The opening night of the Boston College men’s hockey season is always one of Kelley Rink’s most-attended events—5,608 fans were in attendance for BC’s matchup against Quinnipiac on Friday night.
Despite an energetic home crowd, the Eagles (0–1) dropped the first game of the Greg Brown era, failing to generate offense in a 4–0 loss to the No. 6 Bobcats (1–0).
The Bobcats outshot BC 30–19 on the game.
“We passed up a few opportunities,” Brown said. “When you’re playing good goalies, you’ve got to get a little bit of volume on him. We didn’t quite get enough traffic in front. When a quality goalie can see the puck, they’re really tough to beat.”
Each Quinnipiac line dominated its opening shifts, and the Bobcats drew an early penalty that proved costly. BC’s Cade Alami went to the box around three minutes in, and just after he took his seat, the Bobcats led 1–0 off a goal from Zach Metsa.
After Alami went to the box, Quinnipiac won the ensuing faceoff, and the puck fell right to Metsa. He fired a one-timer past BC goaltender Mitch Benson to put the Bobcats ahead just over three minutes into Brown’s debut as head coach.
The Bobcats kept up their pressure following the goal, and Quinnipiac’s Collin Graf took a dangerous shot just over a minute after Metsa’s goal, but the right post bailed out the Eagles to keep it a one-goal game.
The Eagles found themselves shorthanded yet again with 7:20 remaining in the opening frame, but a Quinnipiac penalty on the man-advantage quickly erased the Bobcats’ power play. The following four-on-four play seemed to wake the Eagles up.
Lukas Gustafsson and Notre Dame graduate transfer Cam Burke both took point-blank shots on breakaways, but Quinnipiac goaltender Yaniv Perets denied both shots.
The Eagles began to find more offensive opportunities and ended the first period outshooting Quinnipiac 8–5.
BC’s momentum from the end of the first period continued into the second period. BC missed a number of scoring chances early in the frame, and Trevor Kuntar took a shot that hit the post on the Eagles’ lone power play of the period.
With 7:12 left in the period, Quinnipiac doubled its lead. Charles-Alexis Legault took a shot in traffic that beat Benson’s high stick side.
Quinnipiac ran away with the game in the third period.
“I thought for the first two periods we did a nice job,” Brown said. “In the third period, they just wore us down.”
The Bobcats extended their lead halfway through the frame when Michael Lombardi’s wrist shot from the right faceoff circle squeaked past Benson and trickled into the net.
“When they got the third goal, we really started to try to do too much, and that just feeds into their game plan,” Brown said. “We actually spent more time in our zone after that.”
Just 61 seconds later, Quinnipiac added its fourth goal of the night. Ethan de Jong rifled a shot past Benson’s glove and into the top corner of the net.
Brown said he still believes the Eagles have made progress as a team early this season.
“We knew it would be tough, but I’m just pleased that we’ve got much better,” he said. “We made strides from early September to last week and from last week to this week. It’s been going in the right direction.”