MEN'S HOCKEY: Eagles Break Out Of January Slump
Published: Sunday, February 3, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 3, 2013 22:02
An enthused student body returned to life at the Kelley Rink on Friday night, chanting and harassing goaltenders with its usual vigor, as Boston College bested Vermont 4-1 at home.
After Maine swept the Eagles twice at home, a commanding win against the Catamounts was enough to lift the energy and hopes of the BC faithful after a disappointing run of form.
A similar scenario happened last season, when yet the same Maine Black Bears captured back-to-back wins against BC. This then set off an unbeaten streak of 19 games for BC, which included a Beanpot title in addition to a national championship.
“I thought tonight, during our stretch, it was the best we have played coming from behind,” said head coach Jerry York. “It was important for us to score some goals, because we have been snake bitten a bit in that area. Technically, we played a really solid third period.”
The players themselves felt a marked improvement over the last series of games.
“Obviously we weren’t too happy with how we were playing. Line changes, a few things—the guys were really motivated,” said Patrick Brown, a junior forward who made several key plays against Vermont, including a pair of no-stick blocks while the Catamounts were on a power play.
Quinn Smith, a sophomore forward, who bagged the second, game-winning goal, had more to add.
“Now that we are getting into what coach calls ‘trophy season’ and everything is getting really tight, we really want to start playing with a little more desperation,” he said. “Obviously we want to stay calm and collected, but we really want to have that sense of urgency.”
Also of note, this game marked the return of senior goaltender Parker Milner and freshman defender Mike Matheson to the starting lineup.
York had nothing but praise for the two players.
“Parker was strong in goal again, that’s 39 saves and one goal. That’s pretty good stuff there for Parker,” he said.
York had kept Milner out of the previous game to give him a rest.
“I talked to Parker a few weeks ago and I said, ‘I don’t envision you playing all 40 games or 44 games, however many we are going to play,’” he said. “He understands that. We’ll be looking for spots to give him a breather. It’s not just the physical work, it’s the mental preparation for every single game.”
As for Matheson, York thought his reappearance from injury went beyond the immediate impact, of making several crucial checks and defensive plays.
“With the return of Mike Matheson, it helped us, because we could move Steven Whitney back up front. Try to really balance the lines more,” he said.
Next up, the Eagles play Harvard on Monday at 8 p.m. in the first game of the Beanpot at the TD Garden.
The win against Vermont puts the team in an interesting position given that they are the only team in the Beanpot that did not lose going into the tournament, providing them with momentum.
Boston University lost 5-1 at UMass, Harvard was blanked 3-0 by Rensselaer, and Northeastern came away with a 3-1 loss against UNH.
“It’s great to get a win. We were struggling as of late, but regarding our game today, we got contributions from all of the lines,” Brown said.
“The Beanpot is awesome. It’s one of the most fun games we play. I think everyone is feeling good, we are playing well, and we are confident to play Harvard."