirk barreled toward the Wildcats’ goal but couldn’t time her shot, so she passed it behind her in a last-ditch effort. Capizzano picked it up and slid it past Smith and the right pipe, not even waiting for the red buzzer to start her celebration.

With a win secured, head coach Katie Crowley pulled Switaj out for freshman Molly Barrow’s debut. Having only seen ice time in BC’s exhibition game against the Boston Pride in early October, Barrow held her own for the remainder of the game.

“I think that’s huge that they put her [Barrow] into a game this early into the season for her, and she’s only going to get better from here,” Switaj said.

Belinskas notched her third of the day with less than five minutes left, soaring up the ice and shooting the puck high to beat Smith, who could not pin the shot down.

Barrow faltered in the last two minutes, putting an end to the shutout Switaj had built up. Carlee Toews shot from behind the right faceoff circle, and the puck skidded in between Barrow’s legs. By then, the Eagles didn’t have anything to worry about. With a six-goal lead and only a minute or so left, the win was theirs. Crowley attributed the strong play throughout the game to the increase in stamina and hustle in her players.

“Yesterday I would say we played a full 40 minutes really well, and then today I thought we played a full 60 minutes,” Crowley said. “That’s what we’re looking to do, and that’s what we’re gonna need to do here as we get into the second half of the season.”

Featured Image by Kaitlin Meeks / Heights Staff

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Shannon Kelly was the assistant features editor in 2017 and the associate copy editor in 2016. She could win an Emmy one day! Follow her in advance @ShannonJoyKelly.