BOSTON — Boston College forward Kelli Stack got on the ice on a line change and immediately grabbed the puck as Providence College attempted to clear it. She charged for the goal and sent a shot between goaltender Genevieve Lacasse’s legs. The puck bounced off the post, then off Lacasse into the net.
That goal, BC’s 61st shot of the night, came 12 minutes into overtime and gave the Eagles a hard-fought for 3-2 victory in the Hockey East semifinals.
“I just wanted to score as quickly as I could because I knew we were getting pretty tired,” said Stack. “There was one defenseman to beat, so I just tried to get it on net. I figured if I go five-hole it at least has a chance of going in and sure enough it did.”
The game started on an entirely different note. Neither team recorded a shot on goal through the first few minutes of the game. Once the Eagles started, they did not stop, but still they could not manage a goal.
Providence clogged the lanes very efficiently and the defense blocked 11 of BC’s attempted shots in the first half. However, it only blocked one in the second period and two in the third, as more of BC’s shots got through to Lacasse.
“The way they play defensively, they do block a lot of shots, they get in front of a lot of shots, and that’s just part of their D-zone coverage,” said BC coach Katie King. “For us, it was just trying to get more shots and more shots. That was just a focus of ours, to get a lot of shots on net and get the rebounds.”
Stack also cited nerves as a reason that less of the shots in the first period got through to the net than later on, when they had 21 shots in the second period.
The Eagles had more than 35 shots on goal before they scored their first goal, in the third period, but both teams saw a burst of scoring in the third frame.
Forward Melissa Bizzari started it off six and half minutes in. Mary Restuccia fed her the puck at the top of the right circle and she shot it in over Lacasse’s stick-side shoulder.
The Eagles then got themselves in a bit of trouble with two quick penalties. Forward Danielle Welch was called for hitting from behind with just under nine minutes left. About 20 seconds later, Restuccia found herself in the box for body checking.
Thirty seconds into the five-on-three advantage, Providence defenseman Jennifer Friedman took a one-timer from just in front of the blue line, firing the puck over goaltender Molly Schaus’s stick-side shoulder.
As the advantage expired, the Friars struck again. Forward Abby Gauthier sent the puck past Schaus’s glove from the bottom of the right circle to give Providence a one-goal lead.
The Eagles kept shooting, trying to tie the game back up. With six minutes left, Bizzari let the puck float in front of her, prompting Lacasse to dive into the play to try to cover it up. Before she could do so, forward Taylor Wasylk tapped it into the net, setting up the overtime.
Providence started the extra frame down a player serving a penalty for a protocal violation. The Friars failed to appear on the ice in time after the intermission, a mistake for which coach Bob Derany took credit.
Lacasse saved 58 of BC’s 61 shots, breaking the conference record for saves in a playoff game, which had been set just three and half hours earlier by Northeastern’s Florence Schelling. Also, Lacasse set new school records for career saves, in only her third year, with 2,582 saves.
“Just keep going, I guess,” Lacasse said of surviving the barrage of shots. “It didn’t really feel like that many. You just get in a tempo and just keep going and trying to control rebounds and do the simple things.”
She certainly did keep going. Her performance in the goal frustrated BC’s offense, which could not seem to get a puck past her. They had hoped that 61 shots would result in more than 3 goals, according to Stack. However, it was not enough to worry Schaus, who knew her offense would find a way to come out on top.
“I just knew if they put a lot of shots on her, eventually Stack’s going to score a goal for us,” she said. “You can’t hold her back the whole game. You know she’s got that overtime winner.”