It has been tough sledding for the sixth-ranked Boston College women’s hockey team.
On Thursday night, the youthful Eagles hosted the first of two games against Minnesota-Duluth. Despite a furious third-period comeback, they fell short, 3-2, which dropped the Eagles’ record to 1-3-0.
“Our team really came out strong in that third period,’’ said BC coach Katie King Crowley. “I thought we might be able to squeak one out there after going down three. I like that. We have a young team and they really gathered themselves and brought it in that third period, but we’ve got to figure out how to come out harder in the first and second.’’
Boston College had an opportunity when Minnesota-Duluth senior center Katie Wilson was assessed a checking penalty only 14 seconds in, but the Eagles failed to convert.
Late in the first period, the Bulldogs (3-3-1) took the lead on an unassisted goal by freshman defenseman Brigette Lacquette at 18:48.
The one standout statistic for the Eagles after 20 minutes was how dominant they were on faceoffs, winning 12 and losing just four.
BC had more scoring chances in the middle period when junior left wing Vanessa Thibault was whistled off for checking at 2:29.
Eagles sophomore center Alex Carpenter, who is an excellent skater and deft passer, had a couple of backhand setups but her teammates couldn’t put them past freshman goaltender Kayla Black (39 saves).
At 9:57, the Bulldogs doubled their lead when right wing Zoe Hickel collected a centering pass from senior left wing Pernilla Winberg and rifled a one-timer past BC netminder Megan Miller (24 saves).
The Eagles tried to get their offensive game on track with about eight minutes remaining in the second period when Carpenter again had a fine setup, dishing the puck to freshman right wing Haley Skarupa, but Black made the stop.
Early in the third, BC had a two-man advantage for 59 seconds, but Minnesota-Duluth did a good job of killing it off.
“It was not for the lack of chances,’’ said King Crowley. “I think that goalie on the other side played really well. She made the saves for her team that she needed to make. I thought she did a real good job frustrating some of our players. With 41 shots, to only have two goals, it’s tough.’’
The Bulldogs increased their lead to 3-0 at 6:02 when sophomore right wing Jenna McParland took a pass in front and managed two whacks at the puck, with the second one trickling past Miller.
Carpenter, the daughter of former Bruins forward Bobby Carpenter, cut the deficit to two when she scored off a scramble in front at 10:33, beating Black from just outside the left post. It was Carpenter’s first tally of the season.
Carpenter came close to a second goal at 12:38 with BC buzzing the net, but Black weathered the storm, prompting coach Shannon Miller to call a timeout to settle her team.
BC kept the pressure on in the Minnesota-Duluth zone, with Miller pulled for an extra attacker, and it paid off as sophomore defenseman Emily Pfalzer beat Black on a backhander from the slot with 1:29 remaining.
Freshman center Dana Trivigno nearly tied it with 42.7 seconds remaining with a bid from just outside the right post, but the puck didn’t get over the line.
Carpenter said she expects her team to come back strong Friday night, starting right from the drop of the puck.
“We just need to come out with a little more fire in the beginning,’’ said Carpenter, who has 3 points in four games. “Our goal for our upcoming games, including tomorrow, is to get a little fire underneath us and get going really early in the period and get some goals early.
“We just need to get angry in front of the net, get going early, and really bear down and put the pucks in the net.’’