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BOSTON – It seemed only fitting, following a thrilling doubleheader Saturday at Walter Brown Arena, that Sunday’s Hockey East championship game shared the same flair for the dramatic.
Andie Anastos, who already made her way into Boston College women’s hockey lore with her double-overtime game-winning goal against Vermont Saturday, cemented her name in Hockey East Tournament history, beating Brittany Bugalski early in the first overtime to win Hockey East championship for No. 6 Boston College, defeating the Northeastern Huskies 2-1.
“[Scoring the game-winner Sunday] is a little bit better because we just won a trophy,” Anastos said. “Everyone worked so hard, and everyone played so well that entire game, like [Katie] Burt making huge saves. Everyone played awesome.”
The game started out with a Northeastern onslaught of shots. BC, which had just played a double-overtime game the day before, had trouble getting the puck out of the defensive zone.
“I think it was just adjusting to playing against Vermont and Northeastern,” Anastos said. “I think we felt that they’re a different team, and they play in different ways, so it is just readjusting to a different team.”
Thanks to the play of eventual all-tournament goaltender Katie Burt, the Eagles escaped the first period only surrendering one goal, a Kasidy Anderson strike on a counterattack.
The second period, however, proved different, as the Eagles matched up to the speed of the Huskies. The efforts of the Eagles were rewarded as, just under three minutes into the second period on a power play, Kali Flanagan rifled a shot through traffic from the point, sneaking it past Bugalski into the Northeastern net, tying the game, and setting the stage for a dramatic finish to the championship game.
Yet nothing ultimately came to fruition in the third period, as both goaltenders made a bevy of difficult saves, keeping the score deadlocked, forcing an overtime period, the third time that the Hockey East women’s championship was decided in overtime.
In the overtime, the Eagles left nothing to chance, dominating play. The Huskies didn’t even register a shot attempt in the entire (albeit short) overtime.
“I don’t know if it was nerves or if it was that we were tired, maybe a little bit of both,” Northeastern coach Dave Flint said. “We fumbled the puck a bunch of times, we turned it over, we couldn’t get it out of our own end. I think part of it was that they ramped it up, and we were a little tired, but we were also a little bit nervous.”
For the Eagles, playing in their fourth-straight Hockey East championship game, being battle-tested proved advantageous.
“They’re a championship-tested team,” Flint said. “That does play into it, a situation like that in overtime.”
In the end, it was “Captain Clutch” who once again had a flair for the dramatic. Shooting from just at the top of the faceoff circle, Anastos fired a shot through traffic, beating Bugalski, and sending the BC bench and faithful at Walter Brown Arena into delirium. Following a lengthy review, the goal was confirmed, giving the Eagles the victory, the auto-bid, and potentially home ice in the first round if some media predictions come to fruition.
For the Huskies, however, the season ended with the Anastos goal. Mathematically eliminated from an NCAA tournament at-large bid, the Huskies needed the Hockey East auto-bid to extend their season. With that out of the picture, the season is now effectively over.
“Obviously I’m disappointed with the outcome, but I’m pleased with the way my team played and battled the entire game, giving BC everything they could handle,” Flint said.