Sports, Winter, Hockey, Men's Hockey

No. 1 Eagles Can’t Complete the Comeback, Fall to Northeastern 5–3

After coming all the way back from a three-goal deficit in the second period, No. 1 ranked Boston College men’s hockey came out of the locker room with newfound energy in the third. With the sellout crowd’s energy revitalized, everything looked to be falling into place for the Eagles to complete a comeback.

But the Huskies stunned the crowd when Jack Williams found Cam Lund on a 2-on-1 to put Northeastern back on top just over six minutes into the third period. It seemed like no one expected the goal, but then again, it also seemed like no one expected Northeastern, who came into Conte Forum without a win in Hockey East this season, to beat the top-ranked team in the country. 

Both Lund and the Huskies defied expectations, though, and snapped BC’s four-game win streak. Northeastern (4–7–1, 1–7 Hockey East) staved off the Eagles’ (11–3–1, 4–2–1) comeback thanks to a hat trick from Lund and 24 saves from their netminder Cameron Whitehead. 

“We dug ourselves a deep hole after one,” BC head coach Greg Brown said. “We did a much better job in the second trying to climb out of it, but it took a lot of energy, and then in the third period we had some good chances in that first half of the third didn’t go in, and then we gave up an unfortunate 2-on-1 there pretty late. We can’t make those mistakes in a tie game late in the game. It was unfortunate. We know we have to really be ready to go at the beginning of the game.”

Braden Doyle tallied the Huskies’ first goal of the night as he fired the puck past BC goaltender Jacob Fowler from the point 9:22 into the first period, handing the Huskies a 1–0 lead.

Just over two minutes later, Lund doubled the lead on a wraparound chance that beat Fowler’s outstretched stick. The chance resulted from a failed clear in front of the net by Gabe Perreault.

Matthew Staudacher made the lead three with 3:44 left in the frame. He found a clean look at Fowler’s net, as BC blew its coverage and gave Staudacher nearly half the offensive zone to himself.

The Eagles could not get their offense going either in the first frame. BC failed to capitalize on its two power plays, and allowed the Huskies to outshoot them 16–7. 

“Not at all sound in the first period,” Brown said. “We turned over a ton of pucks at the blue line and that was unfortunate because we had been managing it better, but we tried to force some plays that were really tight at their blue line, they were able to counter attack and kind of keep the pressure going. It was like a three quarter ice game from their blue line to our end, and that’s not a good way to play.”

The Eagles responded with a three-goal period of their own to tie the game up. 

It appeared as though BC would continue its habits from the first period, but everything changed when referees sent Ryan Leonard to the box for boarding with just under 10 minutes remaining in the period.

BC appeared to be energized on the penalty kill, and it culminated in its first goal of the game with 8:32 left in the second period. Aidan Hreschuk cleared the puck, and it reached Husky defenseman Pito Walton just outside his own zone. The puck went off Walton’s hand and right to Andre Gasseau, who drove to the net only to be denied by Whitehead. Gasseau wrapped around the goal and found Mike Posma, who slammed the puck into a wide-open net, as Gasseau’s previous try had pulled Whitehead away from the crease. 

“The short handed goal was a big momentum shift for us,” Brown said. “That kind of got us going.”

BC’s second goal came just under four minutes later when Eamon Powell sent the puck into a cluster of players in front of the net on the power play. Leonard went digging for the puck and found it, beating Whitehead and cutting the Huskies’ lead to one.

Powell got a goal of his own on the power play with 41.8 seconds left in the frame when he found the top of the net to tie the game at three goals apiece.

“I think it was the way the game started too,” Brown said. “I don’t think we were really 100% ready to play. It showed on the power play as much as it did five on five, so we tweaked the groups a little bit trying to get something going, a little spark, and they did a good job in the second period, helping us get back into the game. “

Nevertheless, the Huskies took the lead on Lund’s goal with just over six minutes left in the third period, and BC could not recover.

Lund found an empty net with 1:16 left to complete his hat trick and seal the 5–3 win for the Huskies.

December 2, 2023