The eighth-ranked Boston College women’s hockey team opened their season on the road with two strong wins over Merrimack College this weekend. In Friday night’s opener, the Eagles shut out the Warriors 2-0, and on Saturday afternoon earned a 3-1 victory.
Sophomore goalie Maddy McArthur earned her sixth career shutout in Friday night’s season opener, with an impressive 25 saves in what was an all-around stellar defensive performance by BC.
The Warriors and Eagles traded shots throughout the first period, with neither team able to get the puck past the opposing goalie. Merrimack took twelve shots on goal in the first period compared to BC’s eleven shots on goal. Both offenses looked like they were still warming up and getting their bearings in the first minutes of their respective seasons.
The second period opened with a more physicality, with the two teams committing seven total penalties in the second frame. Despite both sides seeing plenty of power play time, neither team was able to capitalize on the man advantage.
Savannah Norcross, however, was able to open the scoring on a power play late in the second period to put the Eagles up 1-0. She was assisted by Lindsay Agnew, who faked a wrist shot before finding Norcross.
Merrimack player Dominika Laskova was handed a major boarding penalty and ultimately ejected from the game after hitting BC’s Delaney Belinskas into the edge of an open bench door. Belinskas was down on the ice for a full 15 minutes with what appeared to be a back injury before eventually being stretchered off. The senior assistant captain recorded 20 points for the Eagles last year.
The third period of Friday night’s game was similarly uneventful to the first period. Maddy McArthur had a number of saves late in the period, as Merrimack was trying to play catch-up. The Warriors pulled their goalie within the last two minutes of play, trying to overcome the one-goal deficit. However, freshman Caroline DiFiore scored her first career goal for the Eagles on an empty net to put the Eagles up 2-0 for the win.
The Hockey East foes met again at Merrimack College on Saturday afternoon, with three different Eagles scoring to contribute to a 3-1 win.
Merrimack started off strong in the first period of play, notching the first goal of the game with five minutes left in the opening frame. McArthur made the initial save but Merrimack’s Gabby Jones took control of the rebound as more Warriors converged on the net.
That lead wouldn’t last long, as two minutes later on a power play, Hannah Bilka found Hadley Hartmetz for a picture-perfect slap shot right to the top left corner of the net. This was the freshman’s first career goal, which knotted the game at one goal apiece early on.
Savannah Norcross added a second Boston College goal late in the second period on another power play conversion. After an aggressive offensive period for the Eagles, Norcross scored her second consecutive game-winning goal off of a pass from DiFiore.
Olivia Finocchiaro effectively ended the game as soon as the last period began. Bilka quickly brought the puck up the ice and dished it to Cayla Barnes, who passed it to Finocchiaro to give the Eagles a 3-1 lead just under a minute into the period. Barnes also had the secondary assist on Norcross’s goal, tallying her second assist of the day.
For the rest of the game, BC played suffocating defense and prevented Merrimack from tallying any more points. McArthur ended the contest with 23 saves, making 11 of those in the third. Merrimack once again pulled their goalie in the final minutes, but a sixth attacker was not enough to overcome a two-goal deficit.
BC rises to a perfect 2-0-0 record after two dominant wins this weekend. The Eagles will travel to Holy Cross this Thursday to take on the Crusaders in another crucial Hockey East game.
Be sure to follow @BCGavelSports for all of the latest updates to Boston College athletics.