Top Story, Men's Hockey

Northeastern Shuts Out Eagles in First Round of Beanpot

With five minutes left in the second period, and Boston College men’s hockey down by one, goaltender Joseph Woll denied a wrister from the blue line from Northeastern’s Dylan Sikura. The puck bounced off in front, right to the stick of Huskies forward Nolan Stevens, who had plenty of room around him to bury the easy one-timer.

Once again, the Eagles’ defense had lost track of a Northeastern player—and Woll couldn’t bail them out.

Despite piling up 28 saves, including several during 1-on-1 situations, Woll was left with a 3-0 shutout loss in the team’s Beanpot opener as No. 18 BC (13-12-3, 13-6-0 Hockey East) struggled on special teams and turned the puck over time and time again. It was the third-straight loss for the Eagles in the tournament, dating back to last year’s winless outing, and their second to the Huskies (16-7-5, 11-5-3) in as many games.

Adam Gaudette buried another rebound with just under five minutes left—the icing on the cake for a Northeastern squad that is looking for its first Beanpot championship in 30 years.

“We just didn’t box out,” BC head coach Jerry York said after. “Joe [Woll] makes the save and there’s no box out in front. That’s something we have to address there.”

The Eagles may have outshot Northeastern, 37-32, but it was clear which team was generating better looks. That said, after killing its first penalty of the game, BC controlled the puck in the Huskies’ zone and appeared to be filled with newfound energy. The Eagles unleashed a flurry of shots on Northeastern freshman goaltender Cayden Primeau, who needed a glove save to deny a Christopher Brown one-timer, and a misfire from J.D. Dudek at the point.

Then, a second BC penalty reversed the script. Dudek chased down Biagio Lerario and dove into him, picking up a two-minute penalty for tripping. The Huskies entered with the best power-play success rate among Hockey East teams, and it showed. Sikura, who scored the eventual game-winner in last year’s Beanpot consolation game against BC, flicked a wrister from the right circle. The puck nicked Casey Fitzgerald’s stick and Woll couldn’t make the adjustment, with the puck squeezing through the gap between his glove and torso.

Any momentum the Eagles had dissipated. Northeastern’s Matt Filipe nearly scored on a breakaway just seconds after puck drop following Sikura’s goal, but Woll wasn’t fooled by the sophomore’s deke to his left. BC’s defense was embarrassed later in the period, though, as Zach Solow made BC’s Connor Moore look helpless with an impressive move—but Filipe, once receiving a near-side feed, wasn’t able to push the puck past Woll.

Woll kept the Eagles in it, denying a one-timer from Brandon Hawkins—who snuck behind Moore and was left unguarded at the doorstep of BC’s net. The Eagles managed to keep up with Northeastern in terms of shots, but there wasn’t any question which team was in command. If not for the superb early play from Woll, BC could’ve been staring at a two or three-goal deficit at the end of the first.

The Eagles came out stronger in the second, putting pressure on Primeau for the first time in a while. Julius Matilla had a wrister saved from the left circle, and Fitzgerald followed with three-consecutive shots on net after BC went on its first power play. However, despite leading in shots, it never really seemed that the Eagles were going to break through.

They managed to create their biggest chance of the night on a third-period power play when David Cotton got a shot off in front of the net, but he flicked it high off the crossbar. A few seconds earlier, Mattila couldn’t put the finishing touches on a set-up feed, while cutting in from the left side.

BC went back on the power play, but it couldn’t capitalize when Primeau was out of position, or when it had a clean look to the left of the net. The Eagles finished 0-of-4 on the power play and were held scoreless down the stretch. Northeastern was without Gaudette on the first power play and Sikura on the second—the Huskies two best players—but BC still wasn’t able to get on the board.

Gaudette capped the scoring with five minutes left—insurance that Northeastern wouldn’t need. After he finished off the rebound, he landed on his knees and pumped his fists in the air. It was a stark reminder that although the Eagles entered the day leading the Huskies in the Hockey East standings by a point, Northeastern was clearly the better team.

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Senior Staff

February 5, 2018