MEN'S HOCKEY: Scoring Onslaught Sends No. 7 BC Past No. 2 Wisconsin
Published: Monday, October 21, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 21, 2013 00:10
In a span of just 50 seconds, the Boston College men’s hockey team left No. 2-ranked Wisconsin in the dust—while riding on the shoulders of a lone rookie.
Freshman Austin Cangelosi took a scoreless gridlock midway through frame one and turned it upside down. When he corralled a loose puck and beat Badger goalie Landon Peterson in a one-on-one confrontation for his first collegiate score, he gave BC a lead it never relinquished.
Less than a minute later, lightning struck a second time.
Senior Kevin Hayes kept storming up the ice with the puck, drawing the attention of Wisconsin’s defenders. Rather than maneuvering through traffic, he spotted an unguarded Cangelosi in the slot and made a timely cross feed. Once more, the rookie turned an opportunity into a big play—reflecting the poise of a veteran in only his third career game. The pass became a wide-open score that met the net before Peterson could react.
“It was definitely exciting,” Cangelosi said, looking back at his dominant minute, “but I couldn’t have done it without my linemates.”
And for the remaining 51 minutes of play, momentum never strayed from the Eagles’ path to a flawlessly executed 9-2 victory.
Head coach Jerry York’s squad fed off the electric atmosphere generated by a record-setting student crowd in Conte Forum, and emerged from its greatest challenge thus far in 2013 with a convincing upset. Cangelosi’s goals catalyzed a first period—and an entire evening—during which the Eagles could do no wrong.
“There’s no way we’re seven goals better than the Badgers,” York said, “but everything we did tonight turned to gold.”
Over the game’s first 20 minutes, BC kept one of the nation’s most vaunted defenses off-balanced with absolute domination over possession. The Eagles used a combination of quickness and crisp puck movement to generate countless open looks at a vulnerable Peterson between Wisconsin’s pipes.
“We were just moving pucks well,” York said. “We were finishing. This particular night, everything was going just how you diagram it.”
Even on the rare occasion that the Eagles were turned away near the crease, their relentless attack forced additional opportunities. After his first breakaway attempt failed to light the scoreboard, Johnny Gaudreau broke loose again moments later and engaged Peterson in another man-to-man duel. All it took was some slick stick work and a backhand finish for the junior standout to escalate the first -period drubbing.
Yet there were also times when Wisconsin’s defensive holes were so exploitable that BC could afford to conserve speed. One of those chances came right off of a face-off late in the first frame, as freshman Ian McCoshen corralled the puck and sent a long-distance slap shot screaming past Peterson to put his team up by four. The Badger goalkeeper didn’t have time to prepare for the Michael Matheson stutter-move wrister or the Scott Savage top-shelf attempt he was greeted with early in the second period, either.
Only 22 minutes into regulation, Peterson’s night was over. He retreated to the bench, swallowed by the shadow of a lopsided 6-0 BC.
Adding three more scores to the onslaught, the Eagles took their reputation as opportunists on offense to a whole new level.
“There’s never a point in the game where we want to sit back,” Cangelosi said. “We want to use the whole 60 minutes and really go at them from the get go, and sustain that throughout the game.”
The ease with which York’s squad asserted itself was a constant. It appeared as Matheson guided the puck up the wing for a goal without being touched. It showed up when Hayes baffled Wisconsin’s backup goalie with a quick move. And it took one final bow when team captain Patrick Brown broke loose for a breakaway that put an exclamation point at the end of a BC barrage.
After watching his team tally nine goals and a 28-shot advantage against the country’s No. 2 team, York couldn’t help but wonder how high the ceiling above BC’s potential truly is.
“We’ve still got to try to formulate our team—how good are we going to be, where are we going to go with this team,” he said. “I think this was an initial look at the possibility that we could be a very good team.”
The Eagles have now outscored their opponents 17-6 over a 2-1 start to 2013. Yet York acknowledged that a night on which everything went right must not cloud BC’s view of the big picture.
A college hockey season isn’t a sprint, but rather a six-month marathon.
“Being in the business as a long as I have, it’s still October,” York said. “We’re going to have to repeat this effort as we go through.”