Boston College men’s hockey came into Saturday night’s matchup against Northeastern looking to sweep its home-and-home series, having been the victors by a score of 3-1 the previous night. The Eagles were trying to finish off their frustrating season on a high note and play spoiler against their Boston rivals, whereas the Huskies are fighting for home ice advantage in the NCAA tournament. Despite outshooting its opponent, 43-22, and having what seemed to be a productive night offensively, though, BC was unable to do so, falling 4-2.
Through 40 minutes of regulation, the game stayed competitive, and it looked like both sides had an equal chance of coming out on top. It was marked by physicality, with the teams trading decent chances—typical of most matchups between the regional foes. It was not until the third period, however, that the Huskies (22-10-1, 14-8-1 Hockey East) ran away with the game, and despite BC’s (11-19-3, 10-10-3) late push, the game was far out of reach by the time it was able to find the back of the net.
Northeastern got on the board just three minutes into the game, as A.J. Villella ripped a shot from the right point to beat Eagles goaltender Joseph Woll, who was partially screened. BC produced 15 shots throughout the remainder of the first period and put Huskies goaltender Cayden Primeau to the test, but could not capitalize on any of their chances. Primeau had a busy and impressive night, tallying 41 saves and keeping the Eagles scoreless until the final four minutes of regulation.
BC never pumped the brakes when it came to firing shots away at Primeau, generating numerous chances all across the ice. David Cotton almost got one past him at the right post, and Marc McLaughlin had a terrific one-timer opportunity from the slot. Yet he denied all of BC’s 12 shots during the second period. His success was largely matched on the other side of the ice through Woll, and the frame remained scoreless for both teams.
The third period told a completely different story, as the Huskies scored three goals in the first 13 minutes, extending their lead to 4-0 and maintaining it for the majority of the period. Patrick Schule opened the floodgates for his team in the first minute, following his own rebound on an odd-man rush from the right wing and beating Woll inside the short-side post. Just three minutes later, Jordan Harris flicked a backhanded pass to Brandon Hawkins and watched the one-timer sneak inside the left pipe. The game was getting away from the Eagles before they even had time to regroup and respond. John Picking assisted an Austin Plevy snipe from the slot, as he joined the scoring by sending the puck ringing past Woll off the right post.
The Eagles did end up answering the Huskies, but there was not enough time to come back from the deficit. Cotton, currently ranked sixth in the nation in goals per game, continued his season-long success, as he netted his 20th of the season with three minutes left in the final period. Cotton picked up Oliver Wahlstrom’s rebound from the right circle and flung a backhand shot past Primeau. Aapeli Räsänen joined Cotton minutes later when he snuck an easy rebound past Primeau with 45 seconds on the clock during their last-minute 6-on-5 scramble. Still, it was evident that Northeastern had eased up by then, and the eventual outcome of the game was obvious.
As the final horn sounded, Northeastern improved to second place in the Hockey East standings. Head coach Jerry York’s squad, on the other hand, fell backwards to a .500 record in conference play, bumping them down to seventh place in the league’s standings. It’s an underwhelming mark, especially for a team that was picked to win the conference regular season title, and the four-goal lead the Huskies built reflected the inconsistency that the Eagles have had from game to game this season.
Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Editor