As Conte Forum rocked with a “let’s go Eagles” chant, a sound Boston College men’s hockey hasn’t heard live in 588 days, Jack McBain wrapped the puck around the back of Northeastern’s net and fired a backhanded pass to Colby Ambrosio. Ambrosio sent a quick tap of the puck into the back of the net and then jumped into the boards, with fans banging on the boards right behind him. And just like that, Conte Forum was back.
After Ambrosio’s third-period goal to put the Eagles up by one, No. 6 BC (2–0–1, 1–0–0 Hockey East) went on to score two more to secure a 5–3 win over the No. 18 Huskies (2–2–0, 0–1–0).
“We saw the packed corners and [a] tremendous amount of students [that] came to support us, so I felt really good,” BC head coach Jerry York said. “I thought it was a key factor in the game.”
The Eagles opened their Hockey East campaign on home ice on Friday, looking to continue their early-season win streak after taking home a trophy in the 2021 Ice Breaker Tournament following wins over Quinnipiac and Holy Cross.
Tempers ran high as soon as the puck dropped in Conte Forum. A smart pass by Sam Sternschein sent a Husky defender flying and gave Marshall Warren an open lane for a shot. Warren crushed a slap shot past Husky goaltender Devon Levi, earning the Eagles an early one-goal advantage just five minutes into the game.
“[Warren] is really coming [along],” York said. “It was a terrific pass by Sam Sternschein, to a late defensive man coming, which was Marshall. So it was just a good all-around play but Marshall gets better and better. Our two assistant coaches, Brooks Orpik and Brendan Buckley, work with the defensemen and you can see them all raising their game here.”
Halfway through the first period, a five-minute major penalty against Casey Carreau left the Eagles shorthanded, but BC’s penalty kill unit looked as strong as ever. BC would go on to face five more penalties to kill, one of which was a 5-on-3, but with the help of veteran captain Marc McLaughlin and defensemen Warren, they prevented any Husky power-play goals until the final moments of the game.
“I think probably our ability to kill that five-minute major really set a tone for us,” York said. “I felt very good about the game. Our playing in all three zones was solid. There were a lot of mistakes we see as coaches, but they’re all correctable mistakes.”
Although they did not have a response in the first period, the Huskies came out with momentum in the second. Not even two minutes into the frame, Dylan Jackson sent a cross-net pass to Aidan McDonough, who slotted the shot behind BC goaltender Eric Dop to tie it up.
Four minutes later, Northeastern struck again in the same fashion. This time, it was both Dylan and Ty Jackson on the assists to McDonough, who earned his second goal of the night and gave his team its first lead of the game.
The Eagles came back with many chances in the second period, but they could not convert on their shots. But a Husky penalty with two minutes left in the second frame gave the Eagles just enough time to make a run.
In a set play starting from the Eagles’ blue line, BC stampeded toward the Northeastern goal in full force. Jack McBain sent a quick pass to McLaughlin in front of the net, who maneuvered past his defender. McLaughlin slotted the puck into the net to tie the game at two, earning a goal in his 100th game as an Eagle.
“During the course of the game our penalty kill was outstanding, but the big goal with McLaughlin, you know, [that was] just to get us back,” York said.
While Dop was solid all night, he really showcased his talents in the third period when Northeastern peppered him with shots. He recorded a total of 32 saves for the night in his first official game on the Heights.
“I thought [Dop] was very good,” York said. “Our 2001 championship team celebrated tonight, so we had 18 former players come back, [one of] which was Scott Clemmensen [who] was a longtime goaltender in the National Hockey League, and he said, ‘Hey that’s an outstanding goaltender you have.’”
Patrick Giles was credited for the Eagles’ fourth goal, giving them a comfortable two-goal lead in the third. With a minute to go, McLaughlin notched his second of the night with an empty-net goal, and the Huskies earned one more in garbage time.
“To have McLaughlin get two goals and Giles gets a goal, our senior leaders are really stepping up here,” said York. “[I] felt good about the game [and] Northeastern is an outstanding team.”
Featured Image by Steve Mooney / For The Heights