Just a day after scoring five goals in a win over Arizona State, Boston College men’s hockey failed to find the net more than once against the Sun Devils in Saturday’s New Year’s Eve game.
“I thought we did so many things right,” BC head coach Greg Brown said. “Except score.”
Behind 42 saves from netminder TJ Semptimphelter and a perfect night on the penalty kill, the Sun Devils (10–11) overpowered BC, handing the Eagles (7–6–4, 5–3–3 Hockey East) a 2–1 loss in their final series of 2022.
“We knew they were going to have a lot of energy after coming back and losing that first game,” Brown said. “Both teams were much sharper and more intense. We created some good chances and were unable to convert.”
The first period was quiet, with no goals scored, but BC outshot the Sun Devils 11–8. The Eagles had a chance to strike first after Arizona State’s Demetrios Koumontzis committed a facemask penalty, setting up BC for a power play, but BC failed to capitalize.
Arizona State then took advantage of a power-play opportunity of its own. With 11:05 to play in the second period, Arizona State captain Josh Doan executed a quick wrist shot that got through traffic and past BC goaltender Mitch Benson, giving the Sun Devils the 1–0 edge.
Doan’s goal marked the Sun Devils’ second power-play goal of the weekend against BC.
An Arizona State delay of game penalty awarded the Eagles another power play, but BC failed to convert yet again, as Semptimphelter stood tall, making several point-blank saves.
BC finally found the net with 2:39 left in the second period when Nikita Nesterenko threaded a pass through two Sun Devil defenders to Colby Ambrosio, who found himself all alone with Semptimphelter. His snapshot beat the goaltender’s glove side to level the score at one apiece.
Ambrosio’s goal gave the Eagles’ third line of Ambrosio, Nesterenko, and Matt Argentina three goals in BC’s series against the Sun Devils.
“They read each other very well,” Brown said. “They complement each other well. They have enough in every department to be a real dangerous line.”
The Sun Devils, however, took the lead once again with 14 minutes remaining in the game. Ethan Szmagaj’s shot from the point slipped through net-front traffic and past Benson, whose vision was screened on the play.
The Eagles challenged the play for goaltender interference, but after the referee review, the goal stood, and Szmagaj’s first goal of the season proved to be a crucial one for the Sun Devils.
The Eagles received three more chances on the power play in the third period but failed to get anything going, falling to 0-of-5 on power-play opportunities in the game. Brown, however, was not overly disappointed with his team’s performance on the man advantage.
“Overall, our pace was good,” Brown said. “We did pass up on a few chances to get pucks to the net when we made successful passes and moved the penalty kill around. Other than that, they did a lot of things right, but you do have to get it in the back of the net. We’ve looked not nearly this good and scored.”
The Eagles pulled Benson for an extra attacker with 1:35 remaining in the game, but the Sun Devils fended off BC’s offense to secure the series split.