Forecheck, backcheck, paycheck.
As the saying goes, pressure and physicality pay dividends, and in Boston College men’s hockey’s matchup with Maine Friday night, that was certainly the case.
Despite entering the game as the underdog, Maine (4–14–4, 2–10–2 Hockey East) played a more physical game to defeat BC (10–11–4, 5–8–3) by a final score of 4–1. BC’s loss extended its win drought to seven games—the Eagles haven’t won since their victory over Dartmouth on Dec. 31.
Maine’s first goal exemplified its grit and hustle. Jakub Sirota bombed a slap shot at BC goaltender Eric Dop, and a cluster of Black Bears in front of the net screened Dop, handing Maine a lead that it would never relinquish.
Grit continued to be the theme for Maine the rest of the night. The Black Bears refused to give up anything easy to the Eagles and protected the blue line, as BC struggled to get clean zone entries and set up its usually fast-paced offense.
Maine paired its stingy blue-line defense with backchecking and forechecking. BC’s defenders frequently use cross-ice passes in the defensive zone to get a break down the ice. Maine’s forechecking forwards exposed BC’s tendency, however, when Adam Dawe picked Mike Posma’s pocket with a stick play as he weighed his options on the breakout. Dawe then walked in on net and gave the Black Bears their second goal.
Dawe’s tally was enough for Maine’s victory, as BC’s only goal of the night came when Marc McLaughlin tipped in a rebound in the second period. McLaughlin leads BC and Hockey East in overall goals scored this season with 18.
The Black Bears went on to score two more in the third, both by Grant Hebert to make the score 4–1. Five of the Eagles’ 11 losses this year have come by three or more goals.
The Eagles were without head coach Jerry York, who was absent due to COVID-19 protocols, on Friday. York is expected to return before BC’s matchup with Harvard on Feb. 1.
Friday night marked the last game McLaughlin and Drew Helleson will play for the Eagles before they will head to the 2022 Winter Olympics to represent the U.S. Teammate Jack McBain will represent Canada at the Olympics.
The Olympics leave the Eagles without McLaughlin, Helleson, and McBain in their next two matchups against Harvard and UMass Lowell, as well as the upcoming Beanpot.
Featured Image by Steve Mooney / Heights Editor