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No. 2 Boston College sweeps women’s hockey

In the first of a two game weekend series, the University of Maine women’s hockey team found themselves overwhelmed by undefeated Boston College, as the Eagles shutout the Black Bears 5-0 on Saturday afternoon at the Alfond Arena. With three assists and a goal, fourth-year forward Alex Carpenter gave Maine nightmares all over the ice. After the shutout, the Black Bears have now gone eight consecutive periods without a score, a concern spanning almost three games.

The statement victory helped the Eagles continue their perfect season, as they rose to 18-0-0 overall, with a 12-0-0 mark within Hockey East. With their sixth straight loss, the Black Bears are helplessly watching as their season slips away, falling to 6-12-0 on the year, with a 3-8-0 standing in Hockey East games.

Though many teams would be nervous facing the No. 2 nationally ranked program, the Black Bears looked at the contest like just another game.

“We scout their power play, we scout their penalty kill, see what they’re doing on their forechecks, and just prepare for them like any other team,” Head Coach Richard Reichenbach said.

Being the clear-cut favorites heading into the matchup, the Eagles lived up to their expectations, coming out and scoring immediately. Second-year defenseman Kali Flanagan snuck the puck by one defender’s stick, and then into the net, giving Boston the early 1-0 advantage.

Eight minutes later, Boston was back at it. Carpenter sent a perfect pass to second-year forward Haley Skarupa, who shot the puck behind fourth-year goaltender Meghann Treacy. The score put the Eagles up by two heading into the second period.

Three minutes after the intermission, second-year defenseman Kaliya Johnson rushed towards Maine’s goal. Sliding for the save too early, Treacy left the net wide open, allowing Johnson to grab both an easy point and a 3-0 lead.

Immediately following Boston’s third unanswered point, the Black Bears desperately needed a change of scenery in goal. Third-year goaltender Mariah Fujimagari came in for Treacy. For a short-term solution it paid off, as Fujimagari stopped all nine shots that came her way in the last few minutes of the second period.

With the help of two successful power plays, the Eagles managed to beat Fujimagari twice in the final period. The first of which came when Carpenter shot a dart into the back of the net, passing Fujimagari before she could even react.

The second power play goal came with 10 minutes left on the clock when Flanagan scored her second point. On the play, Carpenter sent the puck to Flanagan, who gently knocked it into the left hand corner of the goal, preserving the 5-0 win for the Eagles.

The biggest challenge the Black Bears faced in the contest was getting behind Boston’s second-year goaltender Katie Burt. Playing nearly perfectly in the net, Burt stopped all 15 shots that came in her direction, helping her to record her seventh shutout of the season. In goal for Maine, Fujimagari saved 20 of the 22 attempts that came her way, as she had a slightly better performance than Treacy, who stopped 19 of 22 shots.

When it came down to getting pressure, Boston outshot Maine 44-15. In addition, the Eagles went 2-4 on power plays, while the Black Bears went 0-4. Though they did have some solid moments on defense at times, the Black Bears made some poor decisions passing on offense, a mistake that hurt them greatly.

“I think, for the most part, except for some turnovers, our systems were really good at eliminating odd man rushes, we just have got to handle the puck better,” Reichenbach said.

Though they lost, the Black Bears played their hearts out against one of the best teams in the nation. Moving forward, Maine intends to learn from this loss, so they can get better down the road.

“We did a lot of really good things, obviously we’re not happy anytime we lose, but I think there were a lot of positives and we’ll look at the video and see what we can do and see what we can adjust,” Reichenbach said.

BC completes sweep with 7-2 victory

Maine was outmatched once again in game two, dropping the contest 7-2 to complete the weekend series. Maine had to piece together a game while missing seven players, including many of their senior players.

The Eagles flew high on offense, as 10 different players had points. Goal scorers for Boston College (BC) included second-years Megan Keller (2), Kenzie Kent and Tori Sullivan. Third-Year forward Andie Anastos and fourth-year forward Alex Carpenter chipped in as well.

Maine’s two goals came from third-year forward Morgan Sakundiak and fourth-year forward Audra Richards.

The game saw four different goalies in net. Boston College started second-year Katie Burt and Maine led off with third-year Mariah Fujimagari.

Burt made three saves in the first while Fujimagari faced 25 shots, stopping 21 and allowing four goals.

Both teams switched goalies at the end of the first, the Eagles to second-year Gabriella Switaj and the Black Bears to Meghann Treacy. Switaj made 20 saves and allowed two while Treacy made 25 saves in relief.

BC’s offense overpowered the Maine defense, and outshot the Black Bears 53-25. They were also 1-6 on the power play taking 16 shots while they had the man advantage. Maine was 1-3 on the power play during the game.

BC owned the Black Bears in the first period, jumping out to a four goal lead and outshooting Maine 25-3.

“I thought we had a good first 10 minutes, and then we got into penalty trouble,” Maine Head Coach Richard Reichenbach said. “Obviously we went down 4-0 real quick.”

“They’re a smart team, their puck movement is quick and it’s hard to read what they’re going to do,” Richards said.

Skarupa would tally the first goal of the game by tipping a shot by second-year defenseman Megan Keller in front of Fujimagari, beating her five hole to give the Eagles an early 1-0 lead.

Maine’s defense and Fujimagari would hold out until the 15:18 mark, when a Maine penalty led to a power play opportunity for the Eagles. Carpenter would find the puck at the point, and one-time a shot by Fujimagari to up the lead to 2-0 just as the penalty expired.

Just over a minute later, Bender would score in a four-on-four situation, following up on a rebound off the right pad of Fujimagari what sat out in the slot. Bender crashed the net and poked the puck through the five-hole to score her fourth of the year.

The Eagles would score again on the 4-on-4 when a scramble in front of the net resulted in a  turnover. Maine’s defense turned aside two shots, but the third was sent top-shelf by Anastos to give BC a 4-0 lead.

“It was to give [Switaj] some more time on the ice,” BC Head Coach Katie Crowley said. “She’s been able to go out and give [Burt] a couple of breaks. This was a chance for her to jump into the game cold, and she settled in nicely by the third period.”

The Black Bears got the first goals of the second period, after both teams switched goalies. Sakundiak was able to take advantage of the power play that carried over to the second, and scored on a short he was deflected through the pads of Switaj to cut the BC lead to 4-1.

Richards would score her team-leading ninth goal of the season 10 minutes later, when second-year forward Brooke Stacey carried the puck into the offensive zone. Richards crashed the net, and got a stick on Stacey’s pass through the slot.

The deflected shot beat Switaj and the Black Bears pulled within two.

“I saw [Stacey] going and I was going to change but I saw her cross to the other side so I decided to drive the net,” Richards said. “I knew she was going to throw it on the net whether it was a shot or pass.”

Not to be outdone, the Eagles scored twice before the end of the period. Sullivan scored less than a minute after Stacey’s goal, lifting the puck over the blocker of Treacy who had relieved Fujimagari.

BC scored again on a nice passing play that saw Carpenter feed a pass through to Kent, who tapped it past Treacy to extend the lead to four again.

Maine put together a solid third period, but could not get the puck past Switaj, who made 12 saves in the frame.

BC would score on the power play at the 19:34 mark, when a shot from the point hit Keller in the chest. The puck deflected off of her and bounced right into the goal. That would cap the scoring at 7-2.

“On the scoreboard, they definitely dominated us, but I thought there were times where we were able to make good puck decisions, sustain shifts in their zone, set up our power play. Our penalty kill was better tonight. Those are things we want to focus on and grow,” Reichenbach said on the things he will take away from the weekend.

“We’re playing hard and we’re learning from every game as the season goes on, and hopefully that will continue,” Crowley said after the game. “We have some very talented players on our team…I think they’ve done a great job this season with staying within themselves. and within our systems.”

After the sweep, Maine drops its seventh straight game and falls to 6-13-0 (3-9-0 WHEA.) BC remains undefeated, and leads WHEA with a record of 19-0-0 (13-0-0 WHEA.)

Maine will take the ice once again at home for the final series of the first half of the season, taking on the Union College Dutchmen on Dec. 11 and 12.

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