Even if the standings indicate otherwise, Boston College women’s hockey knew that its game Friday against Boston University would not be easy, despite the fact that it’s towering over the Terriers in the Hockey East.
Neither team gave an inch the entire game, playing 65 minutes of hard-nosed hockey, ultimately tying 2-2. Separation was hard to come by in this game, and goals were, at times, a rarity. Every player on the ice fought to be a difference-maker, which led to a physical, scrappy, and energetic style of play that resulted in a slew of penalties. It became a game of power plays and penalty kills, and converting on the available opportunities was a necessity for both teams.
The moment the puck dropped in the first period, BU (6-7-3, 3-5-3 Hockey East) aggressively created scoring opportunities by controlling the puck and attacking the BC (12-1-3, 6-0-3) defense. The Eagles tried to respond in a similar fashion, but were a little bit too physical. With 7:55 left in the first period, BC defender Caroline Ross received a two-minute minor for slashing. Head coach Katie Crowley’s team would need to step up defensively and kill the penalty in order to reverse BU’s momentum. Caitrin Lonergan blocked a shot and Katie Burt saved another to silence the Terriers’ power-play attack.
The game remained scoreless deep into the period. Just when it looked like BC would be able to escape into the intermission unscathed, BU capitalized on its first scoring opportunity with a minute left in the period. Terriers captain Rebecca Leslie, who came into the game ranked third in Hockey East scoring, slid a shot through Burt’s five hole to put the Terriers on top, 1-0—a score that wouldn’t budge for the rest of the frame.
BC started the second period on a power play, trying to quickly squash BU’s lead. A minute in, a long pass by Burt led Daryl Watts, Lonergan, and Willow Corson to find themselves in a 3-on-0. Lonergan and Watts worked the goalie back and forth by passing to each other. Lonergan looked like she had a possible opportunity to score in the slot, but instead patiently dished the puck off to Watts, who was able to beat the goalie on a one-timer. BC needed to quickly respond to BU’s opening goal, and it did in a quick manner.
Crowley praised the duo of Watts and Lonergan after the game.
“It seems that every time Daryl and Caitrin are together they find a way to score a goal,” she said.
The rest of the second period was a continuation of the physical play that was found in the opening 20 minutes of play. The referees, having let this go on for over a period, started calling the game tighter. There were five penalties committed before the next intermission. But they were all killed because of scrappy defensive play. Because of this, the latest Battle of Comm. Ave. was tied going into the third period.
BU had a power play going into the third period, and, right out of the gate, barraged Burt with a handful of shots. An Abby Cook drive ricocheted off Burt to Nina Rodgers, who scored off of the rebound. BC had to ramp up its aggressiveness if it wanted to equalize this game again. Lonergan and Watts, wanting to get back on the board, tried to sneak the puck past Erin O’Neil, but the Terriers’ goaltender, who was well on her way to 36 saves, was there to make stop after stop.
Midway through the third period, BC finally got its opportunity. Corson and Makenna Newkirk relayed the puck to Toni Ann Miano near the blue line, who dodged a BU defender and went top shelf on O’Neil.
BU made mistakes down the stretch, committing three penalties. Among these was Victoria Bach’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for hitting a BC player’s stick into the corner of the rink. But BC was unable to capitalize on the Terriers’ miscues, and the game went to overtime.
The extra five minutes was nothing more than a back-and-forth affair. The only palpable scoring chance was a Watts shot that hit off the post, forcing the crowd to gasp. Each team was able to muster four shots on goal, but as the final horn rang, the teams remained deadlocked in a 2-2 tie.
The rivalry will continue Saturday afternoon, when the latter portion of this home-and-home series will be played at Walter Brown Arena. After winning five-consecutive Hockey East games in the early portion of the season, BC has sputtered over the last two weeks. While the Eagles haven’t lost since Nov. 10, they’ve struggled to finish games. Friday’s tie marks BC’s third draw in conference play, including its second in the past four games.
Featured Image by Lizzy Barrett / Heights Editor