It’s been 24 days since Alex Newhook stepped on the ice in a Boston College men’s hockey jersey. For any other team, 24 days without last season’s National Rookie of the Year might have put a halt to their season. Even 24 hours without one of the team’s two leading scorers from 2019-20 could’ve caused a serious decrease in offensive production.
BC isn’t any other team.
Sure, Newhook is an integral part of the Eagles’ offensive core, but luckily for head coach Jerry York, the talent of his squad extends well beyond one person. It extends so far, even, that six different scorers—and not the usual suspects, either—lit the lamp in No. 1 BC’s 6-2 win over No. 14 Northeastern (6-4-2) on Tuesday.
One of those six scorers was Michael Karow, a senior defender who, in 119 games in a BC uniform, had never found the back of the net. His luck changed with 4:40 to play in game No. 120, and the Eagles (10-2-1) celebrated as if they had just won the National Championship.
“I think we’re solid up and down the lineup,” York said. “We certainly have some headline attention guys, you know, Matt Boldy, Logan Hutsko, and Jack McBain … We’ve got some big, strong guys in our club as well as some, you know, kind of shifty guys, so it’s a good blend, but our depth is excellent.”
Karow’s unassisted goal was indicative of the game’s most obvious pattern: physicality. Karow muscled his way through a flock of Huskies before firing a long-range shot on net. From puck drop to the final whistle, the two teams traded blows, and the refs adopted a “let them play” mentality.
McBain, Nikita Nesterenko, and Northeastern’s Grant Jozefek got into a scuffle late in the second period in front of BC goaltender Spencer Knight’s net, resulting in three of just seven penalties all game long. McBain went to the box, but BC’s penalty kill unit was in top form as it has been all season.
BC’s penalty kill unit showed an early flash of weakness, however, with 41 seconds left in a first-period Northeastern power play. The Huskies took an early 1-0 lead off of a set play with traffic clouding Knight’s vision.
Nesterenko found the equalizer minutes later when he corralled the puck off of his skate and snuck it in behind goaltender Connor Murphy. It took BC all of 48 seconds to command the lead on a goal from Patrick Giles. The majority of BC’s goals came from someone being in the right place at the right time, Nesterenko’s included.
“Hockey is—like Cooney Weiland, the old Harvard coach used to say—‘it’s a slippery game played on ice,’” York said. “You’ve got to have some grinders, you’ve got to be in that goal [or] crease area to score goals, so they’re not always going to be highlight-reel goals.”
Though the game’s final score indicates a runaway for the Eagles, that wasn’t the case for the majority of the contest. Northeastern found an equalizer just over six minutes into the second frame after holding court in front of Knight for a while, and Michael Kesselring fired an unguarded shot at the goal.
Faced with a tie game, BC quickly began to run up the score. About 30 seconds after Kesselring’s goal, Marc McLaughlin intercepted a pass right in front of the crease and scored to take the lead, which held through the final whistle.
“Marc McLaughlin has become one of our real on-ice producers,” York said. “Just excellent play. He’s scoring goals, but he’s [also] checking well.”
Marshall Warren connected on a wrister from the blue line to make it 4-2, then came Karow’s insurance goal. McBain finished off the night’s scoring with 49 seconds to go in the game.
With the win, BC opened its rivalry week with a bang. The rivalry between BC and Northeastern pales in comparison to the Battle of Comm. Ave., but a win is no less motivating. The Eagles are set to take on BU in a home-and-home series this Friday and Saturday, renewing one of the most historic rivalries in college hockey.
“[BU is] our number one rival without a question, so Friday and Saturday can’t come quick enough for us,” York said.
Featured Image by Kait Devir / Heights Senior Staff