The chemistry between forwards Brandon Kruse and Jack McBain has been evident all season for Boston College men’s hockey, and their connection was front and center Thursday night. Late in the second period, Kruse fired a quick pass to McBain in front of the net, who slotted it in for his third of the night. All three goals came on an assist from Kruse.
“Obviously, Jack McBain is at the top of his game, a lot of points during the course of the season, scoring goals tonight was, you know, an outstanding performance by him,” BC head coach Jerry York said in his postgame press conference. “And his linemate Brandon Kruse, he’s kind of really starting to blend in very well with our offense.”
The No. 19 Eagles (7–5–1, 5–3–0 Hockey East) faced off against Maine (1–9–1, 1–6–0) on Thursday night, the first of a two-game series in Conte Forum. The Eagles were coming off a devastating loss to UMass Lowell last weekend, but Thursday night was different, as they held a comfortable three-goal lead entering the third period and cruised to a 6–2 win.
“It’s just a good win for us,” York said. “Coming off a split weekend last weekend with Connecticut and Lowell, and, you know, looking at Maine, their record would not indicate how good a club they are. I watched them on tape, and they have been in so many one-goal games.”
The Eagles came out firing on Thursday. Early in the first period, Colby Ambrosio flew down the ice, stampeding toward Thiessen. Ambrosio sent a quick handoff to teammate Mike Posma, who flung a cross-net pass to Casey Carreau. The trio was all too quick for Thiessen, as Carreau slotted the puck into the net and the rink erupted in cheers celebrating his first goal of the season.
Less than a minute later, they kept the momentum rolling. Kruse sent a quick pass to Jack McBain, who fired the puck toward the Maine net and earned the Eagles a two-goal lead in less than three minutes.
“Our initial start really kind of influenced the whole outcome of the game, you know three-nothing, and the goals were tic-tac-toe type of plays,” York said.
Minutes later, the Kruse-McBain duo struck again. Kruse sent a backhanded pass from behind the net to McBain, who sent a one-timer past Thiessen, bringing the score to 3–0 in BC’s favor.
Toward the end of the first period, the Black Bears finally had a response to the Eagles’ goals. Maine’s Grant Hebert maneuvered past the BC defense toward Eagle goalie Eric Dop and sent a wrist shot that snuck inside the right post, putting Maine on the board.
After a penalty call on the Black Bears, the Eagles took advantage of their one-man advantage, and captain Marc McLaughlin found the back of the net. McLaughlin netted his ninth of the season, a team-high and tied for the third-most goals in all of college hockey. He also leads the nation in shorthanded goals with five.
With three minutes remaining in the second period, Maine’s Donavan Villeneuve-Houle snuck a shot past Dop, cutting BC’s lead to 4–2.
The Eagles’ defense remained strong through the third period, with Eamon Powell and Drew Helleson intercepting weak Maine passes and preventing any odd-man rushes. Dop recorded 23 saves, with two goals allowed and a save percentage of .920 for the night.
With just over seven minutes remaining in the game, Ambrosio went rushing down the left side of the ice on a breakaway. Although Thiessen batted away his initial shot, Posma followed up on his rebound and forced it into the net, earning his second goal of the season.
“[Posma] did some really really solid plays on both ends,” York said. “Defensively, he had a big blocked shot. I thought he had some excellent offensive chances. The goal he scored early was a terrific goal. But he’s coming on his own. He’s getting better and better.
Featured Image by Aditya Rao / Heights Staff