It isn’t very often that the Eagles aren’t playing in the championship round of the annual Beanpot Tournament. In fact, it hadn’t happened in the past seven years until Tuesday’s unexpected loss against Harvard.
Before Monday’s defeat, the Eagles had been on an absolute tear, winning six straight games and scoring a combined 30 goals. After scoring only one goal against the Crimson, the Eagles needed to rebound in a big way. Sure enough, that is exactly what they did Friday night.
Motivated by the loss last week, the No. 7 BC Women’s Hockey (20-10) came back ready to play and took out a little frustration on the visiting New Hampshire Wildcats (13-13-4) en route to a dominant 7-1 victory at Kelley Rink on Friday night.
The Eagles were in control right from puck drop. Excellent passing and puck control from BC allowed them to apply early pressure on the Wildcat defense. On the defensive side, the formidable duo of Serena Sommerfield and Megan Keller virtually cleared all pucks from the zone in the first 10 minutes, not allowing any shots on goal.
BC got on the board first after with two quick goals from the line of Delaney Belinskas, Erin Connolly and Megan Beres, with Sommerfield and Keller on defense.
BC’s first goal came off great puck movement around the ice and an opportune rebound chance. After the initial shot from Connolly, Belinskas put it away on the backhand side for her eighth goal of the season.
The next goal came off a powerful wrist shot from Keller at the point, threaded through the wickets of three Wildcats for her 16th goal of the season. Keller’s goal put the Eagles up 2-0 and would give the Eagles a comfortable lead heading into the first intermission.
The Wildcats broke through minutes into the second period to cut the deficit to one. A long outlet pass to Nicole Dunbar gave her an opportunity in front of the net, but after her initial shot, Abby Chapman was on the doorstep to tap it in for her first goal of the season. It was one of the few defensive lapses from the Eagles, who immediately responded with their own offensive pressure in the New Hampshire zone.
BC got closer after each chance and finally tacked on another goal with a one-time slap shot from Keller, getting their two-goal lead back at 3-1. BC would continue to fire shots and maintain control in the Wildcat zone, holding a ridiculous 26-12 shot advantage over New Hampshire in the first two periods. The lead would stay at two for the remainder of the period.
The Eagles came out running to start the third period off the momentum built late in the second period, extending the lead to an even wider margin.
Daryl Watts put up the first goal of the third on a fantastic deke and deft skating to slice through the Wildcat defense without any difficulty. From the New Hampshire side, there was virtually no pressure at all throughout the period and had no discipline against the talented BC skaters on the ice.
The Eagles added three more goals against a lackluster Wildcat defense. It was really too easy for BC, as they often had too much space between them and the New Hampshire defenders, giving them open looks at the net. Kelly Browne, Lindsay Agnew, and Cayla Barnes all scored with ease to stretch the lead to six en route to a 7-1 home victory. For BC head coach Katie Crowley, it certainly felt good to get a dominant rebound win like this.
“I thought that was one of the best games we’ve played all year,” Crowley said about Friday night’s victory. “Especially after a tough one on Tuesday, to come back and play that way, I’m just really proud with how they played and proud of our team.”
Megan Keller had yet another incredible night on the stat sheet, piling up four points on two goals and two assists. Keller also broke the single-season Hockey East record as a defender with her 14th goal of the season. The defenseman holds multiple single-season Hockey East defensive records, including points, goals, and assists.
“It’s pretty special to think about because I wouldn’t be able to accomplish that without all my teammates past and present,” said Keller about her newest accolade. “To think about it in that way, it means a lot to me.”
BC freshman goaltender Kelly Pickreign, in her second career start, picked up her first win as an Eagle — and did so in dominating fashion. In her two games started, she has only allowed two goals on 49 shots, who may force her way into more playing time as the season winds down.
The Eagles have now outshot their opponents in 18 straight games and have recorded their seventh game with five goals or more, winning each of those contests.
BC now looks ahead to Tuesday night’s affair against the No. 3 Northeastern Huskies (21-3-4), who also had an unexpected loss in the first round of the Beanpot, falling to the BU women’s hockey team. While it may not be a championship game, the Eagles will be tested against a formidable Hockey East program, which will be a good experience for a team with their eyes set on the postseason.
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