It would have been a reasonable decision for fans to leave Conte Forum early on Friday. Boston College men’s hockey had a huge lead entering the final ten minutes and looked poised to win behind the strength of goaltender Thatcher Demko. Anyone who did so missed a whale of a finish.
Alex Tuch’s breakaway goal put the Eagles up 4-1 with 7:47 to go. And with a white-hot Demko, a three goal lead resembled an uncrossable chasm. Michigan State University quickly changed that. First came a one-timer past Demko’s right shoulder by J.T. Stenglein. Then came a two-on-one breakaway by Cody Milan and Brennan Sanford, the latter of whom put it away only 30 seconds later. Eleven seconds after that, Zach Osburn rifled a shot off the boards that bounced perfectly to Michael Ferrantino, who dished it to Mason Appleton. Suddenly, a 4-1 game became a 4-4 tie. But thanks to some suddenly necessary situational hockey, BC (9-1-0, 3-0-0 Hockey East) pulled out its eighth win in a row with a 6-4 final over the Spartans (4-4-1).
“There’s always lessons to be learned as we go through the season and that was one of them,” said head coach Jerry York. “It was almost like a heavyweight bout. We took a pretty good punch and got knocked down and were reeling late in the game. We came back and showed some resolve of our own.”
York took a timeout after Mason Appleton knotted up the game to remind Michigan State to keep their composure and “just play hockey,” but Eagles defenseman Ian McCoshen took a tripping penalty on the ensuing shift. Extending York’s analogy, BC managed to escape the ropes and danced its way to the middle of the ring by killing McCoshen’s penalty.
Seconds after McCoshen got out of the box, MSU’s Joe Cox tripped Zach Sanford as they were jostling on a faceoff outside the MSU zone. BC now had Sparty on the ropes and took advantage when Miles Wood deflected Austin Cangelosi’s rocket of a blast past Jake Hildenbrand for the game winner on the ensuing power play with 1:54 to go.
“The two keys were the special teams late in the game,” said York. “We were able to capitalize on a power play of our own with good net position, it went off Wood’s shin pad, so we get a little lucky there, but great positional play by Miles.”
“When you’re on the road, you can’t take a penalty in the last couple minutes of a game,” MSU head coach Tom Anastos said. “You can’t put yourself in a situation where that call can be made. It was irrelevant to the play and it ends up hurting us.”
Wood assisted on Ryan Fitzgerald’s empty-netter that delivered the official TKO. Though not a conference win, York enjoyed playing and beating MSU in their first matchup at Kelley Rink in 16 years.
“It’s always interesting when two old and traditional college hockey teams get together from different parts of the country,” York said. “I feel good about our club and the win tonight. A lot of excellent things happened to our team tonight.”
Featured Image by Lucius Xuan / Heights Staff