After coming off three straight losses, Boston College men’s hockey had a lot to prove in its first stop of a road-trip weekend at New Hampshire on Friday night. It was a crucial meeting for the No. 15 Eagles, who, having been pegged early in the season as a top contender in Hockey East standings, found themselves at the bottom of the pack at the start of the weekend. And things got worse on Friday night.
Following a scoreless 60 minutes of regulation, UNH netted a single goal in overtime, handing BC a 1-0 defeat and its fourth straight setback.
BC (2-4, 0-2 Hockey East) had an easy time against the Wildcats’ (3-2-1, 2-1) defense immediately following the initial puck drop as it took shot after shot on UNH goaltender Mike Robinson. Despite the pressure, the Eagles couldn’t beat the netminder. After a full five minutes spent in UNH’s zone, BC still couldn’t connect. Halfway through the period, the game was quiet, with neither team being called for a penalty or scoring a goal.
With just five minutes left in the period, it looked like BC had its chance to finally take the lead. It appeared as if Mike Hardman lit the lamp, but the puck never crossed the line. Robinson was able to cover it up before it could be tucked in, keeping the game scoreless. In the waning seconds of the frame, the Wildcats headed to the box for the first penalty of the evening. A hooking call on Anthony Wyse gave the Eagles an advantage late into the period, and it bled into the second frame.
Even with the extra player, BC couldn’t connect on the power play. The Eagles were given a second power play after Wyse sent Hardman down behind the cage, resulting in a checking infraction. Despite multiple chances—including a one-timer by Matt Boldy—BC went two minutes without being able to get past Robinson.
Halfway through the period, Marc McLaughlin was whistled for interference, giving the Eagles their first penalty of the night. BC was able to emerge unscathed, though, successfully killing off the penalty.
After dominating possession of the puck throughout the game, the Eagles were put on the defensive once Jackson Pierson closed in on Spencer Knight in the second period. Fighting through his defenseman, the sophomore tried to fake out Knight, but the Darien, Conn., native wasn’t fooled and covered the puck. BC found itself back in the box with a checking call on Julius Mattila. The Eagles were able to kill off the penalty, and both teams headed off the ice, still scoreless.
Throughout the third period, both sides became more aggressive in an attempt to avoid overtime. A shot by Boldy looked to be BC’s golden opportunity, but it was blocked at the last minute by Robinson, denying the freshman the chance to get on the board. With 10 minutes left in the game, the Hockey East rivals were still deadlocked at 0-0.
A third penalty on Angus Crookshank gave the Eagles a critical advantage late in the final frame. But after two minutes, BC once again failed to cash in on the special teams opportunity. As the period wound down, both teams were trying to find a player who would step up and break the tie. Neither BC nor the Wildcats were able to capitalize, and they headed to overtime.
Interestingly enough, it only took the Wildcats three minutes of overtime to record the game-winner. Crookshank ripped a wrister from the circle that flew past multiple defensemen, and Knight couldn’t get in front of it quick enough. It was Crookshank’s first goal of the season, and it delivered the Eagles another tough setback.
Overall, since beating Wisconsin and Colgate by a combined 8-3 margin to open the year, BC has struggled mightily. The Eagles were swept by No. 1 Denver back on Oct. 18-19, a two-game stretch that sent them spiraling into back-to-back losses to conference foes in Providence and UNH. BC is now two games under .500, and memories of last year’s up-and-down season are starting to creep back in. The Eagles will attempt to right the ship against the Friars on Saturday—a team that rolled to a 6-2 win over BC just last week.