Well before puck drop, as maroon-clad fans filed in, an exhilarating energy had already begun to surge through Fenway Park’s cavernous concourses. With Winter Break in full swing, college hockey fans of all ages crowded Fenway’s cramped stands, drawn to the enduring allure of New England’s grandest stage. Boston College men’s hockey, sporting eye black and fresh new retro sweaters, emerged from Fenway’s visiting dugout to a scene unlike any other.
After six years, Frozen Fenway returned to “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark” on Saturday. Led by Boxborough, Mass. native Cam Burke, BC (8–6–4, 6–3–3 Hockey East) snatched a thrilling 4–2 victory over intrastate rival UMass Amherst (9–8–3, 3–7–1).
“It’s as cool as I remember from years past,” BC head coach Greg Brown said. “Unbelievable venue … and then the guys played a very solid game.”
In his return from the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship, freshman Cutter Gauthier wasted no time making his presence felt.
Just over two minutes into the start of regulation, Gauthier glided over to the right hash untouched and sent a bullet on net that pierced through the night’s wind and past UMass goaltender Luke Pavicich.
“Nice to see Cutter come back and get that right away [and] make a huge impact for us,” Brown said.
UMass controlled the ensuing minutes, however, sending a flurry of shots in BC goaltender Mitch Benson’s direction. After an Aidan Hreschuk hooking penalty put the Minutemen on the man advantage, Michael Cameron buried his fifth career goal at the 9:28 mark to even the score at one apiece.
But the Eagles quickly returned the favor on a power play of their own just over three minutes later.
Lukas Gustafsson teed up a wrister, which Cam Burke knocked past Pavicich to restore the Eagles’ one-goal lead.
The tone of the game shifted as the second period began, with defense taking the forefront. Facing choppy ice conditions, both teams struggled to generate much offensive continuity.
BC finally found some offensive success midway through the second period. Oskar Jellvik hit Burke again in front of the crease, and Burke found the back of the net for the second time in his home ballpark.
Entering the final 20 minutes up 3–1, the Eagles needed a closer to shut the door on the Minutemen.
Instead, UMass’s Ryan Ufko—Gauthier’s World Juniors teammate—breathed some life into his team, scoring his fourth goal of the season and cutting the Eagles’ lead back to one.
The Minutemen continued to threaten BC’s lead, but Benson stopped every puck sent his way.
“[UMass] definitely had a push and tilted the ice on us,” Brown said. “But Mitch doesn’t ever get rattled. He’s so composed back there, so calm—and I think that the team feeds off that.”
With under four minutes to play, however, officials sent BC’s Liam Izyk to the penalty box, setting up the game’s riveting conclusion.
Seconds raced off the clock as the UMass student section rose to their feet in anticipation of the game’s tying goal.
“To get it to 3–2 in the third period, it just felt like we were going to find a way,” UMass head coach Greg Carvel said.
But it never came.
Benson stonewalled shot after shot, and with the UMass net empty with 10 seconds left in regulation, Eamon Powell scored the game-clinching goal.
As the final horn sounded, the Eagles spilled out of their bench in celebration, their magical night complete.
“This whole experience was a gift unlike any other,” Burke said.