Three power play goals is usually more than enough to win any given hockey game, especially when a team has found success in recent games. But to Boston College men’s hockey’s misfortune, it was not enough to beat Maine on Friday night, as BC goaltender Mitch Benson let in five goals while facing just 23 shots.
The Black Bears (14–13–5, 8–9–4 Hockey East) defeated BC (12–13–6, 7–9–5) 6–3 despite the Eagles’ dangerous power play unit—which ranks 10th in the nation—finding the net three times and boasting their offensive firepower.
“We got good looks but not as good as I had hoped,” BC head coach Greg Brown said.
Maine dominated all three zones in the first frame.
In their own end, the Black Bears shut down BC offensively, as only 10 Eagles’ shots managed to find the net. Maine’s skaters put their bodies on the line and blocked seven shots in the period.
Maine scored two highlight-reel goals in the first frame as well.
Aidan Carney punched home a wraparound pass from Reid Pabich 5:15 into the game to set the tone and put Maine on top 1–0, and then Lynden Breen delivered a pinpoint breakout pass to Donavan Houlle, who finished the job, firing the puck past Benson with 1:38 left in the period.
BC tallied the only power play of the period, and the first unit peppered Maine goaltender Victor Ostman with shots, but couldn’t get any past him. Cutter Gauthier rang the pipe and Andre Gasseau missed a mostly open net.
The second unit’s momentum died down after Oskar Jellvik turned the puck over and handed Maine a shorthanded chance on the other end. Jellvik redeemed himself by making a goal-saving defensive play, but still destroyed any chance the Eagles had with the man advantage.
Both squads notched two power play goals in the second period.
First, Maine’s Luke Antonacci fired in a shot from the point 7:52 into the frame on a power play stemming from a Lukas Gustafsson high stick.
Then, Gasseau pounded the puck through Ostman on an assist from Gauthier two minutes later to put the Eagles on the board after Didrick Henbrant registered a hooking penalty.
Henbrant went back to the box just under three minutes later for running over Mitch Benson, and BC’s top power play unit made him pay again with Gauthier cutting the lead to one at 3–2.
“We had a lot of momentum at that point,” Brown said of his team after Gauthier’s goal. “We scored a couple and felt good. We spent a lot of time in the offensive zone, but that one was a momentum swing.”
But Gauthier put Maine on a power play of its own with just over two minutes left in the period after he fell into a scrum with Maine defenseman Lynden Breen, and Nolan Renwich put the Black Bears back up at 4–2.
The Eagles netted their third power play goal in the third period when a Nikita Nesterenko one-timer beat a sprawling Ostman, making it a two-goal game again and sending a response to a Felix Trudeau goal scored earlier in the period.
With four minutes left in the game, BC gave everything it had on another man advantage, but Breen found the empty net off the boards on a clearing attempt to crush the Eagles’ hopes.
After the loss, Maine jumped the Eagles in the Hockey East standings, putting BC in eighth place—the lowest seed that gets to host a game in the Hockey East postseason tournament.
“We gotta be a little sharper,” Brown said. “They’re a heavy team, a hard team to play against. We gotta grind it out a little better.”