A spectacular performance in the net by Spencer Knight; a skillful Alex Newhook goal; a multi-point night for Logan Hutsko—these headlines are all too familiar for Boston College men’s hockey, and the same stories surfaced in Friday night’s game. Two overtime heartbreakers against Maine in the Eagles’ previous two matchups seemed to be enough fuel the squad to a dominant victory over UMass Amherst by a score of 3-0 on Friday night.
The No. 5 Eagles (16-7-0, 10-5-0 Hockey East) and No. 7 Minutemen (16-9-2, 9-6-2) took the ice at Mullins Center with major playoff implications as they head into the month of February. With their victory, the Eagles claimed the season series 2-1, earning them a much needed seeding tiebreaker for the postseason, as the two teams currently sit tied for first in the conference.
While the first frame was scoreless to open up the matchup, the physicality between the two powerhouse programs was obvious as both teams exchanged back-and-forth scoring opportunities throughout the entire period. Toward the concluding minutes of the period, BC goaltender Spencer Knight was peppered with shots from all across the ice, being tested seven times in the final two minutes of the frame alone.
Nonetheless, Knight’s dominant and noticeably poised presence in between the pipes led to him registering a 30-save shutout, with a highlight-reel worthy stop coming against a Zac Jones backhand deke. Friday night’s performance marked Knight’s fifth perfect game this season, solidifying his spot as the foundation of the Eagles’ success.
Despite being granted five man advantage opportunities as the Eagles steadily went to the box to serve minor penalties, UMass simply was not able to find a solution for Knight all night long.
After a slow start, tallies began to appear on the scoreboard in the second frame. Just a minute into the period, Alex Newhook batted down a Ben Finklestein rebound with his glove and hit the puck out of midair to beat UMass goaltender Matt Murray glove side. The out-of-the-box goal gave the Eagles a lead that they would maintain for the remainder of the night.
Toward the middle of the same frame, David Cotton and Logan Hutsko crossed the opponent’s zone on a two-on-one rush, leading to yet another remarkable Hutsko tally. The junior forward cut quickly to his backhand and lifted the puck right under the crossbar, beating Murray with his quickness.
Coupled by an assist on Newhook’s goal, Hutsko had yet another multi-point performance. With a total of 15 goals and eight assists on the season, the junior forward has proven time and time again to be the Eagles’ go-to man to find the back of the net.
In the final two minutes of the frame, Graham McPhee extended BC’s lead even further with a snipe of a shot from just outside the slot. The final goal iced the victory for BC, as a far slower third period allowed for the Eagles to ease their way toward their 16th win on the season.
The Eagles will fly high into the 68th Beanpot tournament tied for first place in the Hockey East standings. They look to face rival Boston University at TD Garden for an 8 p.m. puck drop.
Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Editor