After four games, this was not the start that anyone in Storrs or possibly the entire Hockey East Conference expected.
The UConn women’s hockey program lost both of their first two Hockey East conference games against the Boston College Eagles after not having played last week. On Friday, Dec. 4, they lost 5-3 at the Freitas Ice Forum while losing 3-1 at the Kelley Center on Saturday, Dec. 5.
With the losses, Boston College (4-2-0, 4-0-0 Hockey East) leads the all-time series 40-19-10 while UConn (0-3-1, 0-2-0 Hockey East) hopes to rebound and improve in future weekend series.
Even without significant pieces on both sides, the gameplay was quite impressive.
Let us just dive right into the action and breakdown the events that unfolded over a 24-hour span.
12/4: Boston College 5, UConn 3
Boston College got things started and early. Down a woman after Maddie Crowley-Cahill took a 2-minute tripping call, the Eagles put a puck into the back of the net when Kelly Browne, one of three captains for the Eagles this season, finished off a Cayla Barnes ice-to-ice attack when Browne took the pass and tapped the puck into the net. For Browne, this was her second career short-handed goal.
The lead got worse for UConn as Hannah Bilka tipped a slapshot off the stick of Alexie Guay to double the lead to 2-0 and her goal total on the season. Already, Boston College had connected for two goals on seven shots in just 9:12 of game time.
However, 1:27 later, Savannah Bouzide got possibly the luckiest bounce of the game when her backhanded one-timer deflected over the goalie and behind the goal line. This was Bouzide’s third goal of the year and the lead was split in half after an assist from Jada Habisch.
For the rest of the period, it was all UConn and despite not scoring, they kept the Eagles on their toes.
UConn took their momentum straight into the second period as just 12 seconds in, Habisch intercepted a defensive pass from the Eagles and passed the puck over to Bouzide to place it in the net for her second goal of the game and fourth of the year. Habisch also earned her second point of the game off the assist.
It was hard to tell when the momentum shifted to the Eagles, but they did kill of a hooking penalty on Natalie Tulchinsky before proceeding to attack the UConn crease almost immediately after. While that was going on, Tulchinsky finished off a lengthy attack in front of the goalie for her first collegiate goal, a go-ahead goal, which was assisted by Jillian Fey and Hadley Hartmetz.
Boston College took that momentum well into the third period. Up 3-2, Browne found twine once again finishing off a beautiful pass from Savannah Norcross for her second goal of the game just under three minutes into the third. With that goal, Browne picked up her third career multi-goal game.
But the Eagles were not done yet, less than two minutes later, Tulchinsky continued her career game so far by scoring her second goal when she tipped in a goal that had just missed the net from Maddie Crowley-Cahill. From there on, it looked as though Boston College would run away with the game 5-2.
Less than ten seconds before the game concluded, Kate Klassen finished an offensive attack in front of the crease for her first collegiate goal to cut the deficit to 5-3, but that was the last play that could happen as the goal was too little too late.
Looking at the stats, UConn won 26 faceoffs compared to Boston College’s 19. Sam Carpenter-Yeile saved 26 shots on 31 tries while Boston College’s Maddy McArthur saved 36 shots on 39 tries, giving her the second star of the game.
12/5: Boston College 3, UConn 1
In this contest, the Huskies and Eagles hit the ground running right away. Both Tia Chan and Maddy McArthur got faced with a flurry of shots as both offenses got cooking for goals for a span of over eight minutes of game time.
However, Boston College went on the power play after Kathryn Stockdale got a two-minute minor for hooking 8:21 in, which Boston College took advantage of by scoring 21 seconds later from Olivia Finocchiaro, who effectively finished off a shot from Barnes.
UConn had a chance to tie the game in the first period with a 2-on-0 attack, but Maddy McArthur lunged to her left to save Natalie Snodgrass’ shot from going behind the crease.
Boston College just kept their momentum going throughout the rest of the period as they went back-and-forth the Huskies.
In the second period, Boston College doubled their lead, scoring their second goal 12:21 in when Savannah Norcross finished a back-and-forth sequence with Kelly Browne, giving Norcross her fourth goal of the year.
Less than two minutes later, Boston College would add one more as Browne took a pass from Norcross and scored on the breakaway to increase the lead to 3-0. This was Browne’s third goal in two games this weekend and fourth of the season.
UConn would not go away though, as the Huskies kept the deficit at three for the rest of the second period and the beginning of the third.
Then, 2:26 into the final period, Bouzide found the net once again as she shot the puck home from a pass by Viki Harkness. Together, the two skated up the ice before Harkness sent the puck over to Bouzide. Bouzide is leading the team with five goals this season, three of which came this weekend.
In terms of scoring, that was all she wrote, but both Chan and McArthur saved shots like crazy, nine for Chan and 14 for McArthur, to keep the game in favor of Boston College 3-1.
UConn did have opportunities to score with the extra attacker on the ice but could not find the back of the net despite having a 6-on-3 advantage at one point.
This time, UConn won 27 faceoffs compared to Boston College’s 21. McArthur saved 35 shots on 36 tries while Chan saved 24 shots on 27 tries. All three stars of the game went to members of the Boston College Eagles including McArthur, the third star of the game.
UConn did well in giving their team many chances to score and attacking the crease as much as possible.
The shot game was also impressive and although they lost both games, the Huskies did a magnificent job limiting Boston College on winning the shooting battle in both games. Combined, Boston College had 60 shots while UConn had 65.
The Huskies also successfully limited the Eagles’ powerplay for the most part, surrendering just one power play goal.
Assuming that there are no schedule changes, UConn takes on the Providence Friars (5-0-1, 2-0-0 Hockey East) again in a home-and-home series next weekend, but this time, it counts for the Hockey East standings. But then again, things change, and everyone must be flexible with that.