Boston College men’s hockey emerged with a 5-3 win over The University of New Hampshire on Election Day.
BC extended its unbeaten streak to nine straight games Tuesday evening at Kelley Rink, improving the Eagles' record to 9-2-1 on the season. UNH came back from 0-3 to tie the match with under five minutes left in the third, but BC netted two goals in the final three minutes to survive the Wildcats.
Unlike the team that’s been labeled for both its high-scoring and high penalty-rate this season, Tuesday night appeared to be different. BC got on the board early with the lone goal in the first when Chris Brown chipped in a Scott Savage set-up, giving the Eags the early lead with 12:24 remaining. In the second, Casey Fitzgerald struck a shot from the blue tape followed by a Matty Gaudreau tap-in to loft the maroon and gold to 3-0. All three goals were scored with only a mere two penalties against the home team—who have averaged eight penalties per game in the last five contests—and a single goal scored by the Wildcats to cut the lead to 3-1.
Then came the third period. The Eagles, who have worn their juvenility on their sleeve all season, revealed their inexperience when it came down to the wire. BC spent half the period in the box, registering five penalties in the third alone. Associate Head Coach Greg Brown, who spoke on-behalf of the absent Jerry York, attributed the PK’s to the “lack of legs” the players had at the end of the game.
“In the third period, it was almost like we sat back a bit to protect the lead, which is no way to play,” Brown stated in a post-game press conference.
The tiredness translated to sloppy play, leading BC to allow two more goals in the third period, the second one tying the score at 3-3 with four minutes of play left in regulation. As if the young, inexperienced squad suddenly realized the game was on the line, the rate of the Eagles play did a 180. Going full-force, Sophomore JD Dudek positioned himself perfectly to net a Gaudreau forecheck, giving BC the go-ahead goal with 2:27 remaining.
“We were ready to respond no matter what on that last (UNH) goal. We were ready to make simple plays and we knew we weren’t losing that game and that was just the mindset for all of our guys," said Dudek. "We wanted to end it in regulation.”
Sophomore Colin White then sealed off the win with a goal on an empty net in the final second of regulation to lift BC to 5-3 over the Wildcats.
“I thought we responded great in the last four minutes. All the guys had good energy on the bench and we dug deep and were able to come away with the win,” added Brown.
While it’s scary for a historically top-ten team to rely heavily on a young, immature squad, what might be even scarier for opponents is the ability of the team to come together and secure a win when they put their minds to the job.
Next up, BC faces a rare west-coast opponent, Arizona State University, on Sunday at 3 p.m. in Conte Forum.
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