Barnes, Bizal Carry BC to Dramatic Overtime Win in St. Lawrence Series Finale

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One minute left. The clock slowly dwindled down as those present for the mid-afternoon bout between Boston College women’s hockey (3-2) and St. Lawrence University (2-3-1) could do nothing but watch as the visiting Saints boasted an imposing 1-0 lead.

It all began with a face-off between Kayla Nielsen and Caitrin Lonergan. The Eagles forward won the puck and flung it down toward the waiting St. Lawrence defense. Lindsay Agnew was the first to get a look on goal, but her shot was promptly blocked by St. Lawrence’s Amanda Butterfield. The puck ricocheted into the area of Cayla Barnes. Her shot too would prove to be a near miss, actually hitting the pipe.

At this point, bodies were strewn across the ice, as Saints defenders sought to block the shots of an assortment of BC skaters, who likewise were flailing their own bodies in desperate attempt to get something into the net. Luckily for the Eagles, Barnes would have one more shot at glory.

With 27.5 seconds remaining, the redshirt freshman’s attempt barely squeezed past St. Lawrence goalie Sonjia Shelly. As soon as everyone realized that the puck had finally found the net, the few souls in attendance let out a large roar, no doubt as a result of great relief and excitement. The rest of the Eagles swarmed Barnes with their hopes still alive as they headed into overtime.

Overtime proved far less difficult for the Eagles. Grace Bizal was not ready to go down after such a great comeback, which mirrored the previous night’s game against St. Lawrence as part of the two-game series. Makenna Newkirk sent a pass Bizal’s way, which she then reared back and slapped toward the goal. The laser rocketed past Shelly and ripped into the back of the net. Just like that, the game was over, and the Eagles escaped with a 2-1 overtime win.

“I think they are doing a great job with our younger players in just teaching them the culture and how hard we have to work here and what it means to play for BC,” head coach Katie Crowley said after the game.

The longtime Eagles coach was sure to express how important the leadership roles of the senior players on her team were, due to BC having such a young group. Many freshmen had major roles in the game and truly played beyond their years in the pivotal top-10 matchup.

Maddy McArthur is one of these talents—her clutch goalkeeping was essential to the Eagles’ victory. Although her 15 saves dulled in comparison to Shelly’s 34, the disparity was solely due to the fact that the BC offensive core controlled the puck throughout the game and was constantly hounding the opposing net.

The one goal that did get by McArthur was representative of much of the game. Over the course of the overtime thriller, sticks were flying through the air and being tossed around. One such moment occurred when senior Megan Keller lost hold of her stick. She was left with no choice but to try to kick away the puck with merely her body while her stick was left behind in her icy dust. Another similar moment happened when Kali Flanagan also lost her stick and had it thrown to her mid-skate. The goal in question, however, came with 12:56 left in the second period.

The puck went flying through the air, and a BC player tried grabbing it to no avail—instead, it bounced off her and set up a Saints scoring opportunity. Kayla Vespa and Maggie McLaughlin essentially had a 2-on-1. One quick pass led to a McLaughlin shot that bounced off the goal and somehow managed to rattle into the net. But the rest of the day, St. Lawrence failed to light the lamp again, giving BC every last second to equalize.

Two weeks into the season, Crowley has already had to sweat out two overtime games—experiences she believes will benefit the team in the long run. But for her sake, it certainly wouldn’t hurt if the Eagles created a bit more separation in the games’ early stages.

“If we can get out earlier, it won’t have to be so stressful, and I won’t have to grow more gray hairs,” Crowley exclaimed.

Featured Image by Taylor Perison / Heights Staff