In one of the marquee matchups of the weekend, Northeastern hosted Boston College for the first time this season. And for the first time since Jan. 11, 2014, these two teams played to a tie, with a final score of 2-2.
Kristyn Capizzano scored her sixth goal of the season to open things up for the Eagles, with both assists coming from freshmen phenoms Caitrin Lonergan and Delaney Belinskas. Capizzano and Lonergan extended their point streaks to eight and six games, respectively.
McKenna Brand answered 42 seconds later for the Huskies with her 12th goal of the year. Scoring would cease until six minutes into the second, when Kenzie Kent scored her first career shorthanded goal off a feed from Andie Anastos to put the Eagles ahead.
Northeastern would not lie down, as Brand scored her own shorthanded goal for her 13th of the year, best in the conference.
The two teams battled ferociously throughout the third to end the contest, but Katie Burt and Brittany Bugalski were stalwart between the pipes. Bugalski recorded a career-high 36 saves, while Burt made 28 saves of her own.
Powerless Power Plays
Both teams were ineffective on the man-advantage. Boston College was 0-7, going on the power play in each period and overtime. Northeastern was 0-5, but on multiple occasions the Huskies negated an advantage by taking a minor penalty of their own. Each team scored a shorthanded goal — Northeastern’s was its sixth of the year, which is the most by any team in the NCAA.
Neither team was particularly effective in generating shots on goal while on the power play. Boston College tallied five and was held without a shot three times, while Northeastern recorded six shots across their five tries. Both teams were doing a good job of moving the puck around the offensive zone, but a number of shot attempts were just wide of the net or blocked by defenders.
Huskies head coach Dave Flint was pleased with his team’s effort on Sunday, calling the players “gutsy” and saying this was their most complete game of the year. “I’m really happy with the way the penalty kill was. That’s a really good power play that they have, and to keep them 0-for-7 is pretty good,” Flint remarked on his special teams. Flint also seemed displeased with the NU power play, saying, “We should start declining power plays.”
Eagles head coach Katie Crowley was also happy with her team and acknowledged the challenge Northeastern presented. “Their team battled hard. Every shift they come after you hard and fast,” she noted. “They put us in some situations that we haven’t been this year, but I thought we handled it well.”
Crowley thought her team had opportunities to make it 3-1 after Kent’s goal, but did not seem terribly disappointed with the outcome, calling it a great hockey game. She spoke highly of Belinskas and Ryan Little for creating the scoring opportunity on Kent’s goal, claiming it was great play for a freshman and a sophomore.
And Flint’s thoughts on their game this coming Saturday?
“I think we need to stay out of the penalty box.”
Barbito’s Brutal Truth
This was one of the better Hockey East games of the season from any team. Northeastern and Boston College typically play each other close (Beanpot and NCAAs notwithstanding), and with increasing parity in the conference, this matchup looks like one that either team can win.
Both teams exhibited effective even-strength offense, and each team had blueliners able to step up on the play and go to work. Goaltending was solid on both sides of the ice, and everyone in arena was on the edge of their seats in the third period and overtime.
The two teams meet again on Saturday, so Flint and Crowley will need to use this coming week effectively to study the tape and make adjustments. This game could have easily been decided by a puck bouncing a different direction.
The Eagles and Huskies will be back in action this Saturday, Nov. 26, at 2 p.m. at Matthews Arena.