Less than 20 minutes into the game, Boston College essentially defeated the University of Connecticut. Quick goals from Austin Cangelosi, Colin White, Josh Couturier, and Miles Wood flattened the Huskies in the first period, resulting in a struggle to even the score for the rest of the game. The Huskies flailed as the Eagles soared, notching their 10th straight win this season and giving head coach Jerry York his best program start in a season where he is approaching 1,000 victories.
BC’s (11-1-0, 5-0-0 Hockey East) play in its November 24 matchup against UConn (3-10-0, 1-7-0 Hockey East) was radically different compared to its 1-0 loss in its first Hockey East game at the XL Center last year. This can be attributed in part to the Eagles’ elevated offensive skill, proving they have a lot to be thankful for this year, especially their freshmen forwards.
The Eagles came into the first period full of energy, taking control of the puck and sending shots toward UConn goalie Rob Nichols. The loss of Chris Calnan to injury led to freshman Christopher Brown stepping up to Calnan’s place on the offensive line with Cangelosi and Matty Gaudreau, but this did not mean the line generated fewer scoring chances. Less than three minutes into the period, a centering pass gave sophomore Cangelosi the puck, which he sent toward the Huskies’ goaltender. Nichols could not control the puck as it was sent towards him, causing the score to turn in BC’s favor.
Less than a minute later, Colin White put another point on the board for BC. Off a turnover by the Huskies, Ryan Fitzgerald brought the puck into the UConn zone. On a 3-on-1 rush, Fitzgerald passed to White, who sent the puck past Nichols from close in on the net.
Throughout the period, the Eagles took advantage of turnovers from the Huskies and generated scoring opportunities, outshooting the Huskies 10-1 seven minutes into the game. On the rebound from a blocked shot, Couturier whipped a snapshot from far out, causing Nichols to topple over in an attempt to stop the puck. Despite his efforts, the puck made it into the back of the net, giving Couturier his first career goal and bringing the score to 3-0.
At about the halfway point into the first, Wood increased BC’s lead. Immediately after a faceoff at the right dot in the UConn zone, Wood directed a wrist shot toward the Huskies’ net. The puck went past Nichols’ stick side, hitting the inside of the net just underneath the crossbar. Despite the Huskies going on the power-play twice in the second half of the period, the Eagles continued to dominate the play and prevented the Huskies from creating scoring chances.
The second period was slower paced for both BC and UConn, but the Huskies took advantage of the Eagles’ sleepiness, outshooting them 13-9. The Huskies’ attempts to score, however, did not yield any results in the second, due to BC’s solid defense and goaltender. The third period finally gave the Huskies a point on the scoreboard because of the Eagles’ sloppy stick handling. Teddy Doherty lost the puck in the BC zone, allowing Tage Thompson to rocket a shot towards Demko, and Spencer Naas delivered on the rebound. Late penalties by both BC and UConn gave way to 4-on-4 play, and an empty net gave the Huskies a one man advantage. Gaudreau, thanks to a pass from White, used the absence of Nichols to give the Eagles an empty-netter goal, bringing the final score to 5-1.
While the Eagles won against the Huskies on Tuesday, their third period disorganization is revealing. Due to the loss of Calnan, senior Peter McMullen was added to the game roster onto the line with Travis Jeke and JD Dudek. McMullen, Jeke, and Dudek, however, were rarely seen on the ice during the game. Reducing offensive play to three lines could prove difficult for BC in its game against the Rochester Institute of Technology this coming Saturday, but if its freshmen forwards continue to play the way they are, the Eagles have the ability to prolong their winning streak.
Featured Image by Lucius Xuan / Heights Staff