After the announcement earlier this week that seeding for the Hockey East Tournament will take place based on the Hockey East Power Index, Boston College men’s hockey found itself in first place but with a very narrow lead over crosstown rival Boston University. A dominant 7-1 win over UMass Lowell may have given the Eagles just what they needed to ensure their top spot for at least the time being. Here are five takeaways from Friday’s game.
The Three Musketeers:
The Eagles’ sophomore line of Matt Boldy, Alex Newhook, and Mike Hardman put on full display why the Eagles currently hold the No. 1 spot in the nation. The trio combined for 11 points and contributed greatly to the Eagles’ dominance over the River Hawks. Hardman started the scoring with a goal late in the first period. Then, in just his third game back from injury, Newhook exploded on the power play with two goals, one in each the second and third frames. Boldy added a goal in the second, making it the first time this season that all three have scored in a single game.
Lights Out, It’s Knight Time
With plenty of chaos going on around his net, sophomore goaltender Spencer Knight looked calm, cool, and collected. Knight came into Friday’s game after suffering his first loss of the season at Boston University last weekend. Aside from one early mistake, Knight bounced back with 29 saves to prove why he is one of the country’s top goalies. The River Hawks had a few fast-break opportunities early on that Knight held off, including a 3-on-0 chance that he denied with seconds left in the first period. In the second period, Knight added some offense to his arsenal with a great pass on the power play to set up Newhook’s first goal.
Throughout most of the season, the Eagles have had trouble scoring on the power play. Over the past few games, however, the trend has improved and continued to do so against the River Hawks. After a mistake on the first power play to allow UMass Lowell a shorthanded goal, the Eagles bounced back with three goals on the power play. With 7:25 left in the first period, the Eagles notched their second goal of the game when captain Marc McLaughlin deflected Boldy’s shot to Hardman for the goal. The next two strikes on the power play came from Newhook.
Alex Newhook is Back:
With 19:34 left in the second period, Newhook notched his first goal of the season—much later than many expected from the player who tied for the team-high in goals last season. After a shoulder injury held Newhook out of action for most of January and early February, Newhook has finally retaken his spot. The Eagles were on a power play when Knight advanced the puck end to end. From there, Boldy made a great pass to Newhook for his first goal in nearly a year. He tacked on a second power-play goal later on. Newhook finished the game with three points, adding an assist to Hardman’s goal late in the third.
The Eagles’ lack of Newhook was evident on the power play for most of the season. Going into the series with BU last weekend, the Eagles were only scoring on about 10 percent of their chances on the power play. Newhook’s return has spurred a resurgence of the Eagles’ dominance in 5-on-4 play.
Domination at Home:
A large part of the Eagles’ success this year has been their dominance at Kelley Rink. Even without a rowdy crowd of fans, the Eagles improved to 6-1-1 on the season at home, on pace for their best home record since the 2015-16 season. Their sole loss came in an overtime contest against New Hampshire, making BC the only team in the Hockey East to remain undefeated in regulation on home ice.
Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Editor