Sacred Heart hockey fans have waited since March 15, 2021 for their new hockey arena to be built, and the inaugural game at the brand-new Martire Family Arena was an instant classic.
At the end of regulation, No. 19 Boston College men’s hockey and the Pioneers were tied 2–2, and the contest would have to be decided in a 3-on-3 overtime. Fans were on their feet from the very start of the extra period. In high-pressure situations like this one—with the whole arena watching—veteran leaders tend to show up, and that is exactly what happened Saturday night. But not for the home team.
One minute into overtime, BC Captain Marshall Warren received a pass at the left faceoff circle and wristed a hard shot past the Pioneers’ goaltender Luke Lush.
Even though it was just his second goal of the season, Warren clutched a high-stakes win for BC, which just became nationally ranked a game prior. The newly-ranked Eagles (9–6–4, 5–3–2 Hockey East) topped Sacred Heart (11–9–1, 10–4–1 Atlantic Hockey) by a final score of 3–2, spoiling the night for the sold-out crowd.
Even though no goals were scored and no penalties were committed, the first period at the new barn was an entertaining one. Both teams played fast-paced hockey and generated scoring chances, but the goaltenders were quick to deny them.
The biggest save of the frame came when Mitch Benson made a net-front stop on Sacred Heart’s Todd Gohering, who swiftly evaded the Eagles’ defense to create the high-grade chance. The Pioneers outshot BC 10–7 in the first twenty minutes of play.
Only 16 seconds into the second frame, Andre Gasseau took a slashing penalty in the offensive zone, and the Pioneers went on their first power play. With the man advantage, Sacred Heart cashed in, scoring the first goal of the game. Conner Hutchison’s point shot deflected off the body of Warren and through Benson to put the Pioneers up 1–0.
BC head coach Greg Brown asked officials to review the goal, but the video replay was improperly functioning, forcing the goal to stand. Coupled with two horn malfunctions in the first period, there were definitely some kinks that needed to be worked out in the shiny new arena.
The Eagles were aggressive following the goal, but with 6:02 left in the second period, BC found itself back on the penalty kill after taking a bench minor penalty for having too many men on the ice.
However, this Pioneers’ power play went very differently. Around center ice, Gasseau stole the puck from a Sacred Heart defender and found himself all alone on a breakaway. Gasseau majestically lifted the puck over the glove of Lush to level the score while still being short handed.
Sacred Heart rang a shot off the pipe with 1:20 to go in the period, but the score remained tied after forty minutes.
The Eagles came out buzzing at the start of the third frame and took the lead just 32 seconds into the period. After a Pioneers’ turnover, Trevor Kuntar finished off a gorgeous passing play to put the Eagles up 2–1 for their first lead of the night.
Following the goal, the Eagles got sloppy in their own end, committing several turnovers. Benson continued to bail out BC’s defense until the Pioneers finally got a second shot past him 7:27 into the final period.
Kevin Lombardi deflected a shot from the point through several bodies and past a screened Benson to tie up the score once again and energize the home crowd.
After a stalemate for the rest of the frame, the contest was destined for overtime. Warren’s heroics were just about to silence the home crowd.