Men's Hockey

Tensions Flare In Eagles’ Tie With Northeastern

The red light flared again, and suddenly Northeastern University was tied with Boston College. Goaltender Thatcher Demko flipped the net, sending it slamming onto the ice. The frustration and anger was felt throughout Kelley Rink. For an unranked team, the Huskies (2-11-3, 0-7-3 Hockey East) were proving themselves worthy adversaries of the Eagles (12-1-1, 5-0-1). Though the goal set enough of a fire under BC men’s hockey to earn a goal—and three quick penalties—the Huskies answered with the necessary fervor to tie the score again, leading to a 3-3 final.

The exasperation Demko felt was warranted. He saved shot after shot throughout the first two periods, often in fantastic displays of athleticism. He sacrificed his body to the floor, pounding the ice to trap the puck underneath his glove. He extended his legs into splits, deflecting the puck into the glass and far away from his domain. Demko’s work on the ice earned him praise from head coach Jerry York.

“I’m pretty proud he was in our net, because otherwise we’d have no points,” York said.

The Eagles’ failure to win a faceoff forced a 2-2 tie, as an unprepared Demko couldn’t get to the puck before Nolan Stevens scored his second goal of the night. Instead of a flash of anger, which the crowd saw before from Demko, Northeastern’s third goal only sparked dejection, with Demko slumped over in between the pipes.

Falling Slowly
Alex Tuch encountered a few ups and downs during the game. Skating past a defender, Tuch deked the puck back and forth and shot high, past goalie Ryan Ruck’s left arm. The goal, which put the Eagles up 2-0 following a goal by Miles Wood, showed off Tuch’s clean stick handling. Tuch, who was the leading scorer last season, had yet to show the same offensive command. The goal displayed promise that he could be on the up and up, ready to lay claim on the title of leading scorer again. Later in the game, Tuch was jostled around by an NU defender. The momentum was enough to send him falling, but he did not go down right away. Instead, it took what felt like five minutes for Tuch to hit the ground, crumbling to his knees in slow motion as the game rushed around him.

Waved Off
During the second period, Ryan Fitzgerald tried to increase the lead for BC, skating toward the goal at breakneck speed. He barreled into the left pipe, sneaking the puck in with him. Loud celebration filled Kelley Rink, but the thrill of a two-goal advantage was short-lived. After reviewing the play, the referees called back the goal, citing interference with the goaltender as the reason for the altered decision. Fitzgerald had slammed into Ruck’s glove as he bombarded the net, and the Eagles would pay for it. But York had no hard feelings about the decision.

“That was a good call,” he said.

Angry Eagles
BC was plagued by penalties in the third period, with five players earning time in the box for tripping, boarding, and even a 10-minute misconduct. The 2-2 score brought out the worst tempers in some of the Eagles, particularly Matthew Gaudreau, who was slammed with a misconduct penalty after repeatedly hitting his stick on the boards in anger when his teammate, Josh Couturier, was sent to the box for a move that did not get penalized when replicated by a Northeastern player. The fiery play by the Eagles showed passion and hunger to;2 win, but ultimately failed to get BC the win.

The Huskies forced the Eagles into their first overtime game of the season. Though BC has seen several close calls with tied games or near-losses plagued by penalties, the Eagles have always come out strong, even scoring as late as the last 30 seconds to claim a win, like on Oct. 30 vs. Denver.

The tie also cut short an 11-game win streak, handing the Eagles one point for their play instead of their usual two. Miles Wood, who was later ejected from the game for cross-checking to the head, still contributed to the Eagles’ lukewarm play by extending his point streak to six games with a goal to start off the first period. Wood showed the power in his shot, slapping the puck far from the goal and evading several Northeastern defensemen.

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor

December 6, 2015