Sports, Winter, Hockey, Men's Hockey

No. 2 BC Outlasts No. 9 Friars in Chippy 5–4 Win

As No. 9 Providence tallied its third unanswered goal just over eight minutes into the final period to grab a 3–2 lead over No. 2 Boston College men’s hockey, it seemed as though all of the momentum was in the Friars’ corner. 

But 31 seconds later, BC finally responded. Drew Fortescue corralled the puck behind BC’s net and started the push down ice. Just past the blue line, Fortescue dumped the puck to none other than BC’s leading scorer, Cutter Gauthier. 

Gauthier swung his stick back and unleashed an untouched rocket from the right side straight into the net to make it 3–3.

“I thought Cutter’s goal was a huge turn in the game,” BC head coach Greg Brown said. “I think they had all the momentum. They were skating better than we were and then we had a great rush by Fortescue, and then Cutter was able to finish that. That really righted the ship for us.”

The Eagles (13–3–1, 6–2–1 Hockey East) proceeded to net two more goals in the game, courtesy of Oskar Jellvik, and held the Friars (9–5–2, 4–3–2) to just one, narrowly downing Providence with a chippy 5–4 win.

BC and the Friars each had a skater receive a major penalty and game misconduct, totaling 12 penalties in the intense top-10 matchup. 

“You have to control yourself, those are huge events in the game,” Brown said of the game misconducts. “You don’t want to put your team down like that and lose very good hockey players. So both teams probably want those back and know that as it gets tighter and tighter down the stretch, you can’t make mistakes like that.”

Just under five minutes into the game, Providence’s Jaroslav Chmelar hit BC’s Ryan Leonard and slammed him into the boards. The referees determined the play was a major penalty and a game misconduct, which gave BC an early five-on-four advantage. 

Despite five minutes of playing with a man advantage, BC could not get on the board. The Friars even applied short-handed pressure on the Eagles. While on the penalty kill, the Friars intercepted a BC pass and Jamie Engelbert found himself in a one-on-one opportunity with Jacob Fowler and fired his shot. 

The freshman netminder stood his ground, though, and prevented the opening score. BC could not convert on the early power-play opportunity. 

“It always feels like a five-minute power play early in the game is a tough spot,” Brown said. “Feels like no one’s really got their groove yet.”

The second frame, on the other hand, got off to a fiery start just over a minute into play and set the tone for the period as a whole. 

BC found itself on a breakaway opportunity, but couldn’t get on the board, ultimately resulting in an intense scrum that broke out behind the net. Gabe Perreault received a roughing penalty, while Aram Minnetian recorded a five-minute major for cross checking coupled with the second game misconduct of the affair. 

“Aram felt bad, but he’s gotta control his stick in that situation,” Brown said.

Everything pointed in the direction of Providence getting on the board, but BC killed the initial two-minute penalty to make it a four-on-five. Then, the Friars hurt themselves with a too many men on the ice penalty just before the second penalty expired. 

The Eagles flipped the script and took the ice on a power play of their own, wasting no time. Just 15 seconds into the advantage, Will Smith launched a one-timer from the right circle that ricocheted off goaltender Philip Svedebäck and into the net to give BC the 1–0 lead under seven minutes into the frame.

Only 31 seconds later, the Friars notched yet another penalty, this time for hooking. On the advantage, Eamon Powell threaded a pass to Perreault who took the puck from the blue line and raced toward the net. Then, on a backhand, he lifted the puck straight into the top shelf before Svedebäck could even react, doubling the lead with 11 minutes remaining in the period. 

With under three minutes left in the second period, Providence got on the board when a deflection got the better of Fowler to make it a one-goal game. 

The Friars did not stop there, though, and just under four minutes into the final period, Engelbert released a swift shot that beat Fowler to tie it at two goals apiece. At the 12:35 mark, Providence had yet another scoring chance, this time to take the lead.

The referees tacked Smith with a tripping penalty which put the Friars on the advantage and they wasted little time executing, taking their first lead of the game 42 seconds later. 

“I thought when we got up two, they had a great push back,” Brown said. “Either we stopped skating or they started picking it up, I thought there was a real momentum swing after we were up by two.”

Gauthier came to the rescue, though, and that lead was short lived.

With 2:20 remaining, the puck made its way to Jellvik’s stick, and he walked into a shot from the right circle that slipped past Svedebäck’s mitt to reestablish the Eagles’ lead. 

Just over a minute later, Jellvik made it 5–3, and although the Friars made a last ditch effort with nine seconds left that cut BC’s lead to one goal, it was too late.

December 9, 2023