Sports, Hockey, Men's Hockey

Notebook: Eagles’ Persistent Offense Too Much For Maine

With a 3-0 victory over Maine on Saturday, Boston College men’s hockey completed its fifth weekend sweep of the year. But as is the case with any game in the Hockey East, it didn’t come easily. The game tested both the Eagles’ mental and physical toughness, as they withstood physical play and faced roadblocks at every scoring opportunity through a period and a half. Two goals in a dominant third period for the Eagles added insurance. Here are four takeaways from Saturday’s game:

Killing It

Physical play by the Eagles led to plenty of unforced penalties on Saturday, beginning late in the first period with a cross-check by Trevor Kuntar. The pentaties continued to pile up in the second period when Harrison Roy, after taking a hit, let his emotions get the best of him and earned a game misconduct penalty. Not even one minute into the five-minute major, officials called Nikita Nesterenko for a tripping penalty, leaving the Eagles to handle a 5-on-3 situation.  

A combination of physical defense and dominance in the net by Spencer Knight made the Black Bears look uncomfortable with the puck, even with a two-man advantage. During the 5-on-3 play, Knight fended off two big rips with ease, and the Eagles’ defenders battled the puck away to prevent a rebound scoring chance. That penalty kill and others like it kept the Eagles in the game and led to their first goal from Patrick Giles late in the second.

Persistence Pays Off

From the outset, the Eagles came out firing at the net. They moved the puck around their zone with ease and had many great looks at the net in the first frame. But even with sure-handed scorers Alex Newhook and Matt Boldy getting good looks, the scoreline was stagnant. The Eagles finished the first period with an astounding 23 shots on goal, compared to Maine’s five.  

Despite plenty of chances, midway through the second period, the score was still tied at zero.  Toward the end of the second frame, the Eagles put their persistence on full display and kept fighting for rebound after rebound, even as each chance continued to deflect away. That is, until junior forward Giles finally broke the game open by muscling a defender away to score a rebound goal. Giles’ goal marked his third on the year and put him in double-digit points on the season.

Setting The Tone

Both teams came out much more physically for Saturday’s contest than they had on Friday. After the Eagles rolled over Maine in the first period, the Black Bears set a physical tone in the second period. The punches began to roll with a big hit on Roy in the neutral zone that caused him to skate gingerly off the ice. Later, both Kuntar and Casey Carreau suffered big hits that forced them to leave the ice. Toward the end of the second period, however, the Eagles responded to this physical play with big hits of their own. Newhook got tangled up with a Maine player after the whistle, causing a big scuffle behind the net.  

Third Time’s The Charm

Going into the third period, the game was still very much up for grabs. The Black Bears hung tough for two periods with the top-ranked Eagles because of physical play and great goaltending by freshman Victor Ostman. But, dominant play from the Eagles in the third dashed any of Maine’s remaining hopes for an upset.

BC’s late-game dominance began with another Newhook power-play goal in what has been an astonishing start to his season. Boldy sent a pass from behind the net to Newhook, who finished it with a rip from the point. The sophomore now has four power-play goals in just seven games this season. The Eagles’ pattern of dominance continued later in the period with a goal from freshman forward Colby Ambrosio. Similarly to Giles, he muscled his defender away for a rebound goal. 

Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Editor

February 21, 2021

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