Coming off of a 4-3 overtime loss at home against New Hampshire on Friday, Boston College men’s hockey traveled to the Whittemore Center in Durham, N.H. looking for a win. During Friday’s game, No. 2 BC led 3-2 in regulation and had plenty of chances to expand its lead, but nothing materialized for the Eagles. As a result, the Wildcats (3-4-1) capitalized on a shorthanded opportunity and sent the game into overtime, where they scored during a power play.
The first three periods of Sunday’s game were very similar to Friday’s, and the game once again went to overtime. This time around, however, captain Marc McLaughlin took matters into his own hands and brought BC a 3-2 win with a breakaway goal just seconds into overtime while the Eagles (6-2) were shorthanded.
Despite the games’ similarities, one key difference on Sunday was the return of goaltender Spencer Knight to the net. Knight had previously played in four games with the Eagles this season and was named Hockey East Goaltender of the Month in December. Last week, he, along with teammates Matt Boldy, Drew Helleson, and Alex Newhook, participated in the IIHF World Junior Tournament in Alberta, Canada. Upon returning to Boston after earning a gold medal with Team USA, Knight did not play Friday night but returned to the ice on Sunday.
“He was ready. You have to talk to the players and get a feel for [if they are ready],” BC head coach Jerry York said in his postgame press conference. “Players are not just Xs and Os; they’re people. And when he came back, he just wasn’t ready to play on Friday night, and I respect that. He played very, very well tonight.”
Tempers ran high on Sunday afternoon when the puck dropped, and the Eagles gained momentum early. The newest member of the team, Yale transfer Jack St. Ivany, who played his first game on Friday night, proved he was an asset from early on in the game.
Despite early penalties called against the Eagles, the BC offense capitalized on the incohesive Wildcat defense. Late in the first period, the Eagles got their first point on the board when junior Casey Carreau fired a slap shot at New Hampshire goalie Mike Robinson for his first goal of the season.
The Eagles had little time to celebrate, though, as Mitch Andres—credited with the assist on Carreau’s goal—was charged with a five-minute major penalty for boarding, giving the Wildcats a one-man advantage which carried over into the second period. Nothing came of the power play, but the Wildcats earned another chance less than three minutes later. This second time around, the UNH junior Angus Crookshank forced the puck past Knight, evening the score at one.
Late in the second, York sent out fresh legs. Freshman Colby Ambrosio drove the puck to the Wildcats’ zone and sent a sharp pass to teammate Mike Hardman, who rocketed it into the net, giving the Eagles a 2-1 lead.
Forty seconds into the third period, BC’s Jack McBain went to the penalty box for slashing, and 13 seconds later, Patrick Giles followed him for elbowing a UNH player. The Wildcats tried to make the most of the 5-on-3, attacking Spencer Knight with shots, but the Eagles’ penalty kill was a force to be reckoned with.
“[Our penalty kill] was very good,” York said. “The [5-on-3s] and [4-on-3s] at the end of the game were very good. We just have to stay out of the box ourselves.”
BC began to retake control of the game, but any momentum was short lived when BC’s Trevor Kuntar went to the penalty box with seven minutes left in the third frame. Patrick Grasso’s slap shot whizzed past Knight, and the game looked to be going in the same direction as Friday’s.
As the clock wound down to one second in regulation, Nikita Nesterenko went to the penalty box for tripping, leading to BC being shorthanded for the first two minutes of overtime.
Just 25 seconds into overtime, desperate to not repeat the Eagles’ fate of the previous night, McLaughlin took matters into his own hands. He picked up an errant pass and escaped the Wildcat defense for a one-on-one with Robinson. BC’s bench erupted as McLaughlin sent a shot flying into the net, sealing the game for the Eagles.
“Marc has been a leader since the day he came to school,” York said. “He is so respected in the locker room. That ability to step in shorthanded to score a goal just adds to the credentials, but he has had respect in our room for a long time and not just because of his ability to score a goal. It is because of the way he carries himself and represents BC. He is a terrific captain.”
Featured Image by Kait Devir / Heights Staff