Top Story, Men's Hockey

Edquist, BC Record First Shutout of Season Against UConn

When Boston College men’s hockey faces off against University of Connecticut, chances are the Eagles aren’t giving up many goals, regardless of who’s in net. Prior to Saturday afternoon’s matchup—the first game for either team in three weeks, due to the mandatory NCAA break—both Joseph Woll and Ryan Edquist had conceded just one goal in each of their most recent starts against the Huskies. Because Woll is currently in Buffalo, N.Y. representing the United States in the IIHF World Junior Championship, Edquist got the nod in cage. The sophomore didn’t disappoint, saving 23 shots in the Eagles’ 2-0 win—both Edquist’s first shutout of his career and the team’s first blanking of the season.

Both No. 14 BC (10-7-2, 10-3-0 Hockey East) and UConn (8-12-2, 5-8-1) effectively moved the puck throughout the first period, but the Eagles created more scoring opportunities and dominated possession. There was not much action until the referees dished out the first penalty of the game: Ten minutes in, BC’s Zach Walker was called for tripping. Last time out against UConn, freshman Logan Hutsko scored a shorthanded goal—the Eagles almost recorded another one on Saturday. J.D. Dudek had a good look at the net, but at the last second a Huskies defender snatched the puck away. The power play ended with nothing to show for it.

Shortly after the UConn power play, Brian Rigali boarded BC freshman Christopher Grando, and the Eagles took their first hack at a one-man advantage. All season, BC had struggled on the power play, converting just 10 of its 70 opportunities. But against the Huskies, the Eagles beat their own odds. David Cotton won the battle in front of a congested net, cluttered with BC and UConn sweaters, and found the back of the cage with a bit more than seven minutes left in the first period. Thanks to Cotton’s third goal of the season, the Eagles were in the driver’s seat entering the second frame.

The first period was competitive in every facet of the game, but BC took its 1-0 lead by outshooting UConn, 10-6, killing its one penalty, and finally cashing in on the power play.

The second period started off with UConn coming out aggressive and easily extinguishing any sort of threat the Eagles posed on their second power play of the day. BC also picked up the intensity and whipped up a few shots, but, about five minutes later, Graham McPhee was called for cross-checking, giving the Huskies a shot at equalizing the game. With 52 seconds left to go on the UConn power play, Casey Fitzgerald picked up a penalty for slashing, forcing the Eagles to play two men down. Fortunately for BC, McPhee came back out of the box a minute later, making it a 4-on-5, and the Eagles killed the penalty a few seconds later.

BC dominated the beginning of the third period. It controlled the puck early and got multiple shots off, but none of them were on target. The Eagles finally converted and scored with 10 minutes left to go off a second-chance Ron Greco goal, his fifth of the season. Greco took the feed from Walker behind the net and muscled his way in front of the crease. Fitzgerald was also involved with keeping the play alive and was credited with an assist. The Eagles’ second goal of the game gave them some breathing room midway through the third period and eventually secured the victory.

The game ended with the Huskies killing a BC power play in the final minutes and then pulling goaltender Adam Huska, but the extra firepower hardly made a difference. The Eagles maintained their lead, remained unscathed, and capped off the win.

Edquist’s performance was a vast improvement from that of Woll’s the last time BC suited up before the break. The Toronto Maple Leafs prospect conceded four goals, including three on the power play in the first period alone, in a 5-2 loss to Northeastern. While Woll is still clearly head coach Jerry York’s primary goaltender, it’s games like these that show why the longtime coach shouldn’t shy away from inserting a guy like Edquist when things go south.

Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Staff

December 30, 2017