By: Jarett Leonard
In the Women’s Hockey East semifinal and championship games, Boston College was locked in defensive battles that both required extra time to decide winners. But in both contests, it was senior captain Andie Anastos who was the hero for the Eagles.
BC finally took care of Vermont three minutes into double overtime of the semifinal when recently named Hockey East Player of the Year Megan Keller’s shot was deflected perfectly to Anastos, who turned a backhander through Catamount senior goaltender Madison Litchfield to propel BC to the final. The next day against Northeastern, Anastos collected the puck along the left wing boards, cut across the top of the slot and fired a wrist shot past Northeastern sophomore netminder Brittany Bugalski for the title-clinching goal.
The win marked the second consecutive Hockey East championship and third overall for the Eagles, who receive an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. BC is the No. 4 seed in the national tournament and will host No. 5 St. Lawrence at Conte Forum on Saturday afternoon with a trip to the Frozen Four on the line.
The Eagles jumped out to an early advantage in Saturday’s semifinal as goals from junior Kenzie Kent and freshman Caitrin Lonergan gave BC a 2-0 lead two minutes into the second period. Junior Taylor Willard then put Vermont on the board with a power play goal, but sophomore Makenna Newkirk answered less than four minutes later to restore BC’s two-goal lead.
But Vermont responded to tie the game and eventually force overtime. Willard’s shot from the line was kicked away by junior goaltender Katie Burt but right to the tape of freshman Ali O’Leary, who slid it over the line late in the second period. In the third, junior Amanda Drobot threw the puck toward the goal where it deflected off sophomore Alyssa Gorecki and tumbled over the line for the tying goal. From there, over 36 minutes passed before Anastos sealed BC’s victory in double overtime.
Northeastern struck first late in the first period of the title game on a goal by sophomore Kasidy Anderson. After Bugalski made a save, Anderson collected the rebound, drove past the BC defense and fired a shot top shelf to give the Huskies their only lead of the contest.
BC evened the score early in the middle frame when junior Kali Flanagan found the net on a one-timer from long-range after a feed from sophomore Grace Bizal, and after a scoreless third, Anastos’ heroics captured the title for the Eagles.
Northeastern advanced to the championship game with a 2-1 win over Boston University in the second semifinal on Saturday. Midway through the second period, gradate student Mary Parker put the puck into the crease, where senior Maddie Elia and junior Victoria Bach were jamming at it. Eventually the puck crossed the line, and Bach was credited with the power play goal that gave BU a lead.
That score held until late in the third period when freshman Matti Hartman let a shot go that first was stopped by senior goaltender Victoria Hanson, but it popped up in the crease where junior Halle Silva knocked it out of the air and in for the tying goal.
Then with under a minute remaining, freshman Codie Cross fired a wrist shot from the right side, and Hanson did not get enough of it to prevent the game-winning goal.
With BC capturing Hockey East’s automatic bid for the NCAA tournament, Northeastern, Vermont and BU are now done for the year as all three are outside the top-eight in the Pairwise rankings.