Sports, Hockey, Men's Hockey

BC Can’t Capitalize on Power Plays in Loss to Northeastern

Coming off its first win in its last 13 games, a victory in the opening game of a home-and-home series against No. 13 Northeastern, Boston College men’s hockey had momentum for the first time in months. 

But led by their defense and special teams units, the Huskies (20–10–1, 11–7–1 Hockey East) turned the tables Saturday, walking away from Conte Forum with a 4–1 victory over BC (11–16–5, 6–11–3). The Eagles played with intensity but failed to capitalize on any of their seven power plays.

“[It was] a disappointing game for us tonight,” BC head coach Jerry York said in his postgame press conference. “You know, coming off an emotional, well-played game at Matthews Arena, we’re back home, and we just didn’t have an A-level game.”

On Friday, BC’s Colby Ambrosio scored within the first 16 seconds of the game, but the second time around, it was Northeastern forward Aidan McDonough who scored off the opening faceoff. McDonough netted a shot under the crossbar to put the Huskies up 1–0 in Saturday’s opening 23 seconds. 

Both teams were evenly matched throughout the first frame, and they both failed to capitalize on power-play chances. The Huskies maintained a 10–7 advantage in shots on goal and won 14 out of the period’s 19 faceoffs. 

With five minutes passed in the second period, the Eagles failed to clear the puck out of their defensive zone, and Northeastern’s Riley Hughes found Matt DeMelis stationed in the crease. DeMelis poked the puck past Eric Dop for his fourth goal of the season to give the Huskies a two-goal advantage. 

An elbowing call sent BC on the power play one minute later, but Northeastern’s penalty-kill unit showcased its defensive strength, and the Eagles went without a single shot on goal. 

In the 10th minute of the frame, BC went on its third power play. 

Ambrosio fired a bullet that screamed off the post, and Marshall Warren went to bury the rebound, but Northeastern’s Tyler Spott blocked the shot. The Eagles went without a shot on goal for the second straight power play.

BC’s sole goal of the night came at even strength late in the middle frame. Patrick Giles weaved through the slot, splitting the defensive pair, and elevated a backhand shot to beat Northeastern goaltender T.J. Semptimphelter and bring the Eagles within one goal.

Fifteen seconds after Giles’ goal, BC went on the power play again, but Semptimphelter made three saves to keep the Eagles trailing. 

A slashing call sent Northeastern on its second power play. Thirty seconds into the penalty, Jakov Novak lifted the puck past Dop to reestablish the Huskies’ two-goal lead. Under two minutes later, Sam Colangelo sealed the 4–1 victory on a shot that rang both posts before finding the back of the net. 

Midway in the third period, Marc McLaughlin fired a shot from the low circle, partially diving into Semptimphelter, and the puck dribbled into the net. It was first called as a goal but was later overturned after review. 

The Huskies committed three minor penalties in the final frame, but BC recorded five combined shots on those opportunities and struggled to maintain consistent zone pressure. On BC’s final power play, York opted to pull Dop for a 6-on-4 opportunity, but BC still failed to score. 

Northeastern’s penalty-kill unit leads Hockey East and ranks third in the nation with a 90.8 kill percentage. The Huskies blocked 13 of BC’s 51 shots and jammed the passing lanes, forcing the Eagles to reset. Semptimphelter stopped 23 of 24 shots faced, posting a .958 save percentage. 

“Our execution was not good enough,” York said. “We’ll have to get better—better at killing penalties, power-play situations, and overall, playing better defense.”

Featured Image by Ben Schultz / Heights Staff

February 20, 2022

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