Sports, Top Story, Winter, Hockey, Men's Hockey

No. 2 BC Dominates Merrimack 6–2

In the minutes preceding Jack Malone’s second period goal, the Boston College men’s hockey’s matchup against Merrimack had gotten hectic. 

Merrimack had cut BC’s lead from three goals to two on an odd bounce that got the best of Jacob Fowler, and four players were in the penalty box—two for BC and two for Merrimack.

But when Malone skated into the zone in a three-on-three rush, he calmly found the top corner, beating goaltender Hugo Ollas glove side for his second goal of the game, extending the Eagles’ lead back to three and settling the game down for BC with 7:11 left in the second period.

“That was a huge goal,” BC head coach Greg Brown said. “The game could have gone either way there because they were making better plays than we were, they were dictating more. They had the momentum. That goal, kind of to reestablish the three goal lead, gave us a little boost on our bench and it seemed to go better for us from that time on.”

The Eagles (16–4–1, 9–3–1 Hockey East) went on to handily defeat Merrimack (10–12–1, 3–9–1) 6–2, largely due to a three-goal outburst in the first eight minutes of the game and 22 saves from Fowler.

Aidan Hreschuk got the scoring started when he buried a rebound off a Jamie Armstrong shot just 35 seconds into the game, giving BC a lead it would never relinquish.

Malone doubled the Eagles’ lead just a few minutes later at 3:23 when he skated into the zone and fired a wrister past Ollas. Armstrong and Will Vote each picked up their second assists of the game on the goal.

“The Malone line really set a great tone for us,” Brown said. “Obviously scoring first, but also just playing the right way and being sharp and playing with a lot of tempo, so the rest of the guys fed off that line and we had a much more successful start than on Friday.”

BC extended its lead to three when Will Smith received a stretch pass from Ryan Leonard just above the blue line and pushed the puck into the zone for a breaking Gabe Perreault. The freshman put the moves on Ollas in close quarters and buried the puck in the back of the net at 7:52.

The Eagles continued to create chances during the remainder of the period, but they couldn’t find the finishing touch that they showed off in the first eight minutes of the game. 

“We slowed down a little in the second period, especially on the power play,” Brown said. “I thought we didn’t have the killer instinct as much as we have most of the year. So that gave them some confidence and obviously they were gonna make a push in the second period anyway.”

Merrimack looked to spark a comeback as Filip Forsmark bounced the puck off 

Fowler’s back and into the net 10:17 into the second, but Malone’s goal sent the momentum back BC’s way.

Smith added a fifth goal for BC on a backdoor feed from Leonard 1:39 into the third, continuing the momentum slide in BC’s favor. Andre Gasseau made it six when he tapped in a puck in the crease after a Cutter Gauthier shot at 10:21 to all but wrap it up for the Eagles.

“They’re really good,” Malone said of Smith, Leonard, and Perreault. “It’s pretty simple. Not many other ways to put it. After the one goal that Smitty scored today. I actually looked back at Coach Brown and was like ‘That’s a good play.’”

Forsmark scored his second goal of the game on a power play with 6:38 left, but it was too little, too late for the Warriors.

“We did talk a lot before the game about having a better start than last night,” Brown said after BC’s game against Merrimack on Friday. “We really let Merrimack dictate the play in the first period Friday and talked about it.”

January 21, 2024