DURHAM, N.H. — Boston College sealed its first NCAA tournament championship appearance in a come-from-behind overtime win against Clarkson 3-2 on Friday afternoon.
The goal, a minute into overtime from Haley Skarupa, keeps the Eagles’ perfect 40-0-0 record intact in their fifth Frozen Four appearance in the last six years.
That return, for much of the game, did not look guaranteed.
“That was one heck of a hockey game,” Boston College head coach Katie Crowley said. “I was so proud of our players. That Clarkson team’s an unbelievable team, and they played us tough. I don’t think we’ve been down by two goals too many times this season.”
Clarkson got the jump on Boston College, scaring the national leader. Rhyen McGill got the scoring started at 2:27 of the first, as she caught sophomore goalie Katie Burt tracking the puck in from the corner. The second came from a pretty goal by Cayley Mercer for her 25th of the year.
After picking up the two goal lead, Clarkson locked down on defense, clogging the passing lanes for Boston College with bodies and sticks. Defenseman Erin Ambrose lead the Golden Knights in blocked shots, holding 10 of the 24 stops.
“We knew we had to take time and space away from them,” Ambrose said. “I was just fortunate to get in the lanes.”
The nation’s leading offense, posting more than five goals a game, was being held back. Fortunately for the Eagles, sophomore goaltender Katie Burt was handling shots well, stopping 34 Golden Knight attempts.
“When you get into these kinds of situations with pretty strong teams, if you fall behind too much it’s going to be pretty difficult to get back into it,” Clarkson head coach Matt Desrosiers said. “It was definitely a focus for us to start strong.”
Clarkson spent a majority of the middle period in the penalty box, having five minors assessed against them, including a five-on-three for [ ]. Boston College was not able to score on the advantage at all, going 0-for-7 on the power play in the game.
“I thought our players did a great job on the penalty kill tonight. We were in some tough situations there, and this is something that our players have done this season, not just tonight. They find ways to get the job done in big moments,” Desrosiers said. “I thought tonight to keep their power play off the board was pretty big.”
It marks the end of the run for a Clarkson Golden Knights team looking to repeat with its second title in three years, after taking home the hardware in 2013.
“We had six freshmen come in at the beginning of the season and just own their role and prove their mark on the team,” Mercer said. “We can take away so much from what we’ve learned here coming back to the Frozen Four and we can build on the experience that we’ve had here.”
For Boston College, a sense of urgency translated into their play, but not into their mentality going into overtime, knowing the season was on the line.
“These players put everything they had into that and they weren’t gonna let it happen today. They weren’t going to lose and that’s what it felt like the whole game,” Crowley said. “They weren’t going to lose, they weren’t going to let this one slip through their fingers.”