Through 100 minutes of hockey this weekend, Boston College women’s hockey goaltender Katie Burt hadn’t let the University of Maine Black Bears connect on a single shot. Unfortunately for the senior, her last two regular season games wouldn’t end in back-to-back shutouts. Five minutes into the third period, Brittany Kucera took a shot from the top of the far circle and it sailed above Burts glove. The Lynn, Mass. native could only turn her head to watch the puck fly past her.
Still, it was the only goal scored by No. 10 Maine (17-12-5, 11-9-4 Hockey East) throughout the weekend series. After a successful Friday night showing, the No. 4 Eagles (28-3-3, 19-2-3) finished off their regular season with a 3-1 victory over the Back Bears.
After the initial face off, Maine attempted to put pressure on the Eagles, but the defense was ready. The Black Bears had the first point opportunity of the afternoon after Burt left the net empty after blocking a shot. Her teammates were right there to clear it out, robbing Maine of a chance to get an early lead.
BC’s offense soon proved to be just as lethal as its defense. Just under five minutes into regulation, Ryan Little intercepted a pass in Maine’s territory and sent it in the direction of Erin Connolly. The sophomore’s backhanded shot went right between goaltender Loryn Porter’s skate and the pipe, putting the Eagles on the board first.
Soon after her goal, Connolly knocked Cailey Hutchison down on the red line, forcing a whistle. Maine was aggressive throughout the power play, but the added pressure did nothing to deter BC’s defense. The Black Bears couldn’t connect on their advantage, and both teams headed into the locker room with BC leading.
The Eagles were met with an aggressive offensive in the beginning of the second, as the Black Bears wanted to tie the game up. Tereza Vanišoá took the puck down the ice towards Burt without any BC defenseman in her way. The sophomore from the Czech Republic wasn’t fast enough, however, and as she neared the crease the puck got away from her before she could take her shot. While the Black Bears were having a tough time trying to figure out the Eagles’ defense, BC was having no trouble getting the puck close to Porter.
After a few minutes of back and forth hockey, the Eagles turned to their stars to increase their lead. Caitrin Lonergan picked up a pass from Daryl Watts and closed in on Porter. She was able to get through the defense and take a shot that slipped past the freshman goaltender. With the assist, Watts matched the Hockey East single-season record with 55 points, a record set by Kendall Coyne in the 2015-16 season.
A slashing call sent Little into the box for the second penalty of the afternoon called on the Eagles. Maine tried to apply pressure in the Eagles’ zone, but the defense was right there to intercept their passes and rob the Black Bears of scoring opportunities. Maine couldn’t connect, and BC kept their two-goal lead. With just 22 seconds left in the second period, Molly Slowe was whistled for slashing, giving the Black Bears a player advantage to open up the third.
Despite 15 minutes to come up with a game plan, Maine couldn’t connect on their third straight power play, and the Eagles kept their lead. Just minutes later, however, Kucera tallied the first and only goal for the Black Bears of the weekend. They tried to tie up the game, but Burt and the defense was too strong for Maine to connect. The one-goal lead was short lived, as Little made sure to solidify the Eagles’ win with her sixth goal of the season. Following Delaney Belinskas’ backhanded shot, Porter left the cage wide open for Little to tip the puck through the crease to gain the two point cushion back.
Maine pulled Porter in the last 30 seconds, but the extra player did nothing to gain an advantage and secure a late goal. The Eagles closed out their season with a successful sweep, giving them plenty of momentum as they head into the Hockey East tournament, still eyeing the NCAA tournament down the road.
Featured Image by Melissa Rice / Heights Staff