Top Story, Men's Hockey

Michigan Tech Fends off Eagles’ Rally at Ice Vegas Invitational

Heavy traffic surrounded the crease, and it was only a matter of time before a whistle blew. Originally, it appeared as if Michigan Tech shoved the puck past Boston College men’s hockey goaltender Ryan Edquist. But the officiating crew determined that it never passed the goal line and reversed the call on the ice. BC didn’t escape unscathed though. The referees also ruled that Michael Karow’s skate covered up the puck inside of the crease, in effect, delaying the game, and therefore rewarded the Huskies with a penalty shot. Soon enough, they called on Dylan Steman to beat BC goaltender Ryan Edquist on a one-on-one. The freshman pushed the puck up the ice, approaching the front of the net. Then, once he was within striking distance, the forward faked out Edquist and snapped a shot to the short-side of the cage, giving Michigan Tech a 1-0 lead.

The Huskies’ scoring play, by far the most controversial of the night, marked their first of three in the first period, and first of four overall. Although BC rallied to make it a one-score game on two separate occasions, Michigan Tech’s three-goal first-period lead proved to be too much to overcome, and the Huskies advanced to the final of Ice Vegas Invitational with a 4-3 victory on Friday night in Las Vegas’s T-Mobile Arena.

The No. 13 Eagles (10-8-2, 10-3-0 Hockey East) controlled the puck for the first few minutes of the opening period, but after Michigan Tech’s (11-8-5, 7-6-5 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) Mitch Meek was sent to the box for slashing about seven minutes in, the tone of the game shifted. BC couldn’t connect on its power play and was constantly having to recover the puck from its own zone. Despite killing off a penalty of their own for slashing, the Eagles couldn’t fend off the Huskies for long. With about five and a half minutes left in the frame, a scrum in front of the net ensued and Karow was called for delay of game—Steman capitalized, scoring the game’s first goal.

Soon after, BC’s Jacob Tortora sat for five minutes with a major penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Huskies seized the opportunity. Brent Baltus was able to gain possession of the puck, found a hole in the Eagles’ defense, and whipped up a backhanded shot that weaved its way past Edquist. Because of Tortora’s major penalty, he continued to sit. Heading into the final two minutes of the penalty, BC dug itself into a deeper hole when Zach Walker joined his teammate in the box for boarding. The Huskies wasted no time with their two-player advantage. As the clock wound down in the first period, Steman rifled a shot from the point. His attempt was off the mark, but Mark Auk corralled the rebound and, without hesitation, located a cutting Alex Smith on the left side of the ice for a tap-in goal. After just 20 minutes of play, the Eagles were staring at a three-goal deficit.

Neither team could best the other in the opening minutes of the second period, but BC finally got its chance when Logan Hutsko drew a hooking call on Meek. After the Eagles fired shot after shot on Huskies netminder Devin Kero, Casey Fitzgerald came up with the rebound. The captain took advantage of the fact that Kero was out of position and slotted the puck into the back of the cage.

BC wasn’t finished cutting its deficit. Following Fitzgerald’s goal, Huskies Dane Birks was sent to the box for high sticking. Graham McPhee snuck through the defense and took a shot that deflected off Kero’s pad and into the net, marking the Eagles’ second goal in a span of two minutes and 19 seconds. After Michigan Tech dominated the first period, it was clear that the second frame of regulation was all about BC. Edquist was able to shut out the Huskies in the period, denying an array of shots. Just before both teams headed into their respective locker rooms to prepare for the final frame, Steman was charged with tripping, awarding the Eagles with a one-man advantage.

But BC failed to cash in on the power play, and it continued to trail the Huskies as the game returned to full strength. It appeared as if the game was over when Michigan Tech bested Edquist for a fourth goal, but the refs waved off the second one of the night in favor for a tripping call on Luke McInnis. The Eagles killed off the penalty with ease, as well as the one called on Karow for slashing almost immediately after regaining their fifth player.

Eventually, BC ran out of luck. Thanks to a few reckless passes, the Eagles coughed up the puck. Mitch Reinke tracked it down and connected with Seamus Donohue near the red line. From there, Donohue forwarded the puck to Gavin Gould, who proceeded to charge toward Edquist. The sophomore sped past Fitzgerald and Michael Kim and flung a shot over Edquist’s shoulder, putting Michigan Tech back up two. In an act of desperation, BC head coach Jerry York pulled Edquist. Although Kim scored, the late-game goal wasn’t enough to save the Eagles.

With the loss, BC will now face off against Northern Michigan—a team that the Eagles haven’t played since 1999—in the tournament’s consolation game on Saturday. It looks like Edquist will once again get the nod in net, considering that Joseph Woll just wrapped up the IIHF World Junior Championship. Last week, Edquist shut out University of Connecticut. But on Friday night, he resembled a typical backup goalie. He’ll have a chance to finish his brief stint in goal on a high note on Saturday, before Woll returns to the lineup.

Featured Image by Lizzy Barrett / Heights Editor

January 5, 2018

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