MEN'S HOCKEY: Gaudreau Completes Huge Comeback
Published: Sunday, October 21, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
For one night at least, 20 minutes of Boston College hockey proved to be enough.
For two full periods, the No. 3 Eagles were dominated by UMass. The Minutemen put up three goals in the two opening frames and had what looked to be a comfortable lead on their home ice, heading into the third. Yet, BC managed to play its best period of the young season and outscored UMass 4-1 in the third to force overtime. Then, with just over a minute remaining, Johnny Gaudreau knocked a loose puck out of midair and into the net to give the Eagles their first win of the year at 5-4.
It was a strange game and a difficult one to win, said head coach Jerry York, but one that goes a long way in building character.
“It was a game of almost two halves, I thought,” York said. “UMass certainly had the better first half of the game. They made some really good plays, they were on the puck, and they had that 3-0 lead. I thought we started to get back into the game and had an excellent third period. We knew it would be a difficult game, but it showed a lot of resolve from us and I feel good about our team character to hang in there.”
The Minutemen jumped out to a lead early when Rocco Carzo scored just nine minutes into the game. The Eagles looked flat from the start and were unable to even the score going into the break. Conor Allen doubled the lead for UMass at the start of the second period, and Carzo scored his second of the night with seven minutes left in the frame to make it a three-goal lead. UMass goalie Steve Mastalerz stopped every shot he faced in the first 40 minutes and appeared to have his team in line for an easy victory over a heavy favorite.
Down by three goals entering the third period, the Eagles started looking like the team that won 19 consecutive games to end last season. Bill Arnold opened the scoring just a minute into the period and Destry Straight cut the deficit to one just seven minutes later.
The Minutemen regained a two-goal lead just a minute later, but senior captain Pat Mullane scored two goals just 50 seconds apart with under four minutes to play to force overtime.
The Eagles dominated the overtime period and had multiple chances to end it, but it wasn’t until Gaudreau knocked home his first goal of the season that they were able to end the game. The goal was reviewed when it appeared that Gaudreau may have gotten the puck with a high stick, but the replay showed that it was actually well under the crossbar when he made contact. As York noted, the third period and overtime were the perfect examples of BC hockey.
“We felt like we started to play BC hockey,” York said. “We were more thorough. We started skating better and just playing with more purpose. This is a different team from last year, but we still have high expectations. We’re certainly not where we want to be, but it takes time to get there. We need to evolve, and this type of comeback will fuel that.”
The win moved BC to 1-1 in the young season and saw Mullane record his 100th career point when he assisted on the overtime winner. Parker Milner made 20 saves for the Eagles, who outshot UMass 42-24. BC also held a 21-6 shot advantage in the third period and overtime, showing how much it dominated those two frames.
York was impressed by the fight that his team showed late in the game, and emphasized how important that will be as the season continues.
“On the road, early in the season, coming off a loss weekend, it shows pretty good resolve,” York said. “And I like that. You don’t go far without it.”