Sports, Hockey, Men's Hockey

Newhook’s Two Goals Spark BC to 6-0 Win Over UConn

Donning throwback sweaters from the 1960s—which drew national attention thanks to the iconic angled “Eagles” text—against visiting Connecticut, Boston College men’s hockey looked good when it skated out on the ice. That didn’t stop when the game started, either.

BC scored two goals in each period, returning to .500 on the year with an emphatic 6-0 blanking of the visiting Huskies. Alex Newhook registered his first multi-goal game of the year for the Eagles (4-4, 2-2 Hockey East) while Spencer Knight was a wall in net, turning away all 30 of UConn’s (2-4-1, 1-2) shots in his second career shutout.

Although the Eagles entered the game looking to command the play from puck drop to the final horn, the Huskies had other ideas. From the start of the first period, UConn controlled the play, rarely allowing BC defensemen to clear the puck out of their own zone before corralling it back for another shot against Knight.

And yet, it was the Eagles’ own in Newhook who netted the first goal of the game. Newhook’s winger, Mike Hardman, shot the puck deep into the Huskies’ zone as the third line rushed in. The puck bounced off the boards where Newhook collected it and shot a seemingly innocent pass into the crease—but it instead snuck between UConn goalie Tomas Vomacka and the post.

The floodgates quickly opened as BC gained back its confidence and began rushing the Huskies’ zone with determination that could not be stopped by UConn defenders. The tables turned on UConn when defenseman Adam Karashik took a minor penalty for hands in the facemask, gifting the Eagles a power play.

Late in the power play, BC capitalized on its man advantage. With just under 40 seconds remaining in 5-on-4 play, senior Graham McPhee passed the puck into the slot, where Connor Moore shot the puck at the awaiting Vomacka. But an unlucky tip by a UConn defenseman allowed the puck to find the back of the net, giving Moore his first goal of the season.

Despite the score after the first period, it was clear that the Huskies had the advantage. With 22 shot attempts to the Eagles’ 14, the stats made it clear that UConn was more offensively savvy than their opponents. And while only 13 of those 22 shots were on net, Knight was forced to make numerous impressive saves in order to preserve that lead.

“UConn outplayed us in the first period,” assistant coach Marty McInnis said following the win. “So we’re real fortunate to come out of it with a 2-0 lead.”

Once the teams came out of the locker rooms following that first intermission, though, BC owned the ice. After spending the majority of the first in their own zone, forced to play much more defensively, the Eagles fought back to keep offensive pressure on the Huskies.

After only seven minutes of play in the second frame, the Eagles got their third tally of the game. With another minor penalty called against the Huskies—this time against defenseman Yan Kuznetsov for slashing—the Eagles had a chance to triple their lead. While they failed to do so on the power play, just seconds after the game returned to 5-on-5 play, Newhook tucked away his second of the game off a shot from teammate Marshall Warren.

Even after that, the Eagles weren’t done. After being out-chanced, outshot, and outplayed by the Huskies in the first, BC fought back and controlled play in the second, not giving UConn any chance of a comeback. And just three minutes after their previous goal, the Eagles lit the lamp again.

With a quick zone entry off a pass from McPhee, sophomore Jack McBain skated past and around UConn defenders, finding space for himself to shoot. And, with a quick spin around his opponents, McBain shot the puck through the five-hole of Vomacka, extending the Eagles’ lead to 4-0. The Eagles were done scoring for that period, but the game wasn’t over yet.

Tensions were high going into the third period, with BC seeking to preserve its lead and record the shutout for Knight. Meanwhile, UConn was trying desperately to finish the game with some resemblance of a competitive output. Shortly after a pair of offsetting penalties, though, Eagles forward Logan Hutsko was quick to add insult to injury. Forcing a turnover around the back of the net, Hutsko made his own space and single-handedly fought off a UConn defenseman to keep the puck in his possession, then slotted it through Vomacka’s five-hole.

The Eagles—who had all but sealed the win—only added to their total midway through the third. After an initial shot by Drew Helleson, the puck bounced around in front of the net, creating chaos as both teams fought for possession. Eventually, the puck found its way to the back of the cage after ricocheting off the skate of captain David Cotton, giving him both credit for the goal and his 99th career point.

Despite the fact that BC clearly had the upper hand over UConn in the latter portion of this game, the Eagles could not keep themselves out of the box, taking multiple unnecessary penalties that gave the Huskies a chance to fight back—both early and late in the game. The two-minute 4-on-4 in the third provided UConn some of its better chances of the game. And, even though it was clear at that point that the odds were in favor of the Eagles securing the win, anything can happen in a 20-minute period.

While Newhook earned the title of the first star of the game, there was no one single player that carried the team. It was an impressive team effort, whether it was the consistent offensive effort or Knight’s heroics in net. Now, the Eagles are coming off a high-energy win going into the second half of the home-and-home with the Huskies.

Images by Jess Rivilis / Heights Staff

November 9, 2019