It's hard to believe the end of the regular season is already here. Seems like just yesterday that the 2016-17 NC Women's Hockey campaign was just beginning. Now, only a handful of teams are left standing to compete in the postseason.
From Boston University's offensive explosion in a redemptive win against Northeastern to Union's Amelia Murray's heroic efforts in net against tenth-ranked Quinnipiac, here are some of the best stories of the week.
[divider]OFFENSE OF THE WEEK
After giving up a pair of losses to Northeastern the last time these two Hockey East foes met, Boston University came out firing, intent on getting another tally in the win column.
The contest began with an early Huskies goal, tallied by Paige Savage before the five-minute mark in the opening frame. The early lead was quickly diminished however as the Terriers responded first with a power-play goal and then, 54 seconds later, with an even-strength tally. Nina Rodgers and Maddie Elia earned credit for the two lamplighters respectively.
Entering the second frame with a 2-1 lead, the Terriers scored quickly once again to further the divide. After getting outshot by the Huskies in the opening period, 8-7, Boston University stepped up their offensive aggression, unloading 15 shots to Northeastern’s 10.
After giving up two more goals, Northeastern netminder Brittany Bugalski exited the game and was relieved by Sarah Foss, who saw a power-play opportunity by the Terriers converted before the start of second intermission.
With the score at 5-1 entering the third, neither team managed to find the back of the net quickly, with 10 scoreless minutes flying by before Northeastern lit the lamp again to shrink the deficit to three goals. Just 30 seconds passed however before Boston University’s Mary Parker notched her second goal of the game to gain back ground for the Terriers.
Boston University tallied once more to take the 7-2 victory. Six different Terriers found the back of the net in the contest. Bugalski and Foss combined for 26 saves while Boston University’s Victoria Hanson recorded 26 stops as well.
[divider]DEFENSE OF THE WEEK
Courtesy Union College Athletics
Going into the weekend, most if not all hockey fans probably saw tenth-ranked Quinnipiac’s matchup against five-win Union and decided that it would be an easy victory for the Bobcats. But although Quinnipiac did grab the home-field win, it certainly didn’t come easily.
Against Dutchwomen netminder Amelia Murray, the Bobcats unleashed an offensive barrage, peppering the first-year goalie with 50 shots through 60 minutes.
In the first period alone, the Quinnipiac offense recorded 19 shots to Union’s paltry four, but the scoreboard remained blank thanks to Murray’s career-best effort.
Quinnipiac finally got on the board midway through the second frame after forward Abby Cleary got a chance off the rebound and found the back of the net. Murray made 12 saves to finish out the period.
The final frame stayed scoreless as Murray turned aside all 18 shots that she faced while at the other end of the ice, Bobcats goaltender Sydney Rossman easily defended against the two shots Union sent her way, and Quinnipiac ended up with the 1-0 victory.
Rossman earned a shutout with the win, making 10 saves in the effort. Neither team gave up a power-play goal despite plenty of chances.
The Dutchwomen finish their 2016-17 campaign with a record of 5-28-1, while Quinnipiac (20-8-3) looks toward the ECAC Tournament.
[divider]UPSET OF THE WEEK
Providence over Boston College[divider]
The Eagles started the contest wrong-footed right off the bat, with the Friars snatching a one-goal lead just 54 seconds into the first period. Providence’s Christina Putigna earned credit for the tally after her pass deflected off of a Boston College defender’s skate and then past netminder Katie Burt into the net.
Providence forward Kathleen McHugh earned two points in the opening frame, first on an assist and then lighting the lamp herself with just over five minutes remaining before intermission. One-on-one with Burt, McHugh managed to get the puck up and in to grab a 2-0 lead for her team.
Facing an early two-goal deficit, Boston College attempted to rally in the second period, getting on the board for the first time as Delaney Belinskas tallied her 15th goal of the season. The power-play marker put the Eagles within one early in the second frame, but Providence quickly answered after a turnover by BC near the blue line.
In the third, BC nearly got within one again but the goal was called off due to a high sticking penalty. The Friars scored once again, with McHugh earning her third point of the day after finding the back of the net once more. Her insurance goal was the final marker of the contest, and Providence grabbed the 4-1 win.
With the victory, Providence snapped the Eagles’ 15-game winning streak in contests between the two teams, earning their first win against BC since November 2012.
Friars netminder Madison Myers made 32 saves in the contest while Burt had 18 stops. The two teams meet again Sunday afternoon to close out the regular season.
The Big Red skated out with early momentum in the contest, grabbing a quick 1-0 lead thanks to a power-play tally by forward Brianna Veerman. Six minutes passed before the Golden Knights answered with a lamp-lighter of their own, but the tie was short-lived as Cornell found the back of the net on a man-advantage opportunity once again just two minutes later. With another power-play tally in the waning seconds of the period, the Big Red left the ice with a 3-1 lead.
Much of the second frame stayed scoreless, with both teams held off of the scoreboard through the first 18:53. Then, on a man-advantage opportunity, Clarkson got the spark they were looking for as Cayley Mercer scored twice in 13 seconds to bring the Golden Knights back to even.
In the third, both teams scored one goal apiece, tallied with 1:03 of each other, necessitating an overtime period.
Just 46 seconds passed in the extra period before Clarkson’s Loren Gabel found the back of the net to finish the comeback victory for her team. With the win, the Golden Knights earned their first overtime win of the season. Previously, they had been 0-1-5 in overtime games.
In total, nine goals were scored in the contest, with five of those tallies occurring in man-advantage opportunities. Clarkson edged Cornell in shots on goal, with 30 to the Big Red’s 17. Golden Knights netminder Shea Tiley had 13 saves in the win while Cornell’s Paul Voorheis made 25 stops.
With that, Clarkson will head into the ECAC Quarterfinals on a high note to face Rensselaer while Cornell will host Colgate to begin the playoffs.