J.D. Dudek wanted a second chance at redemption.
The Boston College men’s hockey forward spends his summers shooting against New Hampshire goaltender Danny Tirone. Dudek shoots at Tirone during the summer to gear up for the college season. So when Dudek got a chance to go up against Tirone in a real game, he was ready to get the best of one of his good friends.
Through 55 minutes, that wasn’t happening. Dudek had plenty of chances against Tirone, but nothing he did was landing on the net. After the whistle blew following one Tirone save, Dudek chatted him up. He let Tirone know he was coming.
Unfortunately for Tirone, Dudek did. His game-winning goal with under three minutes to go saved the Eagles and helped clinch a 5-3 victory over their swing state rivals. The victory gave BC its ninth game without a loss, and kept the Eagles undefeated in Hockey East play. But for Dudek, he was happy to get the best of a good friend and occasional rival.
“I told him I was going to get him back, so doing it was kind of nice,” Dudek said.
New Hampshire (4-4-1, 2-1-0 Hockey East) always makes things stressful. No, not just when it comes down to presidential elections (as true as that may be). The last time the Wildcats met up with BC (9-2-1, 5-0-1), the two teams fought to the bitter end with a third period involving plenty of goals and even more penalties. Early on, it didn’t appear if that would be the case.
Christopher Brown got the scoring started early for BC with a power-play goal halfway through the first period. The series was started by David Cotton, as he brought the puck down the near boards. Cotton then dished it to Austin Cangelosi, who passed behind his back to Scott Savage. The defenseman sent a blast from the blue line, and Brown was ready to tip it in.
By the second, the Eagles extended their lead even further on the backs of their even-strength play. Ryan Fitzgerald lost a faceoff to a Wildcat center, but immediately pushed his opponent out of the way to win it back. He and Colin White then pushed it out to Casey Fitzgerald at the blue line. The younger Fitzgerald blasted it past Tirone’s right armpit, doubling BC’s lead.
Four minutes later, the Eagles got a breakaway. Cangelosi dashed down the far boards and waited, waited, waited for the perfect moment. At the last second, when he saw that Tirone sold out too far to the left, he eyed Matthew Gaudreau. The senior took advantage, slamming the puck home.
Yet New Hampshire roared back. After Brendan van Riemsdyk launched a faceoff winner toward the end of the second, the Eagles lost the momentum heading into the locker room. By the third, it worsened, thanks to several BC penalties. The Eagles played a man down for nearly four minutes in a row after a trip by Casey Fitzgerald and a cross-check by Dudek. On the latter, Jason Salvaggio had nothing but net in front of him when Scott Savage and Joe Woll had to sell out too far to prevent a clear shot by Michael McNicholas. Even later, Casey just couldn’t stay out of the box. Two more penalties, the latter of which led to a power play, helped the Wildcats jump back in it. Matias Cleland fired a bar-down clapper from between the circles to tie the game late.
Yet that’s when Dudek came alive. Gaudreau sat comfortably behind the net after a breakaway. As Dudek came crashing in, Gaudreau dished the puck to him, and he sent it sailing over Tirone’s head.
And, on a day when New Hampshire helped stress the entire nation out, a native made things a little easier in Chestnut Hill.
Featured Image by Lizzy Barrett / Heights Staff