The second-seeded Boston College women’s hockey team advanced to the Hockey East Tournament semifinals with a 2-0 sweep of the seventh-seeded UConn Huskies this weekend behind two impressive offensive performances.
Boston College kicked off the quarterfinal series on Friday night with a 4-1 victory, with four different Eagles contributing goals to overwhelm the Huskies. After a scoreless opening period, the Eagles’ offense erupted in the first three minutes of the second period.
Delaney Belinskas opened the scoring with a wrist shot just two minutes into the period, assisted by both Cayla Barnes and Makenna Newkirk. Just forty seconds later, Kali Flanagan doubled the Eagles’ lead, collecting a pass from Daryl Watts and finding the back of the net on a back-handed reach-around goal. The remainder of the period would prove to be uneventful, with the BC defense and goalie Maddy McArthur holding strong and maintaining the two-goal advantage until early in the third period.
The Huskies would get on the board early in the third period, with Morgan Wabick scoring on a wrist shot that deflected off of the crossbar to narrow the Eagles’ lead to 2-1. However, it did not take long for Boston College to respond with another scoring surge. Just eight minutes later, the Eagles would break through once again to seal a Game 1 victory.
At the eleven-minute mark, Megan Keller and Caitrin Lonergan entered the offensive zone and passed the puck back and forth before Lonergan found Keller for a goal that would sneak into the net’s high corner. A mere 23 seconds later, Makenna Newkirk deflected Jillian Fey’s shot past Huskies’ goalie Morgan Fisher to give the Eagles a 4-1 advantage that they would hold onto for the remainder of the game.
Friday night’s victory gave the Eagles an opportunity to close out the series with another win on Saturday night, but the Huskies seemed intent on getting revenge and keeping their season alive. However, the Eagles picked up where they left off in Game 1, with Lindsay Agnew scoring her fourteenth goal of the season just three minutes into the game to open the scoring and give Boston College an early 1-0 advantage.
After falling behind, UConn started to play with a sense of urgency, scoring three unanswered goals over the first and second period to take a 3-1 lead over the Eagles and put themselves in position to force a winner-take-all Game 3. As the second period drew to a close, Eagles forward Erin Connolly scored off a rebound with just one second to spare, narrowing the UConn lead to just one.
In the third period, the Eagles scored another two goals to reclaim the lead, with Connolly and Newkirk both finding the back of the net and securing a 4-3 Boston College lead. Looking to save their season, the Huskies pulled goalie Morgan Fisher from the goal in an act of desperation, and were able to tie the game at four goals apiece with the extra attacker.
The sudden-death overtime period gave each team an opportunity to take home a victory with a single goal. For the Eagles, a goal would earn them a trip to the Hockey East Tournament semifinals and a matchup with third-seeded Boston University. For the Huskies, a goal would salvage their season and push the series to Game 3. Ultimately, after nine scoreless minutes, overtime would work out in the Eagles’ favor, with forward Ryan Little scoring to give the Eagles a 5-4 victory.
Boston College will face Boston University on March 9 in the Hockey East semifinals, hoping to eventually secure a conference title and a high seed in the NCAA Women’s Hockey Tournament.
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