It’s rare in hockey that an offensive line stays the same all season, but the chemistry between sophomores Alex Newhook, Matt Boldy, and Mike Hardman makes changing their line almost impossible for head coach Jerry York. Last season, the talented line came together and formed its bond, an unusual occurrence considering all three members were freshmen. The trio’s talents have continued to shine, and it has become one of the most powerful lines in all of college hockey.
After a heartbreaking loss to UMass in overtime last weekend, the No. 2 Eagles (16-4-1) were eager to change their fate and prove why they deserve the top spot in the Hockey East. Despite Friday marking the 242nd matchup between BC and Northeastern, BC has only played against the No. 18 Huskies (9-8-3) one other time this season, where the Eagles notched a 6-2 win at Matthews Arena on Feb. 2.
Although the Eagles held at least a one-goal lead over the Huskies for large portions of Friday night, the game never felt comfortable for the Eagles—that is until the renowned sophomore line took matters into its own hands. Newhook sent a sharp pass to Boldy, who fired a one-timer at the net, earning the Eagles a 4-2 win.
“They are three outstanding players and they play well together,” York said in his postgame press conference. “They move the puck very, very well. Tonight they started slow, but they came on really strong in the third period. We’re proud of how well they play and awfully glad they’re here in Eagle uniforms.”
Tempers ran high as the puck dropped in Kelley Rink on Friday night, as both teams looked to finish their regular season and enter the Hockey East Tournament on a high note.
Late in the first period, BC’s Patrick Giles sent a forward pass to Trevor Kuntar, who fired a quick backhanded shot into the Huskies’ net, breaking the ice and awarding the Eagles a 1-0 lead. Both BC and Northeastern’s goalies were put to the test in the first 20 minutes, as BC’s Spencer Knight racked up 17 saves, compared to Northeastern netminder Connor Murphy’s 13 saves in that same stretch.
“It’s always a tale of two cities,” continued York. “[In the first period] they controlled the play, and Spencer [Knight] made some acrobatic saves early.”
Back-to-back early second-period penalties on Nikita Nesterenko left the Eagles’ defense shorthanded, but BC proved that it was more than up for the task. On what initially looked like an attempt to ice the puck, Boldy held onto the puck and went flying down the ice toward Northeastern’s net, sending a backhanded shot behind Murphy and earning the Eagles a 2-0 lead.
BC leads the Hockey East and the nation in shorthanded goals this season, with Boldy’s backhand marking the Eagles’ eighth of the season.
“Matt Boldy was outstanding again with two goals, [especially the] one shorthanded,” York said.
There was little time to celebrate though, as less than a minute later Northeastern’s Dylan Jackson capitalized on a Husky rebound and ruined Knight’s chances at a shutout, bringing the score within one.
Soon after, the Eagles were forced to kill their third power play, owing much of their defensive efforts to senior assistant captain Michael Karow. Karow ranks fourth in the Hockey East this season for blocked shots, with a total of 36 entering Friday’s game. On Senior Night, Karow was the lone senior on the ice for the Eagles, as former senior teammate Logan Hutsko signed a professional contract with the Florida Panthers following a season-ending injury.
Nearing the 40-minute mark, the game only continued to escalate with a total of four penalties and three goals in the second period alone. The even-strength Eagles couldn’t stop speedy Husky captain Zach Solow, who sent a monstrous slap shot past Knight, evening the score at two.
Later in the third, captain Marc McLaughlin sent a cross-net pass to Casey Carreau, who snuck it above Murphy’s head and regained the Eagles’ lead. This has really been a breakout season for Carreau, whose tally against Northeastern marked his fifth goal of the season, already four more than he tallied last year.
Boldy sealed the win with an insurance goal for his 50th career point.
This win solidifies the Eagles as the number one seed in the Hockey East Tournament and grants them a home-ice advantage throughout the tournament.
“[Tonight] felt really good,” York said. “I know there is no [regular season] trophy this year, but to me it is a trophy game to get that top seed. … Marc McLaughlin said it’s the first of three championships you can play for. And now we get two more bigger than this. So we have a lot to accomplish this year.”
Featured Image by Molly Bankert / Heights Staff