Game Recaps, Women's Hockey

WIH falls 5-3 in back-and-forth game against Boston College

An 11 a.m. start time with a Conte Forum one-third full of screaming middle and elementary school students – not the conditions that usually typify the Battle of Comm Ave. Nevertheless, an entertaining game presented, as it almost always does, in this rivalry matchup. 

The Boston University women’s hockey team fell 5-3 to the Boston College Eagles in Friday’s morning matchup, with the Terriers’ rival finding two goals to overcome a 3-3 tie late in third. 

“Obviously not the end result that we wanted, but there was a lot of good to take away from today,” BU head coach Tara Watchorn said postgame. 

Despite consistently strong goalie play from Alexa Matses and clutch scoring from the Terriers through the first 50 or so minutes, BU was sunk by a lack of effort preventing transition scoring from the Eagles late in the game. 

BC started off Friday’s early game hot, pushing the Terriers off the puck at every opportunity, and keeping the game in its offensive zone. 

Matses, the graduate transfer, kept Friday’s contest scoreless early in her sixth start of the season, bailing the Terriers out from their defensive lapses. 

“She really kept us in it,” Watchorn said. 

Past the 13 minute mark of the first, the Terriers got up 1-0 after a goal from sophomore forward Sydney Healey, with an assist from sophomore forward Lilli Welcke. 

Freshman BC defender Molly Jordan lost track of the puck while trying to flip it to her teammate, junior defender Annaka Mettler. Healey spotted it and intercepted, setting up her shot with Eagle defenders collapsing, before firing the puck into the right pocket of sophomore Grace Campbell’s goal.

“Obviously she can rip the puck,” Watchorn said about Healey, “We tried her in a little bit of a different line today, I like how they clicked.”

From that goal on, the Terriers grabbed the momentum they’d been missing early, outshooting BC 5-4 for the remainder of the period. Even with a power play for the Eagles to end the first, after an interference call against Madison Cardaci, the Terriers kept their lead going into intermission. 

The 1-0 first period was huge for the Terriers after a series of slow starts in previous games, something the team hoped to improve on in this one. 

“I think we’re just continuing to grow and believe in ourselves as a team,” Watchorn said of her team’s play early in the game. 

Watchorn also attributed the hot start to the setting of the game. 

“It’s never hard to get up for a Battle of Comm Ave and a lot of screaming kids in the stands,” she continued. 

Boston College tied it up early in the second, off a goal from junior Katie Pyne. Pyne had the puck behind Matses, attempted a pass to her teammates that was deflected off Matses’ stick. Pyne grabbed the rebound and shot it past Matses’ glove. 

The Terriers quickly found a response with a goal from sophomore forward Clara Yuhn, assisted by senior Lacey Martin. Martin bombed the puck towards the net from above the left circle, Yuhn, idling net front, tipped it in to ensure the BU goal at 3:45. 

Through an up and down period for both teams, Matses was a steadying force for the Terriers. She gave BU a critical 11 saves in the period, including a highlight play stopping a breakaway chance from Sammy Taber. 

“She was tracking pucks well, her glove, she was making great saves,” Watchorn said.

Graduate forward Sammy Smigliani evened the contest up 2-2 for the Eagles at 13:31 of the second period. 

As Smilgliani drove towards the net, sophomore defender Brooke Disher was caught flat footed, and could only watch as Smigliani pushed the puck past Matses. The Terriers were simply late defensively on this play and turned what could’ve been an easy block or save into an equalizer for BC. 

The Terriers were outshot 18-12 in the period but managed to head off to intermission with the score still tied. 

The first few minutes of the third were quiet for both teams, until 5:36 when sophomore forward Katie Ham gave BC the lead again. Ham skated, uninterrupted, through the neutral zone and up to the net where she got an easy shot to put the Eagles up 3-2. 

The play was a head-scratching defensive lapse for the Terriers, as the defenders sleepwalked up into their zone barely making an attempt to catch up with Ham. 

“We’re playing six right now, and, so, I think [our defenders] are getting a lot of minutes. I like their effort in the D-zone, I think in transition we got caught a few times,” Watchorn said. 

BU got itself back into it thereafter, capitalizing off an interference call against sophomore defender Cailin Flyn, with a goal from freshman Neely Nicholson on the power play to make it 3-3. Nicholson banged the shot in high above Campbell’s glove. 

The Terriers put a flurry of shots on net, outshooting BC 7-2 while trying to grab another before the final five minutes of the period.

Senior forward Gaby Roy tipped in a shot from Smigliani to put the Eagles up 4-3 at 16:05 of the third. The Terriers challenged the play for a potential offsides, but after a lengthy review the ruling was upheld. 

The Terriers desperately searched for another equalizer to end the period but were stifled at every turn by a tight BC defense. 

An empty net goal from Eagle Abby Newhook shut the door on any hope for a Terrier comeback, ending the game at a 5-3 score.

“We had some Grade-A quality scoring chances in the third. I think, overall, in the third period, I was impressed with us and obviously that one breakdown led to a goal,” Watchorn said. 

The Terriers will play another game on short rest tomorrow afternoon in Providence, when asked what the team will take from today into tomorrow Watchorn said, “I think continued growth of our special teams, ready to go off the start, and just one day better.”

Puck drop is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. tomorrow at Schneider Arena in Providence. There will be full continued coverage on the blog so follow along on Twitter (X) @BOShockeyblog and Instagram

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