Men's Hockey, Hockey, Sports

Notebook: Lack of Experience, Penalties Hand BC Beanpot Loss

BOSTON, Mass. — Boston College men’s hockey entered the semifinal of the 69th Beanpot on a nine-game winless streak. Down two goals, Patrick Giles scored for the Eagles in the third period, but the momentum wasn’t enough. BC (10–14–4, 5–9–3 Hockey East) fell 3–1 to No. 15 Northeastern (18–8–1, 9–6–1). The Eagles will play Harvard in the Beanpot consolation game on Monday, Feb. 14. 

Persistence Pays Off—Almost 

Freshman goaltender T.J. Semptimphelter appeared in just his fourth game of the season on Monday, but he put the Eagles through the ringer before they scored their sole goal of the game. BC peppered him with shots all night, starting with a power play with 2:26 to go in the first period. Four of BC’s 13 first-period shots on goal—and two blocked shots—came in the final two minutes of the frame. After 11 shots on goal in the second period and another 18 in the third, Semptimphelter conceded a goal to Giles, but not before denying the Eagles on rebound after rebound and close chance after close chance. BC made a final push to even the score, pulling goaltender Eric Dop with just under two minutes to play, but Semptimfelter proved that persistence doesn’t always pay dividends. 

BC’s Special Teams

BC entered the night at No. 49 in the country in penalty-kill percentage at 75.9 percent and No. 22 in power-play percentage at 20 percent. The same patterns held true for the Eagles against Northeastern, as BC struggled on special teams. On its lone first-period power play—which came with just over two minutes left in the first—BC spent significant time in its defensive zone as Northeastern protected the perimeter. It wasn’t until the waning seconds of the power play that BC began to generate momentum on offense, but Semptimfelter held BC scoreless. BC also went without a goal in its second power play of the night late in the third period.

BC’s penalty-kill unit fared only slightly better, as 43 seconds into Northeastern’s first power play of the night, Aidan McDonough found Sam Colangelo on the doorstep for a one-time score to put Northeastern up 2–0. BC’s special team struggles have been persistent this season. The Huskies also converted a power-play goal with 14.6 seconds left in the game. 

But BC killed off its second penalty of the night—hooking against Giles with around 11 minutes to go in the third period. BC benefitted from momentum on its side following Giles’ goal just over three minutes earlier, as the re-energized BC crowd returned to its feet—and to its disruptive cheers. 

Vacant Veteran Roles

With Jack McBain, Marc McLaughlin, and Drew Helleson competing at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, BC was without much of its veteran core, and the Eagles looked hapless at times. Just four players on BC’s available roster have competed in a Beanpot game before, partly as a result of the tournament’s cancellation in 2021. Northeastern, on the other hand, had nine available players with Beanpot experience, including five of its six available defenders. 

Without many veteran figures, the Eagles struggled to control the puck all night, as it repeatedly bounced off their sticks in the neutral zone and in Northeastern’s crease, thwarting opportunities in transition and off rebounds. 

Opposite Ends of the Earth

Neither Dop, a graduate transfer from Bowling Green, nor Semptimphelter, a freshman, had played in a Beanpot before Monday night. But the two goaltenders’ performances could not have looked more different. Dop, who entered the night with a .888 season save percentage, saved 26 of the 29 shots he faced for 89.7 percent on the night. Semptimphelter, on the other hand, who had appeared in three prior games this season, finished with a .976 save percentage. Many of his saves came on acrobatic attempts, including a quick-hitting series during BC’s first-period power play and a post-to-post effort with 7:03 left in the second period.

Featured Image by Aditya Rao / Heights Staff

February 9, 2022