No. 2 women’s hockey wins season opener against No. 9 BC, 4-1


Sarah Olender

Huskies win 4-1 to Boston College in their first game of the winter season.

George Barker, news staff

Despite the fact that their opponent had played six games already this season, the No. 2 women’s hockey team knocked off No. 9 Boston College Friday afternoon in their season opener. The Huskies scored four straight, shaking off a slow first period to win with a score of 4-1. 

“I feel great that we got on the ice, and that the girls got to play a game,” said head coach Dave Flint. “The victory was the icing on the cake.”

At the start of the first period, the Huskies showed a bit of rust, particularly in their own zone. Breakouts didn’t look quite as crisp as they did a season ago, and there were a few turnovers around the Husky net. Once the first intermission concluded though, the Huskies turned it on, and by the third period, there was no doubt which team was the more talented of the two on the ice in Chestnut Hill. 

“I thought we were banging the rust off in the first period, and we got better each period. The third period was definitely our best,” Flint said. “There were too many turnovers, we just weren’t moving the puck quick enough. When you haven’t played a game in that long, it’s different from practice.”

All four of the Huskies’ goals came in the final two periods, with three coming in the third. Redshirt senior forward Andrea Renner potted the tying goal late in the second, and sophomore forward Katy Knoll gave the Huskies the lead early in the third. Sophomore forward Kate Holmes and junior superstar center Alina Mueller each provided insurance goals later in the final period. 

The Eagles kept NU at bay for much of the period and worked a strong forecheck to keep the Huskies pinned in their own zone for stretches. Senior goaltender Aerin Frankel stood tall though, turning away a shot right in front after a Husky turnover, and later on stopping a ripper that came to her through traffic from the point. She finished the contest with 25 stops, with 12 coming in the first period, but the Eagles were able to get one past her as the period winded down. 

Junior blueliner Jilian Fey gave the Eagles their lone goal of the afternoon. Reigning WHCA Rookie of the Year and now sophomore forward Hannah Bilka scooped up a Husky turnover and buzzed through the Husky zone, launching a backhander off of Frankel’s mask. A strong seal on the post kept Bilka off the board, but the puck was cleared to Fey, who sent a shot through traffic and into the back of the net. 

The Huskies had some bright spots in the first though, most notably coming from the first line. Mueller and freshman winger Ani Fitzgerald teamed up on a rush, and as the duo converged on the net, Mueller hit Fitzgerald with a potential backdoor opportunity. Fitzgerald had to adjust to the pass a bit, backskating and handling it with her backhand as she attempted to get the puck back to Mueller for a shot, but just didn’t quite come together all the way. Adding the skilled freshman forward to the duo of Mueller and junior winger Chloé Aurard should be a terrifying sight to all non-Huskies as the group fine tunes their finishing. 

Fortunately, the period ended just 1-0 in the Eagles favor, and while that score would stand for much of the second period, the Huskies looked like a different, less rusty, team in the second stanza. Both of the top two forward lines put BC junior netminder Maddy McArthur on notice from the get-go, and at long last Renner broke through. 

Her linemate Knoll dragged the puck up the left wing and sent her a pass right in prime scoring position. Renner handled it with her stick, held it just long enough to keep McArthur worried for an extra pass to sophomore forward Peyton Anderson, then backhanded it into the net. After missing last season with a hip injury, the season opening goal was Renner’s first since the 2018-19 Hockey East Championship.

The Huskies’ lead came six minutes into the third, again coming from the Knoll-Renner-Anderson line. Sophomore defender Megan Carter hit Knoll with a combination of a pass and dump into the BC zone, which Knoll fought for behind the goal line. Once she gained control of the puck, Knoll found a trailing freshman defender Lily Yovetich, who gave it right back to Knoll in front of the net, where the skilled center was able to fool McArthur and send a backhander through the BC netminder’s five hole, all the while keeping her back to the net. 

“It was a shot from the point and [Knoll] was facing the defense,” Flint said. “She just turned around and fired a quick backhand on the ice and it caught the goalie off guard.”

Not long after, it looked like the Huskies took a 3-1 lead when senior captain and defender Brooke Hobson sent a rebound right back at the net, but with no official review, the shot went for naught. Moments later, the Huskies were able to make it 3-1 anyways, as senior forward Katie Cipra grinded for a puck behind the BC cage and put it right on Holmes’ stick in front of the net, giving the Huskies some insurance under eight minutes to go. 

Barely a minute later, Mueller put the icing on the cake for the visitors, effectively ending the game by maneuvering between two defenders and beating McArthur outright with a shot. 

“I thought in the first period [the top six forwards] were a little timid and came out of the gates a little slow,” Flint said. “I got on Alina and Chloé a little bit telling them to shoot the puck more and Alina did in the third there, got a nice goal. If we’re going to go, those two lines are going to make us go, and I thought even our third and fourth lines were great today too.”

The Huskies (1-0-0) next contest will again be against BC (4-3-0), this time on home ice at 5 p.m. Sunday.