Much of Boston College men’s hockey’s offseason was a rebuilding period. Jerry York retired in April after 28 years, and the Eagles were faced with adjusting to new head coach Greg Brown. BC also lost three of its top contributors on the stat sheet, as Marc McLaughlin, Drew Helleson, and Jack McBain all signed professional contracts.
But in an offseason otherwise filled with uncertainty, the impending arrival of Cutter Gauthier—the No. 5 overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft—was a bright spot. Against Northeastern on Tuesday night, Gauthier made his BC debut.
Gauthier turned heads in BC’s matchup against the Huskies (3–1–1, 2–1–0 Hockey East), scoring his first collegiate goal in the eighth minute of the third period. Although Gauthier’s goal gave BC (1–1–1, 1–0–0) a 3–2 lead, Northeastern responded just under two minutes later to even the score. The 3–3 tie maintained throughout overtime, and Northeastern won out in a shootout.
Although both Northeastern and BC compete in Hockey East, the game didn’t count toward either team’s conference record. It was an extra matchup in addition to the teams’ regularly scheduled conference matchups later in the season.
Northeastern outshot BC 2–1 in the shootout, but the game officially goes down as a 3–3 tie.
Special teams were the theme of the first period at Matthews Arena, as referees handed out three penalties, two against BC and one on the Huskies. BC failed to convert on its lone man advantage.
Northeastern converted on the second of its two power plays off a one-time shot by Aidan McDonough. McDonough’s shot caught BC goaltender Mitch Benson off guard after he shut the door on several Husky rebound chances earlier in the power play.
Despite maintaining even possession with the Huskies, BC entered intermission down a goal, having recorded limited scoring chances in the first frame.
“We weren’t moving our feet enough in the first period,” Brown said. “That was our biggest change. We can create chances with energy and speed.”
And that’s what BC did in the second period.
Performance on the power play continued to drive the game for both teams. With the Eagles up a man, Trevor Kuntar cut into open space and flung the puck past Northeastern netminder Devon Levi to level the score at one apiece.
“[Kuntar] has been a really great leader playing on a line with two freshmen,” Brown said. “And it was a great goal he scored on the power play. It’s hard to beat [Levi] on a shot with no screen.”
The Huskies struggled to silence Colby Ambrosio. In the seventh minute of the second frame, Ambrosio received a long pass from Marshall Warren just past the blue line and used precise stick work to spin around Hunter McDonald and slide the puck past Levi, handing BC its first lead of the game.
After Northeastern leveled the score later in the second period, Gauthier scored his first goal in a BC uniform. On the rush, Nikita Nesterenko flanked down the wing, but Gauthier called his own number and put it past Levi.
“It was a nice goal,” Brown said. “We know what Cutter can do,”
Northeastern tied it off a top-shelf goal from Jack Hughes in the 10th minute of the third frame to send the game to overtime. Neither team broke the tie in extra time.
In the three-on-three period, both teams recorded some chances, but neither Benson nor Levi needed a heroic effort to keep the game knotted at three for another five minutes. Northeastern beat out BC in the ensuing shootout 2–1.
“It was a hard-fought game, just like I remembered from when these teams got together,” Brown said.