In the first period of its Friday night matchup against UConn, No. 4 Boston College men’s hockey lived up to its top-five ranking and established a dominant 3–1 lead over the unranked Huskies.
But UConn jumped onto the ice in the second period and quickly overwhelmed the Eagles in the opening minutes of the frame. The Huskies racked up three unanswered goals and took their first lead of the game, making BC fans inside Conte Forum silent.
“Not a lot of the words,” BC head coach Greg Brown said when asked if he could repeat his message to the team between the second and third periods. “We knew we definitely slowed down. I think our pace slowed down and our desperation slowed down, and we got very light in the defensive zone, and you can’t do that in Hockey East.”
It took a last second power-play goal and an overtime score with 31 seconds left, both from Cutter Gauthier, for the Eagles (8–2–1, 3–1–1 Hockey East) to make up for their disastrous second period and defeat UConn (5–7–1, 3–4–0) 5–4 in overtime to pick up two Hockey East points.
“Felt like it was three different games,” Brown said. “Obviously, we liked the way we started. I thought we were really moving our legs and moving the puck well early on. Created some chances which was exciting, but we were not able to sustain it.”
The first five and a half minutes of the affair could be characterized simply as an exchange of the puck between the squads, with little offensive action. Sticks could not hang on to the puck, and just six total shots were taken through those opening minutes.
This trend was interrupted when the referees tacked Joey Muldowney with a roughing penalty, and the Eagles went on their first power play of the night. After two BC shots missed, the third time was the charm. With a seemingly simple flick of the wrist, Ryan Leonard’s shot made its way from the right circle, through traffic, and Andre Gasseau deflected it past UConn goaltender Ethan Haider to put BC ahead 1–0 at the 12:35 mark.
The assists extended Leonard’s point streak to five games.
The Eagles wasted little time beefing up their lead. With the game back to even-strength, Drew Fortescue unleashed a missile from almost the exact same spot as Leonard, which gave the Eagles a 2–0 lead with over half of the period still to play.
UConn ended the shutout with 2:55 to go on a Tristan Fraser goal. Gasseau, however, struck again less than 90 seconds later. Gauthier fed Gasseau the puck, and without skipping a beat, Gasseau redirected it into the bottom of the goal to put BC up 3–1 with under two minutes left in the frame.
Fortescue and Gasseau’s prior most recent goals occurred over a month ago in the Eagles’ win over Long Island.
But just over two minutes into the second period, UConn started to flip the script. Chase Bradley found a hole to make it 3–2, and less than three minutes later, he potted another goal after the Huskies intercepted a weak BC pass to knot it at three apiece.
And with 4:55 remaining in the period, Jake Flynn snapped the short-lived tie with a screamer over goaltender’s Jacob Fowler’s mitt to give the Huskies their first lead of the game.
“They really tilted the ice on us in the second period,” Brown said. “We weren’t nearly tight enough in our own zone, around our net. Didn’t get under sticks and didn’t box bodies out. So it was a quick turnaround for them.”
In the third period, the referees credited UConn with a tripping penalty to give BC a power play chance at the 15:43 mark. With just one second left in the power play, Gauthier sent a ricocheting puck towards the net, and it found its way past the red line to tie it the game 4–4.
Neither squad could break the tie in regulation, sending the game to overtime.
With 31 seconds remaining in the 3-on-3 extra period, none other than Bradley, who potted two goals for UConn, lazily flipped the puck in front of the net, where Gauthier scored from point-blank range to hand BC the 5–4 overtime win.
“Kind of a crazy goal,” Brown said of the final score from Gauthier. “Funny bounce from behind the net with their guy, Cutter was in the right spot.”