“This place hasn’t been very friendly to us, certainly in my time at Vermont.”
-University of Vermont Coach Kevin Sneddon
There’s an old episode of that famous thriller series from the 1960s entitled “The Parallel,” where an astronaut, Major Robert Gaines, crashes from his orbit around the Earth. When he lands, everyone calls him “Colonel,” his daughter doesn’t recognize him, and no one knows that John F. Kennedy is the President of the United States.
Gaines realizes he’s fallen into a parallel universe, the likes of which he cannot recall how he came across nor how he can escape. Everything about this eternal alternate world throws him into a fit of panic.
Boston College head coach Jerry York has felt trapped in this mystical world—The Twilight Zone—all season long. After leading the nation in scoring offense last year, the 2014-15 Eagles thrive on their defensive acumen. At times, the Eagles’ lack of offensive ability thoroughly haunts them, such as in the opening game of this weekend’s two-game set against the University of Vermont.
On Saturday afternoon, however, the Eagles briefly escaped this neverending hell to reclaim some of last year’s goal-scoring magic.
Less than a day after getting embarrassed by the No. 17 Catamounts (17-11-2, 9-8-1 Hockey East), the No. 10 BC men’s hockey team (18-10-2, 11-6-2 Hockey East) put on a clinic, matching its season-high offensive production in a 6-5 victory.
The Eagles teased Friday night in the early goings, putting some pressure on Vermont goalie Mike Santaguida before he stifled them for the much of the remainder of the game. Saturday, the Eagles received a plethora of scoring chances, many of which were the product of a little extra luck—luck that they lacked on Friday night.
“We got some opportunistic goals, some that [Santaguida] was screened on,” York said. “The power play clicked again for us, which has been a real work in progress for us over the course of the year, but now it seems like it’s producing a lot of quality chances, and we’re scoring some goals, too.”
Not only did BC get more chances, but the team got them from up and down the lineup, most notably defenseman Ian McCoshen. The sophomore bruiser, who has led the team in penalty minutes this season, scored two goals—the first of which was scored on the team’s first power play. His second goal—BC’s third overall—was even more impressive, as he fired a rocket up high from between the circles.
In an attempt to continue his offensive shake up, York also replaced all three of his top line starters from the previous night—Adam Gilmour, Alex Tuch, and Zach Sanford—preferring instead to use Ryan Fitzgerald, Destry Straight, and Austin Cangelosi. Some may question the call, but given the former’s lack of offensive production on Friday night—Tuch’s last second goal being the only bright spot—York’s usage of his lesser-touted forwards made sense.
He wouldn’t be disappointed in their performance, as York’s second and third line forwards combined for three goals and four assists, highlighted by a power play goal by the piping hot Cangelosi midway through the second period. The sophomore forward received an easy feed from a wide-open Teddy Doherty right in front of Santaguida.
“Austin’s really stepped up his game,” York said. “There was a period in the winter where he seemed to have lost his confidence, he was a step slow, and now he’s right back. He’s playing very, very well. Clearly he was our best forward over the weekend.”
That goal, the fifth of the night off Santaguida, sent him to an early shower, letting Brody Hoffman come in between the pipes.
A goalie change didn’t do any good for the Catamounts, as Tuch came alive by scoring his second goal in as many games—a rocket to the upper corner—one that ultimately resulted in the game-winner.
Even more impressively, the Eagles showed heart in a way they hadn’t on Friday. Although it’s hard to ask a team to play back-to-back games, especially with the second of the stretch coming in the afternoon, after a week off, BC showed an inexcusable effort in the first game against the Catamounts—a majority of the team slouched and looked slow when skating. On Saturday, BC’s bench stood for the majority of the game, eyeing to get back onto the ice as soon as possible, an energy level York noted as an significant improvement.
With this win, the Eagles keep holding onto their second place slot in Hockey East, with eyes on a first-round bye with only four games to play, including a crucial home matchup against third place UMass-Lowell next Friday at Kelley Rink. The game wasn’t perfect—Thatcher Demko’s goaltending left a lot to be desired—but the offensive production gives hope for future games.
Perhaps for BC, the Twilight Zone isn’t such a bad place after all.
Featured Image by Drew Hoo / Heights Editor