Caitrin Lonergan could smell a hat trick. Having already scored twice for Boston College women’s hockey, a game-winning goal in overtime would have been the exclamation point on her Friday night performance. As she rifled her shot toward Merrimack’s net just two minutes into the extra frame, the whole arena thought it was going in. Instead, it banged off of the pipe—but Megan Keller was there to pick her up.
Just seconds after Lonergan’s shot was inches from ending the game, Keller picked up a pass from Daryl Watts and skated to the point. The senior was not going to let this game end in a tie. She wound up, and delivered a slap shot that found not pipe, but twine for a 4-3 overtime victory.
“Daryl [Watts] had two girls on her on the wall and was able to get me that puck,” Keller said after the game about her game-winning goal. “I was just trying to get the shot through and we had some great screens.”
No. 9 Boston College (13-6, 10-4 Hockey East) was coming into its matchup with Merrimack having lost three straight, including two heartbreaking losses against Boston University last weekend, all while dropping five spots in the USCHO poll. The Eagles righted the ship against Merrimack (10-6-2, 6-6-1), in the front half of a home-and-home. BC piled 49 shots on goal in the overtime thriller, and Keller and Lonergan each netted two in the high-scoring affair.
After failing to score in the opening period in both games against BU, the Eagles came out with fire in the first frame in this one. It was a blitzkrieg for BC’s offense, a unit that rattled off 19 shots in the direction of Warriors goaltender Lea-Kristine Demers over the course of the opening 20 minutes of play. Fittingly, the Eagles first lit the lamp just over two minutes into the game.
Lindsay Agnew found Serena Sommerfeld as she entered the offensive zone to Demers’ left. The defenseman saucered a pass over to her fellow senior, Keller, who was crashing toward the net across ice. Keller settled the puck, and released a wrister that found its way into the back of the net to end the Eagles’ opening period woes.
The next strike came just under three minutes later. BC’s penalty kill had struggled mightily against BU last weekend, allowing five power play goals in two games. When Agnew was sent to the box early on Friday, however, it was the Eagles who created offense with the player down.
In the midst of a clearance of their defensive zone, BC defender Kali Flanagan saw a streaking Lonergan skating toward the Warriors’ blue line. She fired a pass that caught Lonergan’s stick a second before she would be offsides. The junior had a breakaway, and she calmly finished the shorthanded opportunity, making Demers guess the wrong way. She coolly delayed her shot and took an extra glide to the right, depositing the puck into the wide open right side to give the Eagles a two-goal lead.
“I’ve been working on breakaways for a while,” Lonergan said. “Kali [Flanagan] made a really nice pass. I kind of went behind her, and she knew where I was going to be going.”
It was a lead that would not last long, though. On the same power play, and just 22 seconds after Lonergan’s goal, Merrimack’s Paige Voight sidestepped an Eagles defender on her way across the ice. She centered the puck and tucked her shot over the left blocker of Maddy McArthur on what was the first shot on goal of the game for the Warriors. The Eagles clung to their one-goal advantage for the rest of the frame after surviving a Jessica Bonfe shot that rattled off the crossbar.
The second period was just as high scoring as the first, beginning with another goal on the power play from the Warriors. Megan Fergusson was stickhandling near the crease before backhanding a centering try. McArthur denied it, but Dominique Kremer pounced on the opportunity and polished off the rebound to even the game.
The Eagles were quick to respond on a power-play opportunity of their own. After failing to take advantage of a minute-plus segment of 5-on-3 hockey, Watts cut through the center of the Warriors’ zone on the remaining 5-on-4 portion. Instead of shooting the puck herself, she dropped it off to Lonergan, who was camping just in front of the icing line. Lonergan one-timed the tough angle shot, and put it past Demers for the second time of the afternoon. With her eighth goal on the season, she temporarily moved into second on the team—she would later be overtaken by Keller—trailing only Watts’ 11.
After trading opportunities back and forth, it was the Warriors who found another equalizer, this time at even-strength. Keisha DiCaire finished off a turnaround wrister, tucking it past McArthur and into the top shelf. She rebounded a blocked shot, and put all of her momentum into the chance, falling to the ice triumphantly on her follow through.
The third period saw a much more defensive game being played. Both goaltenders were making big saves, and after 10 penalties were called in the first two frames, the last period of regulation remained discipline-free until the final four minutes. The Eagles successfully killed the penalty in the closing minutes, and were able to send the game to overtime, setting the stage for Keller.
“I thought we played more urgent around the front of that net,” head coach Katie Crowley said of her team’s performance. “We were starting to get to rebounds, and the effort there was better than it has been.”
Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Editor