MEN'S HOCKEY: BC Stays Hot Against BU
Published: Monday, November 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
BOSTON — Weekends such as the men’s ice hockey team’s most recent one don’t come around too often—rarely will a team face off against its two most historical rivals just two days apart. This weekend, however, No. 1 Boston College had the chance to face No. 7 Notre Dame on Friday night as well as No. 11 Boston University on Sunday night, and after Friday’s victory over the Irish, the Eagles had a chance to complete the sweep of their rivalry filled weekend.
“Notre Dame, that’s a big rival of ours in a lot of the sports we play, but this is the one that’s just ratcheted up a little more, because of the history and for a lot of reasons,” said head coach Jerry York. “Both rivalry games make you play with intensity to match the other teams’ intensity,” said York following the game.
Yet again, the Eagles proved why they deserve their No. 1 ranking. After gaining a quick lead over the Terriers, BC never looked back and ended up winning the game 4-2.
Matching the oppositions’ intensity would not prove to be an issue for the Eagles, as it didn’t take long for them to get on the scoreboard. Just 43 seconds into the first period, forward Destry Straight received a pass that was slid his way across the slot from his line-mate, Kevin Hayes. Straight one-timed the puck into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.
Although BC would eventually go on the penalty kill three times during the period, it was able to maintain its one-goal lead for the rest of the period. Goaltender Parker Milner’s outstanding play provided a key role in maintaining the lead. He was the third star of the game.
As the first period was winding down, the Eagles finally caught a break in terms of penalties. At 19:37 of the period, BU forward Wesley Myron received a two-minute minor for slashing. Just 12 seconds later, Matt Nieto received a penalty for tripping as well. Although BC couldn’t capitalize as the period ended, they entered the second period with 1:38 remaining in their five-on-three power play.
With the two-man advantage, the Eagles were able to move the puck well, which was to be expected, but still could not execute and extend their lead. In fact, BC would go on the power play seven times throughout the night, and were unable to net a goal. Prior to this weekend’s games, the Eagles had been rock solid when playing with an advantage, scoring 32.3 percent of the time (10-for-31). In their last two games, however, the Eagles have had much more trouble taking advantage of their power plays.
“[The game] was a little bit fractured because there were so many penalties, but even with that I thought there was some really just good hockey plays from both teams—pucks moved, very unselfish by both teams,” said York about the high number of penalties on both sides during the game.
While BC has continued to move the puck with relative ease when it is on the advantage, the power play unit, as a whole, has had trouble lately controlling the puck at key moments. For example, when receiving passes across the slot, the Eagles have simply been unable to maintain control of the puck and finish the play. The unit has had even more trouble taking quality shots while on the advantage.
Although unable to capitalize on a power play, the Eagles were finally able to open things up in the third. Hayes scored at 11:01 on a shot taken from behind the net that deflected off of BU goaltender Matt O’Connor, which gave BC a 2-0 advantage. Forward Danny Linell was credited with the assist.
“Their goalie was down, so I tried to just make a play out front, and fortunately I was lucky enough that it hit the goalie and went in,” Hayes said about his goal. Hayes had two assists in the game and was the first star of the night.
Then, at 12:23, forward Johnny Gaudreau extended the Eagles’ lead to three goals when he scored his seventh goal of the season. Forward Steven Whitney was credited with the assist.
The Eagles’ third goal ultimately ended up being the decisive one. Although forward Bill Arnold scored an unassisted open net goal while the Eagles were short handed, the Terriers were able to score a second goal at 18:43. Thus, Gaudreau’s goal proved to be the game winner, his fifth game-winning goal of the season.
With the victory, the Eagles improve to 8-1-0 on the season. York also earned his 921st career win, and is now four wins away from becoming the winningest ice hockey coach in NCAA history.