In an exhilarating burst in the third period, Michigan State (4-4-1) scored three goals against Boston College (9-1-0) within two minutes to bring the game to 4-4, causing BC to lose its three-goal lead. It was a tie score, and the period was half over.
The Spartans’ Third Period Hustle
The first goal in Michigan State’s third period surge came right off a goal by BC’s Alex Tuch, who skated down the middle of the ice and sent the puck past goaltender Jake Hildebrand at 12:13 into the period. Despite being down by three goals, the Spartans continued to play hard and pursue scoring opportunities close in on the net. In an effort to cut the deficit, Travis Walsh skated down the ice toward goalie Thatcher Demko 30 seconds later and sent a pass over to an unguarded J.T. Stenglein at the left dot, who netted the puck. Subsequent goals by Brennan Sanford and Mason Appleton brought the game to an even score. “I thought that Michigan State showed a lot of resolve down 4-1 away from home, not much time left in the building, in the game, and they got right back and got a terrific run at us,” BC head coach Jerry York said, regarding the Spartans’ play in the third period.
Wanted: The Eagles’ Defense
The causes of this extended effort included the Eagles’ lackluster defense. In the case of Sanford’s and Appleton’s goals, the Spartans’ offense sent and received passes close to the net, overwhelming Demko and the Eagles’ defense. In all of the goals, BC’s defense seemed uncharacteristically absent, leaving Michigan State to take unblocked shots on net.
Not only was this defensive breakdown apparent in the rush of the third period, but it was also seen in the second period. Mackenzie MacEachern, at 4:40 into the second, easily skated up to the front of the BC goal, and, receiving a pass, tapped the puck past Demko. The Eagles were lucky a couple of times in the period, with rebounds shuffled away and potential shots on net stopped by the whistles of the referees.
Continuing Solidity for the Eagles’ Penalty Kill
Even though BC’s defense was lacking, the Eagles’ penalty-killing unit continued its solid play. BC let in no goals over the course of eight power plays for the Spartans, keeping Michigan State from rushing the net, and making many opportune clears to disrupt the power play energy of the Spartans. At one point in a penalty kill in the third, Scott Savage dove onto the ice to sweep the puck away from the net and from Michigan State.
Game, Set, Match for Thatcher Demko
Demko met his match in Hildebrand. Demko’s recent shutout streak was snapped, as he let in four goals. Shots were about equal between the two, at 33 saves by Demko and 30 saves by Hildebrand. To Demko’s credit, he saved 15 of the 16 shots that were sent his way in the second period. “There was a relentless effort from both teams around the goal creases, so those more goals are scored,” York said.
Where Demko left off, Colin White, Miles Wood, and Ryan Fitzgerald, picked up. White notched two goals, one at the beginning and one at the end of the second period. BC’s first point on the scoreboard came when White received a pass at the front of the net from Matty Gaudreau and sent it to the back of the net. With fewerthan five minutes remaining in the second, White scored again, skating up the ice unguarded and hitting the top the net with the puck.
After sending many shots toward Hildebrand throughout the game, Fitzgerald finally delivered. At the start of the third period, with no one in between him and the net, he skated straight up to Michigan State’s net, and as if in slow motion, the puck streaked past Hildebrand. Fitzgerald later sent the puck across the ice to notch an empty netter, bringing the final score to 6-4.
The game-winning goal came from Wood, as Austin Cangelosi’s shot on net was redirected by Wood’s shinguard. This goal was initially under review but was soon upheld. This goal was the only power play goal of the game, coming after an interference call on Michigan State’s Joe Cox.
Featured Image by Lucius Xuan / Heights Staff