By the end of the first period against No. 2 Wisconsin, the outcome of the game looked bleak for Boston College women’s hockey. The Eagles conceded a trio of scores in the first 18 minutes without tallying any of their own, creating a very lopsided game by the first intermission.
After tying No. 1 Minnesota, 2-2, in their previous game of the Country Classic, the Eagles were fired up, but it seemed as though they had become complacent overnight. BC failed to string together much offensive pressure at all, save for its three goals, and the Eagles just couldn’t keep up with Wisconsin.
Much of the Eagles’ troubles came from shooting (or a lack thereof) in the first period, tallying just 16 shots to Wisconsin’s 24. As a result, the Badgers jumped to an early 3-0 lead after pounding Maddy McArthur with constant pressure.
Even so, McArthur was a rock the entire game, and the final score of five goals allowed is not indicative of her play. McArthur tallied 43 saves on the day, a career-high by a longshot. Even after conceding three goals in the first period, head coach Katie Crowley kept her in goal, clearly seeing McArthur’s potential in front of the net.
McArthur’s performance is especially impressive when compared to Wisconsin goaltender Kristen Campbell’s 20 saves and three conceded goals.
Wisconsin’s first goal of the game came on an own goal, as a Badger’s shot bounced off a BC player and into the back of the net—an unfortunate start to the game. Even though the first goal was preventable, it was clear from the beginning that Wisconsin was outplaying BC, as the Badgers took more shots in the first period (24) than BC took in the entire game (23).
Wisconsin added two more before the end of the first frame: first, Britta Curl put one just inside the near post, then Abby Roque launched a shot from the circle on a power play.
Even though the Eagles were clearly outmatched in the first period, they still put up a fight, notching two goals in the second period.
BC scored its first as Hannah Bilka centered the puck in front of a flying Savannah Norcross in the crease, who powered one into the net to bring the Eagles within two.
The Eagles kept pushing, and Caroline DiFiore forced a turnover in the defensive zone. She carried the puck up the right side to fire a high shot past Campbell’s far side.
With the score within one, the Badgers found a new sense of urgency in the third period. Just over five minutes into the frame, Wisconsin’s Delaney Drake slid one past McArthur to regain a comfortable cushion.
The Badgers couldn’t breathe a sigh of relief yet, though, as Brittany Curl went to the box for interference, and BC suddenly had a man advantage.
The Eagles capitalized, as Cayla Barnes powered a slap shot from the circle to close the gap once more.
Back at equal skaters, though, the Badgers refused to concede another goal. BC pulled McArthur with a minute and a half to go, but it wasn’t enough against Wisconsin’s solid defense.
The Badgers sealed their win with six seconds left in the game, tacking on a fifth goal with McArthur still on the bench.
Though the Eagles leave the Country Classic short of their desired result, these past few games have been nothing to hang their heads about. Going up against the top two teams in the nation and ending the series 0-1-1 is not a bad result for the No. 8 Eagles. Sparks of brilliance came in their resilience, stellar goalkeeping, and ability to kill off power plays, so the Eagles have a lot to be proud of.
Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Editor