On a night of firsts, freshman Maegan Beres fully embraced the opportunity by netting her first collegiate goal a mere three and a half minutes into the second period, a goal that would be crucial in helping Boston College Women’s Hockey edge the University of Minnesota Duluth by just one goal to open the regular season.
Coming off a solid 6-0 exhibition win against Laurentian University, No. 3 BC beat out No. 4 UMD, 4-3, Thursday night in a matchup between two highly contended teams. Although the Bulldogs gave the Eagles a run for their money in the third period, scoring two power play goals within two minutes, the Eagles recouped to ultimately hold on for the win.
“I thought it was a really good hockey game,” stated head coach Katie Crowley, not seeming too worried about her team. “I thought our team played well in our first real game. We were put in a lot of situations right off the bat there and I thought we handled it really well…We’ll work on it a little bit more. If we’re going to put ourselves into penalty situations, then we’ve got to work on it a little bit more.”
After a scoreless first half of the first period, UMD was first to get on the board, scoring with 5:01 left to play in the period. BC responded two minutes later with a power play goal of its own from captain Makenna Newkirk, with assists from Daryl Watts and Toni Ann Miano, marking the first BC goal of the regular season.
BC carried the momentum from this goal into the second period, playing a much more dominant game than the first period. The offense continuously forced the puck into UMD territory, allowing the team to exert control over the pace of the game. Beres then notched her first collegiate goal in the second period with help from captains Newkirk and Kenzie Kent, giving the Eagles a 2-1 lead—something they did not give up for the rest of the game.
“I thought the freshmen did a great job for us,” said Crowley, praising their sharp first outing. “They did log quite a few minutes there and they handled every situation really well. They’re a group that I think is a very cohesive group, they get along really well, and I think they were very good out there.”
Sophomore Caitrin Lonergan also tacked on her first goal of the season in the second period, assisted by Miano and Willow Corson, giving the Eagles a 3-1 lead at the end of the second period. Lonergan then added on another power play goal towards the beginning of the third period, packing up the support and extending the lead, 4-1. When asked about scoring two goals in the first game, Lonergan praised the help from her teammates.
“The first one, Toni made a good pass for me and I had a lot of speed going,” started Lonergan. “I was actually looking for a pass on the first one and kind of just threw it at the net and it hit off someone’s skate. On the second one, Makenna Newkirk made a really great pass to me from behind the net and I had a whole net to shoot at, so it wasn’t that hard to miss.”
Despite the seemingly lofty cushion to start the third, two penalties late in the game ended up costing the Eagles as the Bulldogs scored two goals during the power play—one at 9:09 and one at 10:24. With UMD within one goal of tying the game and a long 10 minutes left, the high-stakes atmosphere thrust the Eagles into their most competitive zone of the game, allowing them to regain control and maintain it until the end, ultimately winning 4-3.
The Eagles are picked to repeat as Hockey East Champs as per the conference’s annual preseason coaches’ poll. A combination of the experience of the returners and the activeness of the freshmen seems to make for a mighty force for the rest of the season.
BC will play one more game to try to win the series against UMD on Friday at 2 p.m. in Conte Forum.