For one fleeting moment, the outlook of the game changed.
With momentum on its side, the Boston University women’s hockey team looked to be on the upswing as they scored their second goal of the second period in their first round Beanpot Tournament matchup against No. 7 Boston College.
Celebration ensued following the puck bouncing off an Eagles’ skater and sliding in five-hole under goalie Corinne Boyles. The power play score would have cut the Boston College (20-4-3, 14-1-1 Hockey East) lead to just one goal with plenty of time left in the second period for the Terriers to complete their comeback.
But alas, Tuesday night was not the Terriers’ night.
Following an extensive review from the referees, the goal was waived off. The call shocked the Terriers (18-9-1, 11-6 Hockey East), who were visibly frustrated with the decision. Despite a continued strong power-play effort following the controversial call, the Terriers struggled to put together an offensive effort capable of coming back from an early 3-0 deficit, caused by mercurial special teams play, and fell victim to the Eagles in a 4-1 loss that will prevent the team from pursuing the program’s Beanpot title.
BU coach Brian Durocher said he believes that the referees did their job by calling off the goal.
“Without a doubt, it changed the momentum from one way to another,” Durocher said of the non-goal. “We continued to press on that period and had some other good chances and you have to capitalize on the power play.”
BC coach Katie Crowley said she felt that the review of the non-goal call played a major role in the penalty kill that ensued after the referee’s decision.
“Our kids were able to regroup a little bit after that,” Crowley said. “They had a 5-on-3 and then a 5-on-4 soon after so we were on the kill for quite a bit of time there so I thought that our kids were able to recover well. While they were reviewing the goal, we tried to settle them down a little bit and I thought they responded well.”
Durocher received an explanation following the game on the nullified goal from the referees.
“It was our player’s stick was in the goalie’s upper chest, neck,” Durocher said. “I heard neck or helmet area and that’s interference if she’s unaffected by a player on the other team.
“I just saw a puck that came from [freshman forward] Maddie Elia’s stick and bounced off somebody’s skate and I think hit Rebecca Russo’s skate,” Durocher said. “I thought in real time, I saw somebody defending her but when she was coming to the net, maybe she was hitting the breaks and her stick went in the air, I don’t know. I’ll be curious to see what it looks like on the film but again, we have quality officials here.”
Boyles was said she was unsure of what exactly happened on the play and was indecisive when asked if she thought the called-off goal deserved its fate.
“I saw the puck going across and I thought it went through so I think it went off someone’s skate, stuck around and then I got pushed back into the net,” Boyles said. “Not too big, but I don’t even know why they called it off. They didn’t tell me. I was just glad it wasn’t a goal and at that point, that’s when I decided that that was it, put my head down and we’re not going to give up anymore goals and take care of it.
“I don’t know [if it was a goal],” Boyles said. “I didn’t know what happened. I lost the puck and then all of a sudden, I was in the net.”
Despite the shaky special teams play at the beginning of the period, Durocher said that he does not believe the loss was a major step back for the Terriers following a weekend sweep over the University of Connecticut.
“There is going to be some penalties here and there,” Durocher said. “The step back was that we reverted back mentally to getting on the wrong side defensively, not finishing initial rushes, drifting from the front of the net where we felt like we had to go cover somebody on the outside who was already covered. We can’t leave that grey area vacant. You can’t be on the wrong side of the opponent time and time again and give them opportunities they don’t need.”
In the end, Durocher said if the referees did not call off their second goal, the game would have ended differently.
“Without a doubt, if that decision goes in the other direction, it’s 3-2 and one bad bounce, one lucky bounce, one good swing and the game is tied and we’re still out there playing,” Durocher said. “The officials gave me the reasoning for the call and they had a chance to look at it in replay and I’m sure they were accurate … I’ll get my chance to look at it later but that’s a big momentum swing had it gone the other way, but they were pretty clear and adamant about the decision they made.”