|Kelli Stack (photo: John Quackenbos)|
BOSTON – Boston College scored two goals in the first period and added another in the third, and that was enough to defeat Northeastern, 3-1, in the Women’s Hockey East championship game Sunday at Agganis Arena.
It’s the first Hockey East title for second-seeded BC (23-6-6) and earned it the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. It will be one of three New England teams in the field along with Boston University and Dartmouth.
"Our kids did what we asked them to do," said BC coach Katie King (Salem, N.H.). "They worked hard for 60 minutes and came out with a great win for our team and our program and for everyone that supports BC. I think they just did everything we asked them in this game."
Northeastern (16-13-8) received another strong effort from goalie Florence Schelling, as the junior netminder stopped 32 shots.
The Huskies struck first. Casey Pickett forced a turnover and made a pretty deke to beat goalie Molly Schaus (Natick, Mass.) for the 1-0 lead.
The Eagles evened the score at the 12:13 mark of the first. Danielle Welch fired a shot from the slot that slid underneath Schelling’s pads and into the net. Ashley Motherwell assisted on Welch’s 10th strike of the season.
BC took a 2-1 lead late in the third when Blake Bolden tallied her seventh goal of the season on the power play at the 19:18 mark of the period.
The Eagles made it 3-1 at the 5:59 mark of the third when Mary Restuccia slid the puck to Taylor Wasylk, who potted her 14th goal of the season.
Northeastern almost made it 3-2 with five minutes remaining in regulation. Alyssa Wohlfeiler took a shot from the left circle and Schaus failed to corral the rebound. Several Huskies jammed at the puck, but Schaus regained control and forced a face-off.
"We battled as hard as we could. I think we just ran out of gas down the stretch," said Northeastern coach Dave Flint (Merrimack, N.H.). "We couldn’t amount a good attack in the third.
Top-ranked Wisconsin (WCHA) and No. 2 Cornell (ECAC Hockey) are the other teams earning automatic bids to the eight-team NCAAs. BU, Mercyhurst, Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth and Dartmouth earned at-large bids.
NCAA quarterfinals will be held this weekend at campus sites, with the winners advancing to the Frozen Four in Erie, Pa., March 18 and 20.
BC earned the No. 4 seed and will host Minnesota in its quarterfinal on Saturday afternoon at 1 at Conte Forum, while BU (25-6-4) earned the No. 3 seed and will host Mercyhurst (29-5) on Saturday at 3.
Dartmouth (22-11-0) will visit No. 2 Cornell (30-2-1) in a rematch of their ECAC Hockey final on Saturday at 2 p.m., and top-seeded Wisconsin (34-2-2) will entertain Minnesota-Duluth (22-8-3).