MEN'S HOCKEY: Brown, Fourth Line Get The Winner
Published: Monday, November 5, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
In 2011 the Boston Bruins won a Stanley Cup off an all-around effort from their team, especially the play of their fourth line led by Shawn Thornton. The hardnosed hockey player, known just as much for his penalties as his leadership, helped lead the Bruins to their first championship in decades. About a week ago, Bruins coach Claude Julien came to the Boston College hockey team’s locker room and talked about how Thornton’s fourth line decided their fate. Head coach Jerry York reiterated Julien’s inspiring truth following this weekend’s game by saying, “I don’t care what line you are. You can influence the outcome of a game.”
On Sunday night, Patrick Brown scored off a loose puck in the opponent’s third of the ice with three and a half minutes left to lift the Eagles past UMass 3-2. The fourth line, which had yet to score a goal all season, resurrected BC’s hopes for the night.
After being down 2-1 early in the third period, the Eagles prevailed off the play of their fourth group of forwards, which saw increased action in the waning minutes.
“Our supposed fourth line … influenced the game,” York said after the game, highlighting the boost of the latter lines contributing. “It came at a critical time. If we can have secondary scoring from our third and fourth lines it’s going to really give us a boost this year.”
The true turning point in the game, however, came off a goal by freshman Michael Matheson. The newcomer found himself streaking down the ice for the tying goal. With the Minutemen having taken the lead just eight minutes earlier, the Eagles had been outplayed and outshot over a lackluster previous period and a half of hockey. Matheson’s goal reignited the BC offense and the victory seemed inevitable with the momentum regained. After the game, Isaac MacLeod, Matheson’s teammate of just two months, praised the freshman’s abilities.
“Since he’s set foot on campus he’s been a confident and strong player— you see improvement every day and week in practice,” MacLeod said.
York later chimed in and gave more praise to the freshman.
“[Matheson] was probably one the most highly-recruited players we’ve been involved with in the last decade,” York said. “He’s one of those crossover defenders that can defend and also play offense. He’s a big plus for us.”
Lost in the thrill of the two late goals by Matheson and Brown was MacLeod’s play. When Parker Milner found himself out of the net as he attempted to chase after a loose puck, the junior defenseman made three saves in a row with his skate as if it was a left blocker. MacLeod attributed it to his time spent outside in the summer.
“I spent a lot of time in the driveway playing road hockey, so I guess that came through,” he said.
The makeshift saves were crucial. With 13 minutes left in the period, the goal would have been a dagger. Macleod’s heroics speak to the personality of this year’s team. While it might seem clicheé, York called the contest a “very fast, clean, hard hockey game.”
The Eagles pride themselves on hard hitting and fighting until the final minutes, while their fast transition offense certainly leads their attack. The past four games between UMass and BC have been one goal wins by the Eagles, as they continue to close out games. York pointed out that the 2012-2013 team has “some great veteran leaders that play a role in that part of the game. Winning is never easy.”
With the clutch comeback win, BC now looks forward to one of their toughest weeks of the season. On Friday night the Eagles face Notre Dame to begin the Holy War. Kelley Rink expects to see one of the largest crowds in quite some time. Then on Sunday, they’ll cross Commonwealth Ave. to face BU in the first game of the year for this intense rivalry. After the comeback victory and six straight wins, York’s club continues to play impressive hockey, which is important considering that these early Hockey East games hold a lot of weight on the season.