Women’s NCAA tournament first round preview: Boston College vs. St. Lawrence
Can St. Lawrence pull off the upset against the Eagles?
The NCAA tournament is coming to Boston (well Chestnut Hill) as the Boston College Eagles face off against the St. Lawrence Saints. Both teams have had their ups and downs this season, but have proven themselves national title contenders. This is sure to be an intense game, as each team looks to book a ticket to the Women’s Frozen Four in St. Charles, MO.
After a phenomenal season last year, Boston College came just short of the national championship after falling to Minnesota in the finals. With the sting of a one-loss season on their minds, the Eagles came back strong and proved they are still one of the best teams in the country. With a 27-5-5 overall record (17-4-3 WHEA) and coming off a thrilling overtime victory to Northeastern, BC is hoping to get its first NCAA title.
With Katie Burt backing the Eagles, any team will have a hard time scoring. Leading Hockey East in both GAA (1.60) and SV% (.931) she has been the difference between victory and defeat for the Eagles this season. In the Hockey East semifinals, Burt made 28 saves in the double overtime win against Vermont. In the finals against Northeastern, Burt’s 31 stops led BC to another overtime victory. With her in net, it will take a lot of skill, and a little luck, for St. Lawrence to get the puck past her.
Not only do the Eagles have a stellar netminder in Burt, they also have an amazing offensive talent in Andie Anastos. The Whale draft pick is having another great season, with 40 points (15G, 25A) in 37 games. Most recently, Anastos scored the overtime goals in both the semifinals and finals. This effort earned her the honors of Hockey East Player of the Week, as well as tournament MVP. With her as an offensive threat, the Eagles will fight for their spot in Frozen Four.
Back in the tournament
For the first time since 2012, and the ninth time in program history, the St. Lawrence Saints will be in the NCAA tournament. Despite falling to Cornell 3-1 in the ECAC semifinals, the Saints managed to snag an at-large bid to get into the tournament. With a 26-5-4 overall record (16-3-3 ECAC), St. Lawrence has proven to be a threat in the highly competitive ECAC and in the nation overall.
With senior Brooke Webster upfront, the Saints will have a strong offensive presence. Webster leads the ECAC in scoring with 23 goals and 34 assists in 35 games. Her 57 points this year far exceeded the 37 point mark last season. She is on a four game point streak, including notching the lone goal for the Saints in the ECAC semifinals. St. Lawrence will rely heavily on Webster’s offensive talent as they look to down the Eagles.
St. Lawrence also has a solid blueliner in senior Kirsten Padalis. Padalis has 22 points (5G, 17A) in 35 games, up from her career high 13 her sophomore season. She leads ECAC defensemen in plus minus with a +37 rating. In the quarterfinal series against Yale, Padalis had the assists on both game-winning goals. With these two phenomenal players, St. Lawrence hopes to get back into the Frozen Four for the first time since the 2006-2007 season.
It will be a close game at Conte Forum. Both teams have the talent to win the game but I think the home crowd gives Boston College the slight edge. The Eagles take this game 2-1 in a hard fought battle.