On Tuesday night, No. 3 Boston College men’s hockey took on the UMass Minutemen. While few predicted that underdog UMass could beat the Eagles, BC eviscerated its opponent in a fashion rarely seen at this level of competition.
As BC's first conference game, this matchup was especially important. “Two points in our league is critical for us to start off our Hockey East schedule and I thought our team did a lot of outstanding things tonight. I feel good about where the Eagles are,” York explained.
The first period was slow to watch -- despite the Eagles’ domination of the puck and excellent forecheck, they did not produce results. BC had 12 shots on goal to UMass’s five. Play stayed in front of the Minutemen goal for the majority of the time yet the Eagles just couldn’t seem to cash in on their opportunities, including two power plays.
The period ended in frustration with a shot that appeared to be a goal but had in fact crossed the line after the clock had run out.
Luckily, the Eagles didn't have to stay frustrated for long.
The second period was one of the most exciting periods the Eagles have seen this season. 1:33 into play, Adam Gilmour stole the puck from a UMass defenseman at the blue line and skated right up to the paint before finding the back of the net. This unassisted goal was the first of six goals for BC in just 15 minutes.
Next, Travis Jeke was able to capitalize thanks to a great forecheck by JD Dudek and Chris Brown. Dudek downed a UMass defenseman, giving Brown the opportunity to take the puck behind the net in what looked like a wrap-around but was actually a pass to Jeke, who was waiting right in front of the net to tap it in. This was only Jeke’s third career game at forward and his first goal since December 27, 2013.
The third goal came less than two minutes later. Freshman Collin White was able to work the puck along the boards before finding Scott Savage in a advantageous position at the top of the circle. Savage rifled the puck straight through three players and UMass’ goalie.
An incredible 3-on-0 situation spawned only three minutes later. With one pass to Miles Wood, Ryan Fitzgerald was able to burn the sole defenseman covering him, leaving the entire line wide open to converge on the goal. UMass didn’t have a chance. Wood passed to Fitzgerald giving the Eagles a 4-0 lead.
Only 11 seconds later, Ryan Fitzgerald picked off a pass in the UMass zone and passed it off to Miles Wood, who walked right into the paint and fired it in.
Just a few after that, a fight broke out in front of Demko between Fitzgerald and UMass captain Steven Iacobellis, resulting in a profusion of penalties. Fitzgerald eventually received a major for cross checking, a minor for roughing and a game disqualification. As a result, Fitzgerald will not be able to play on Friday against Maine. Ben Gallacher and Iacobellis were each given five-minute majors for spearing and high sticking, respectively; each was also ejected from the game. Overall, Boston College had eight penalties for 27 minutes to Massachusetts’ eight penalties for 38 minutes.
Teddy Doherty capitalized on the resulting power play with a snipe from up near the blue line. He was able to shoot thanks to a good pass and some screening of the defense from White, resulting in the sixth and last goal of the period.
This is the second time in BC hockey history that the team has buried a team in a deluge of six goals in a single period. It also happened on November 25, 1995 in a 10-4 win over St. Lawrence University.
The third period saw one final power play goal from Doherty in a quick one-timer thrown on net.
Thatcher Demko posted his 4th shutout in five games with this win -- a team record. He is 4th for season shut-outs and 5th overall. Cory Schneider '07 is the Eagle record holder for career shutouts with 15. York commented on his performance gushing, “Thatcher just looks so much more confident this year, his angle is better, his glove is better. You can really build a hockey team from the goal out and I think we have an excellent goaltender.”
The freshmen class played a major role in the game, as York also noted. “It’s a very good class. We knew that. They’re right on schedule to make a major impact on our team as the year goes by,” York said. “They’re fitting into our culture here at BC pretty well. I like how there’s no egos. It’s team first, and their effort in practice and the games has been fun for me to watch.” White stood out with four points recorded during the game, a distinction no other Eagle has had this season.
This game was an exciting opener for Hockey East competition, but as York himself said, “It’s still early.” The Eagles take on Maine at Kelley Rink this Friday.
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