CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — From the onset of Friday afternoon’s start of the three-game-series between No. 1 Boston College and Maine, it was obvious that the series, or at least the first game, was going to be different from the three previous games the two teams had played earlier in the year.
Yet when the two teams met above the oversized BC logo at center ice to exchange postgame pleasantries, the result showing on the scoreboards at Kelley Rink was predictable: BC is now one game closer to playing in the Hockey East semifinals, and Maine will be fighting to continue its season Saturday evening.
On a two-goal afternoon by Makenna Newkirk, the Eagles took Game 1 of the women’s Hockey East quarterfinal 5-2.
“I think people expected us to come in here, lay over and get pummeled 10-1,” Maine coach Richard Richenbach said. “That’s not what this group is about. I think they fought hard, couple of different things, it could have been closer and it could have gone our way.”
Going into the matchup, the Black Bears had a week off following two losing efforts Valentine’s Day weekend against Connecticut. Reichenbach noted that the extra time allowed the Black Bears to look at more film and thus, allowed Maine to develop a game plan against the Eagles.
The result was a very competitive first period. Despite the Eagles outshooting the Black Bears 21-9, as is custom in many of BC’s games, Maine developed multiple scoring efforts.
One scoring effort in particular proved important for the Black Bears. Following a Kristyn Capizzano scoring effort early in the first period, Nicole Arnold equalized by cleaning up a puck that Katie Burt was unable to corral. The goal tied the game at one.
Yet BC was able to produce scoring chances of its own.
Moments after the Arnold goal, Meghan Grieves put a shot on goal that Meghann Treacy was unable to control. Tori Sullivan, crashing the net, was there to bury the rebound, and the Eagles went into the locker room at first intermission with a one-goal lead.
Maine responded early in the second period. On a transition play, Victoria Hummel, in the process of receiving a feed from Catherine Tufts, buried a puck past Burt, tying the game once again.
But the Black Bears could only hold the Eagles back for so long.
The Eagles, namely the second line, responded from the Hummel goal by posting three unanswered goals to put away the Black Bears.
It started with Newkirk.
Newkirk, alone on Tracey, meandered the puck across Treacy’s crease. With arms outstretched, Newkirk slipped the puck past Tracey, giving the Eagles the lead — a lead they would not relinquish.
The best goal of the night, however, did not come until early in the third.
Dana Trivigno chased after a puck in the Maine defensive zone before spinning around and backhanding a shot past Treacy.
“Makenna Newkirk had a really good forecheck,” Trivigno said. “She got on their defense pretty quickly, puck was able to bounce out, and I saw the defense coming at me one way, and I tried to get a backhander on net, just trying to create a rebound, and it happened to go in five hole, so just kind of lucky to get it in.”
The goal sealed the game for the Eagles, with the Newkirk empty netter almost academic in nature.
With the win, the Eagles pushed one game closer to the Hockey east semifinals in North Andover, Mass., a week from Saturday.
“I think [Maine] will throw at us what they threw at us today,” BC coach Katie Crowley said. “They’re going to go hard, they’re going to battle hard. They’re fighting for their lives, so they’re going to do anything that they can to keep control of that puck and put pucks on the net and create havoc in front of our net. I think they’re going to be a hungry team because they’re fighting.”