Boston College men’s hockey took 32 shots on goal in the finale of BC’s season series against Maine on Saturday night, but Maine’s Mike Richter Award semi-finalist goaltender Victor Ostman played like a brick wall, stopping all but one of them.
BC (12–14–6, 7–10–5 Hockey East) battled hard against the Black Bears (15–13–5, 9–9–4) in a game with eight total penalties and plenty of missed opportunities at a packed Alfond Arena. Despite a late surge in the third frame, the Eagles failed to filter the puck into the net and fell 2–1. With the loss, BC has now lost its last five games played in Orono, Maine.
Before Saturday, the Eagles recorded a 6–3 loss to Maine on Friday, and Maine previously defeated BC 3–1 on Feb. 10.
“The effort was there,” BC head coach Greg Brown said. “We did a lot but we just gotta find some way to get the pucks in the net.”
The first period alone included four BC penalties—the same amount of total penalties the Eagles recorded on Friday night. But BC killed those penalties with precision, so much so that Maine only capitalized on the last penalty of the period—a faceoff violation on Trevor Kuntar.
Between the 11:48 mark and the 15:50 mark of the first frame, Maine outshot BC 11–1 before Nolan Renwick scored the Black Bears’ first goal on the man advantage.
Although BC went down a goal, Renwick’s tally happened to be Maine’s only power-play goal of the night, as it went one of five on power-play opportunities. The Black Bears’ 20 percent conversion rate on Saturday night was in stark contrast to their 66 percent conversion rate the night before.
The Eagles’ only shot in that time span was a Lukas Gustafsson breakaway shot 14:38 into the first period, but Ostman stopped it, adding to his save total.
The Eagles jumped onto the ice with more momentum and coordination in the second period, but it didn’t reflect on the scoreboard until over 13 minutes into the frame.
BC failed to convert on a power play 5:37 into the period, and at the 11:40 mark, Maine notched another goal—with Grayson Arnott redirecting Lynden Breen’s shot on BC goaltender Mitch Benson. But the Eagles’ surge finally paid off just over two minutes later.
At the 13:38 mark, Cutter Gauthier entered Maine’s zone and fired a shot through Ostman’s five-hole—the only shot the netminder let hit the back of the net all night. BC kept its deficit at one goal through the end of the second frame.
The Eagles outshot Maine on goal 20–5 in the second period, displaying a sharp reversal from the first.
BC played even harder in the third, by getting gritty and filtering pucks out of corners. But Ostman’s goaltending shone through.
Gauthier missed a wide-open one-timer 3:11 into the third frame, and just over two minutes later, Mike Posma rang a shot off the pipe. Once again, Ostman saved a Marshall Warren slapshot at the end of another BC power-play opportunity.
“We’re battling, we’re just not scoring very easy right now,” Brown said. “Just hard to rely only on the powerplay but doing a lot of things right.”
The Eagles pulled Benson out of the goal with 2:17 remaining in the game, but Ostman unwaveringly defended his crease. BC took shot after shot but missed each opportunity.
“Until the 6–5, they weren’t point-blank chances,” Brown said. “In the 6–5, we had two really good looks there.”
Even though Benson isn’t a Richter semifinalist—an award handed to the best college goaltender—he saved 25 of 27 shots on goal.
Nonetheless, the Black Bears overtook BC by five points in Hockey East standings.
“Their goalie played really well so, we can take some positives from it for sure, but with two games left and a playoff game looming, we’ve got to find a way,” Brown said. “Like I said, there’s no ‘nice try.’ You either find a way to win or you don’t.”