Coming off a tough loss Friday against Maine (12-9-4, 6-7-2 Hockey East), Boston College men’s hockey looked to bounce back in the two-game series as it faced the Black Bears again on Saturday night in Conte Forum. Heading into Friday night’s game, the Eagles (15-7, 9-5) were on a three-game winning streak standing second in Hockey East behind No. 7 Massachusetts.
Both teams came out in Saturday’s match up playing pretty evenly. Neither team dominated possession early, but BC seemed to gain momentum late in the first on a powerplay opportunity due to a high sticking penalty. The Eagles moved the puck well and dominated possession, ultimately leading to a slapshot goal by senior Julius Mattila, finding the top right corner off a cross-ice assist from Logan Hutsko with two minutes left on the clock.
Just a minute later, the Eagles found themselves on the defensive end, with Maine hammering shots on net. After some great saves, goalie Spencer Knight found himself defending without his stick, having lost it to a defender’s skate. The Black Bears took advantage of this opportunity, with junior Veli-Matti Tiuraniemi slamming home a goal from just in front of the blue line. Head coach Jerry York argued with the refs, but the officials determined that the goal would stand.
The second period started off relatively slow, neither team getting many shots on net. Midway through the period Hutsko had a nice wrist-shot opportunity, going off goalie Jeremy Swayman’s shoulder just above the crossbar. Neither team was able to gain possession for the majority of the period, and momentum remained fairly neutral.
With six minutes left in the second frame, Maine netted its second goal of the game, forward Mitchell Fossier finding the top left corner of the net. The second period ended similarly to the way it had the night before, with the Eagles heading into the third having given up two unanswered goals. BC was going to need a major momentum swing to get itself back into this game.
After a back-and-forth start to the third period, the Eagles were finally able to get back on the scoreboard. Senior Graham McPhee found the back of the net with a powerful wrist shot, deflecting off a Maine defender before flying by the glove of Swayman with 11 minutes left in the third. The rest of the third period was a neck-and-neck battle between the two teams, both getting shots on net, but neither able to score. For the second night in a row, the Eagles were headed to overtime.
Despite BC’s aggressive play in overtime, the Eagles were unable to get the job done. With less than a minute left in the period, Maine’s Patrick Shea put home the winning goal, upsetting the Eagles for the second night in a row.
With its second consecutive win and fifth straight series win over the Eagles, Maine advances to eighth place in the Hockey East standings, while BC remains stagnant at second place. The Eagles have the week off to look internally at what needs to change before they return next Friday to face Massachusetts in Amherst for the chance to take over first place in the conference.
Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Editor