Sports, Winter, Hockey, Men's Hockey

Gauthier Scores Twice as Eagles Annihilate RPI at Home 

As fans in Conte Forum started a “Let’s Go, Eagles!” chant to begin Boston College men’s hockey’s game against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Friday, Cutter Gauthier stepped up to the faceoff dot. Gauthier won the faceoff, and the Eagles took the puck into the offensive zone with ease. 

From there, BC cycled the puck, never letting RPI get it back. Before the Engineers knew it, Gauthier fired a shot into the top corner past netminder Jack Watson just 28 seconds into the game, setting the tone for the Eagles.

From there, the Eagles never took their foot off of the gas.

“I thought it was probably our best start,” BC head coach Greg Brown said. “It was great to get out, get a couple goals early. I think that set a good tone.”

No. 3 BC (3–0–0) dominated RPI (0–0–3) to the tune of a 6–1 beatdown. Gauthier scored two goals in the first period, and freshman linemates Gabe Perreault and Will Smith each scored their first goals of their BC career.

Just six minutes after Gauthier’s goal, BC would have another similar opportunity. The Eagles were already on a power play due to a penalty on Max Smolinski, but when Lucas Matta was given two minutes for boarding, the Eagles still had the puck, resulting in a delayed penalty.

BC emptied its net and sent on the extra attacker. And as it cycled the puck, in came Gauthier, blasting it past Watson to double the Eagles’ lead and notch his second goal of the night at the 7:21 mark.

The game’s intensity was high at some times, with tempers flaring particularly wildly in the first frame. BC goaltender Jacob Fowler was hit while trying to play the puck, and while no penalty was called, the Eagles retaliated.

Drew Fortescue pushed his way into a scrum right after the incident, and play remained extra physical throughout the rest of the first period. Throughout the period, Charlie Leddy, Jack Malone, and Ryan Leonard all threw massive hits.

“Yeah, definitely, they’re a heavy team,” Brown said of the physicality. “They played very physical, heavy sticks, too.” 

Fowler recorded 21 saves in the win.

Sutter Muzzatti, RPI’s lone draft pick—a Predators fifth rounder—cut BC’s lead in half 4:40 into the second period after the puck was deflected and landed in front of Muzzatti, who took a slap shot in front of the goal. The goal happened after three prior RPI misfires in the period.

“Really, our only down section of the game was the first 10 minutes of the second period,” Brown said. “I don’t know if it was because we were ahead or just didn’t come out of the locker room with the right intentions and definitely let the momentum swing to RPI.”

BC, however, would swiftly respond with two goals in quick succession later in the period. 

First, Perreault recorded his first collegiate goal when he took the puck away at the blue line and used his first-round speed to skate down the ice and finish a breakaway to put BC up 3–1 at the 11:20 mark. 

And just 31 seconds later, Colby Ambrosio executed a slick play, making a centering pass to Oskar Jellvik with his backhand. Jellvik finished the play to give BC a commanding 4–1 lead.

Connor Joyce finished up Gentry Shamburger’s rebound to add to BC’s lead, putting the Eagles ahead 5–1 at the 6:54 mark in the third period.

BC’s sixth and final goal of the game came on a Smith sequence. The 2023 No. 4 overall pick got open in front of the net and his longtime teammate Perreault managed to pick him out. When Smith got the puck, he shot it quickly, hitting the top bar and bouncing back off Watson and back into the net.

“Yeah, [Smith and Perreault] created offensive chances all three games,” Brown said. “It was great to see him rewarded for that. That line, they have some familiarity with each other, and they’ve been able to generate chances each night, so you want to see some of those go in so they feel good about it. But we’ve been happy with their play in all three games, so hopefully they continue.”

The Eagles tallied 32 total shots and finished a perfect 3 for 3 on the penalty kill.

“The goals were great, but I think just overall play, it was much better the second half of the second period, and then the third was solid too,” Brown said. “So it was good, overall, it was a good night for us. … So hopefully we continue with that.”

October 21, 2023