BOSTON — As the final minute of the first period wore down, Boston College defenseman Blake Bolden received the puck from forward Danielle Welch at the bottom of the left circle. She wound up and fired it to the back of the net over goaltender Florence Schelling’s glove. The power-play goal gave the Eagles the lead, which they would keep for the rest of the game to beat Northeastern University and win their first Hockey East title.
“Blake is unbelievably talented,” said coach Katie King. “The thing that Blake brings is that offensive side of her. That’s one of our plays, on the power play for her to come down there. She shoots the puck harder than probably anyone I’ve ever seen in women’s hockey.”
Just a couple minutes prior, Bolden had kept Northeastern from breaking the 1-1 tie. Goaltender Molly Schaus got caught out of position, leaving an open net for forward Casey Pickett. Bolden dove in front of the net, hitting Pickett’s stick and stopping the shot.
Most of the game’s action occurred in the first period. Northeastern struck first, eight minutes into the game. Pickett brought the puck into the zone and skated at the goal. Schaus slid to the right and Pickett’s shot flew between her legs.
Welch answered five minutes later for BC. She skated across the zone, maneuvering around a defender. She then shot for the far corner of the net and snuck it past Schelling’s stick.
Forward Taylor Wasylk tacked on another goal in the third to seal the victory for the Eagles. Forward Mary Restuccia fed her the puck directly in front of the goal and Wasylk, who also scored a goal yesterday, sent it over Schelling’s stick.
The title was the first for Boston College, who has now appeared in the championship game three times since 2006.
“Our kids did what we asked them to do; they worked hard for 60 minutes and came out with a great win for our team, our program, and everyone who supports BC,” said King. “We knew it was going to be tough after an overtime game yesterday. We knew we might be a little tired, but they pushed through and worked extremely hard for 60 minutes to get it done.”
To get to the title, the Eagles had to go through two impressive goalies. Providence’s Genevieve Lacasse set a new league record for saves in a playoff game against BC the day before. She beat the record set by Schelling a few hours prior; Schelling also set a record for most saves in a game the day before.
“We knew she was a good goalie, so Coach told us to put a lot of shots on net,” said Welch. “After dealing with a tough goalie yesterday too, we knew that we just needed get shots and getting the puck deep to get shots.”
Schelling’s performance, 90 saves, earned her a place on the all-tournament team. Bolden, one goal; Northeastern defenseman Julia Marty, one goal; Pickett, one goal and two assists; BU forward Jenn Wakefield, two goals; and BC forward Kelli Stack, one goal two assists, rounded out the rest of the team.
Stack also earned the tournament MVP for her game-winning overtime goal yesterday and an assist in each game. She became the first player to win the tournament MVP and the Hockey East Player of the Year in the same year.
“It’s been long awaited,” Stack said about winning the championship. “It’s a great feeling, and I’m going to remember it for the rest of my life.”
Northeastern forward Kristie Kehoe was hurt in the second period after being checked into the boards by Mary Restuccia. Kehoe hurt her ankle and had to be carried off the ice. She did not return to the game, leaving the Huskies with only 10 healthy forwards for the rest of the game.
The team tired and was unable to mount a strong attack in the third period, according to coach Dave Flint.
“BC skates very well; they’re fast so they pressure you,” he said. “So, you’ve got to think a lot quicker. It’s how quickly you can make a decision, and it compounds itself when you get tired.”
The Eagles scored with six minutes left in the game and then found themselves on a power play for most of the last two minutes, which helped them breathe easier. It took contributions from the whole team, Welch was the only player who recorded two points in the game, but the Eagles came away with the tournament title.