This past week, the U.S. Women’s National Team took to the Sasktel Center in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, for the 2018 Four Nations Cup, an annual tournament bringing together the national women’s hockey teams from the United States, Canada, Finland, and Sweden. The U.S. went undefeated in the tournament and brought home the gold medal. Four current Boston College Eagles and one former Eagle were all members of the championship team.
The four members currently on the BC roster include senior defender Megan Keller, senior defender Kali Flanagan, junior forward Caitrin Lonergan, and freshman defender Cayla Barnes. They were accompanied by former Eagle and current member of the Buffalo Beauts of the National Women’s Hockey League, defender Emily Pfalzer, who finished her time at Boston College in 2015.
At training camp prior to the tournament, U.S. Head Coach Bob Corkum said, “Having the college women join us brings a new dynamic to the whole group.” The players from BC hoped that dynamic would lead to a continued success after an outstanding performance at the 2018 Olympics. Two of BC’s three co-captains, Keller and Flanagan, as well as Barnes and Pfalzer, were also all members of the U.S. Women’s Olympic team that won a gold medal this past February in South Korea.
“We want to play an aggressive forechecking style,” said Corkum. “Get in on their defensemen, cause turnovers, shot mentality, and strong on special teams is what we’re trying to accomplish.”
The U.S. would do exactly that. And while BC was heavily represented on the blue line—four of the five Eagles being defenders—the Eagles certainly did their part to contribute to the offensive onslaught that took place throughout the week.
The team opened play in a round robin that began on Tuesday, facing off against Finland. After being down 1-0 to the Finnish team for most of the first period, the U.S. tallied five in the second for what would be a final score of 5-1.
The decisive second goal of the game came on a backdoor pass from Keller to her defensive partner Barnes. Lonergan and Pfalzer would each record assists of their own on the third and fourth goals respectively, just two minutes apart from one another.
The next day, the U.S. topped Canada in its second round robin match-up in a much closer contest. Though the U.S. got on the board less than two minutes into the game, the scoring slowed and the game remained tied at one goal apiece until late in the third.
At that point, the U.S. found the back of the net with just a 1:40 remaining. The Eagle defenders did their duties throughout the game, limiting Canada to just four shots in the first period. The U.S. held an overall shot advantage of 33-24.
The offensive electricity returned Friday as the United States scored five more goals in a 5-1 victory over Sweden. The members from BC played well on the blue line, limiting Sweden to just 20 shots, half of the U.S.’s 40.
The final game of the week for the States would be in the championship round rematch against Canada. This time around, the U.S. wouldn’t have such a hard time finding the back of the net. With the game tied 1-1 as the first period was coming to a close, Boston College senior defender Kali Flanagan assisted on a goal from Melissa Samoskevich, a senior at Quinnipiac University, to give the U.S. the lead.
Three goals and two periods later, the U.S. skated to the title with a 5-2 victory.
As the five Eagles return from Saskatchewan, they will look to continue their success on the ice—Pfalzer with her team in Buffalo, and the rest back in Chestnut Hill. The Eagles return to Hockey East play at the University of Connecticut this Friday. They will take on the Huskies in Conte Forum on Saturday in the second half of a two-game series.
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