Men's Hockey, Hockey, Winter, Sports

No. 1 Eagles Dominate No. 17 UNH 6–1

If there was ever a way to rebound from No. 1 Boston College men’s hockey’s Beanpot Semifinal loss to No. 3 Boston University, the Eagles showed it in their Friday night tilt against No. 17 New Hampshire. 

The Eagles came out firing, putting three past the Wildcats’ netminder, Jakob Hellsten in the first 4:35 of play. 

“Yeah, I think a lot of guys were pretty juiced up to get back on the ice after that loss,” BC forward Cutter Gauthier said. “You know, and when our team is going like that, it’s a pretty hard team to stop.”

The Eagles’ electric start, coupled with newly hired BC football head coach Bill O’Brien’s introduction during the first intermission of the game, energized the Conte Forum crowd.

“I could hear from the locker room, I could hear the crowd go crazy between periods,” BC head coach Greg Brown said.

BC (20–5–1, 13–3–1 Hockey East) ultimately defeated UNH (14–10–1, 7–7–1) by a score of 6–1 thanks to two goals each from Gauthier and Jack Malone, as well as a 30-save performance from Jacob Fowler.

Cutter Gauthier got the action started 1:07 into the game when he completed a 150-foot give-and-go with Oskar Jellvik. Gauthier, standing in his own zone, bounced a pass off the boards to a streaking Jellvik, who ended up receiving the puck below UNH’s goal line. He returned Gauthier’s favor with a precision dish back out in front of Hellsten, which Gauthier made no mistake to bury, giving BC a 1–0 lead.

Just over a minute later, Malone fired the puck into traffic on the power play, and it managed to find its way past Hellsten, deflecting off of a few Wildcat skates on its way into the net. Malone’s goal gave BC a 2–0 lead just 2:36 into the game.

“[Malone] gives us so much every day. Off the ice, in the locker room, he’s a real stable voice,” Brown said. “He’s had great experience, so when he speaks the guys are listening. And then on the ice does so many little things well.”

Wildcat forward Stivan Sardarian sent BC’s power play back out onto the ice after he was banished to the box for tripping at 4:19, which proved to be costly for his team. It was Ryan Leonard who made the Wildcats pay this time, burying a rebound from a Gauthier shot.

Fowler settled the game down, making some tough saves going from post-to-post, denying any sort of response from New Hampshire.

“Fowler was equal to the task on every shot but that great shot off the face off, so good to see him sharp,” Brown said.

Will Smith added one on the power play when he buried a one-timer top shelf 11:47 into the second, BC’s third power play goal of the contest and Smith’s 15th on the season.

It would take the Wildcats until 15:05 was left in the game to get their first and only goal of the game when Harrison Blaisdell fired a piping hot wrister past Fowler directly off of a faceoff.

Malone would respond just 51 seconds later, though, when he tipped in a shot from Jellvik—his first shift since taking a tough blocked shot that left him writhing in pain.

“He was the birthday boy yesterday, so for him to, you know, have a huge game for us like that, it was awesome, especially to see the grit that he showed,” Gauthier said.

Things got chippy late, with BC’s Drew Fortescue and UNH’s Marty Lavins each picking up game misconducts for fighting after a donnybrook in which Lavins dropped his gloves and threw a punch at Fortescue. There was another scrum that ended in another BC power play, which Gauthier converted into his second goal of the game and nation-leading 23rd on the season with 3:20 left in the game.

“I didn’t like the frustration that we showed towards the end of the game, but kids are competing on both sides,” UNH head coach Mike Souza said.

February 10, 2024

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