Men's Hockey

Eagles Inconsistent Season Continues With Deflating 7-2 Loss to Maine

Any hope that Boston College men’s hockey’s win over No. 7 Providence last Friday night was a sign of things to come took a hit with a loss to New Hampshire the day after, then all but faded away against Maine in the second period on Wednesday night. Even though the Eagles were playing without top-line center Julius Mattila and were giving goaltender Joseph Woll a much-deserved night off, BC was thoroughly outclassed from the outset of the second period on, looking far from the Hockey East contender it was pegged at the start of the year.

Instead of shaking off the struggles in the setback against the Wildcats from the weekend, the Eagles sputtered in the offensive zone, lost the faceoff battle, and were outshot by the visiting Black Bears en route to a 7-2 loss.

Backup goaltender Ryan Edquist was eventually pulled with six minutes left in the game for BC (7-11-2, 7-2-3 Hockey East), who lost to Maine (8-11-2, 4-5-2) for the first time in the two teams’ last six meetings. The teams were deadlocked at one goal apiece through the first 20 minutes, but the Black Bears scored three in each of the next two periods to cruise to an easy victory. By the time Eagles forward Jack McBain scored with less than three minutes on the clock, the game’s outcome had long been decided, and BC was continuing its slide down the conference standings.

Eagles head coach Jerry York pointed to one particular play—Maine’s second goal—as the turning point in what resulted in the worst defeat to the Black Bears since 1997. The puck took a favorable bounce off Luke McInnis’ skate and onto the waiting stick of Tim Doherty, who skated in clean on net. His wrister from the slot easily beat Edquist on his high blocker side, and that sparked a run of six consecutive goals allowed by BC.

“I thought we played a very good first period. It was 1-1, we made some good plays offensively and defensively,” York said. “It just seemed like that one bad break we had on that second goal really hurt us. We didn’t handle that as well as we should of.”

After Doherty’s goal, Maine really started to dominante. It held an 11-2 edge in shots through the first eight minutes, with players up and down the roster flinging shots on net. The Eagles had a quick spurt where Black Bears goaltender Jeremy Swayman was called on for several saves, but Maine quickly flipped the ice and kept the momentum.

Eventually, with four minutes left in the period, Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup broke through for the visitors. He was denied twice earlier in the period by Edquist but eventually capitalized on another costly turnover in the defensive zone by BC. McInnis was attempting to clear a pass, but Schmidt-Svejstrup emerged from the Maine bench to intercept it before waltzing in uninhibited and sending a wrister into the right corner.

Less than two minutes later, Eduards Tralmek added to the lead with a casual wrister from near the blue line. Tralmek used a defenseman as a screen to catch Edquist off guard, slipping a shot into the low corner of the net. It was an opportunistic goal and a fitting punctuation mark on a period that was thoroughly dominated by Tralmek and the Black Bears.

They didn’t let up, though. After Maine killed off a penalty—one of just two in the game for the Black Bears, which entered as the most penalized team in the conference—it continued to jump all over Edquist and the Eagles. First, new BC defenseman Ben Finkelstein coughed up the puck in his own defensive zone with a bad pass, and although Maine’s Jack Quinlivan’s ensuing shot was denied, Daniel Perez wasn’t with a point-blank rebound. Four minutes later, a replay review after a scrum in front of the net went the Black Bears’ way, and Quinlivan was awarded a goal after muscling the puck past Edquist in the streak. Then, to add insult to injury, Edquist was chased as Patrick Shea one-timed the puck past him from the right circle for a shocking seventh goal—the fourth time BC has allowed six or more goals this season.

The first period was a strong one for the Eagles—they quickly answered Emil Westerlund’s goal with a beautiful power play finish from David Cotton after successive passes from Casey Fitzgerald and Michael Kim—but the next two were incredibly disappointing for the group. York was blunt after, saying “we’re still certainly a work in progress,” but it remains to be seen if the team will find any semblance of balance entering postseason play.

BC is only two points behind the conference-leading Massachusetts, but it’d be unrealistic to see York and Co. catching the Minutemen after the last two games. Sure, the Eagles can knock off a top-10 team, but the inconsistency that has plagued them throughout the year returned with back-to-back losses, the second of which is simply inexcusable. With the talent BC boasts, a midweek game against the seventh-best team in the conference—and one that the Eagles have recently held a decisive edge over—should never end in a crushing five-goal loss.

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Senior Staff

January 17, 2019