add_theme_support( 'post-thumbnails' );Struggles Continue for BC Men's Hockey in Back-to-Back Losses to Maine - BANG.
Photo courtesy of BC Men's Hockey / Twitter

Struggles Continue for BC Men's Hockey in Back-to-Back Losses to Maine

The Boston College men’s hockey team pulled into Orono, Maine on Friday night still reeling from last week’s pair of losses to a formidable UMass team, and desperately seeking to instill some life into a season that has long looked over. However, the nightmarish season grew even worse as the team fell 2-1 to Maine on consecutive nights, extending their losing streak to season-worst 6 games.

It didn’t take long for the Eagles’ struggles to pop up once again as Maine scored the first goal of Friday’s contest 14 minutes into the first period during 4-on-4 play. The goal came off of an avoidable mishap, as David Cotton blindly shoveled the puck in the direction of a teammate in his own half, and the errant pass was intercepted and slid into the back of the net before anyone had time to react.

Maine would add to their lead with 13 minutes to play in the second frame when they turned a rebound in front of the net behind the outstretched pad of Joseph Woll to make the score 2-0. The Eagles had plenty of excellent chances to cut into the lead during the period, but a collection of saves by the Black Bear’s goaltender kept them scoreless heading into the third. In the dying seconds of the second, Casey Fitzgerald found himself all alone with a golden opportunity to shrink the deficit, but he overthought the breakaway chance and fired a tame shot straight at the goalie.

The Eagles finally got on the scoreboard with about 1:30 to play by taking advantage of a tripping penalty that put Maine down a man. BC pulled Woll to give them a 6-on-4 power play, and Logan Hutsko found Aapeli Räsänen for a simple one-time finish shortly after to make it 2-1.

With under a minute remaining, BC pulled Woll once again in a last ditch effort to send the game to overtime, but Maine’s defense thwarted a frantic scramble in front of the net with seconds to play. Christopher Brown and Hutsko tried to force the puck through a wall of bodies in front of the net to no avail, and Fitzgerald’s miss came back to bite the Eagles, as the game ended 2-1 in favor of Maine.

Boston College got a second shot at the Black Bears the following night and carried their late momentum from Friday with them into Saturday night’s first period. The Eagles dominated the opening frame with fluid puck movement and a bevy of shots on target, and finally found the back of the net on a power play with 8 minutes to go. Oliver Wahlstrom and David Cotton combined to put BC up 1-0 as Wahlstrom beat a defender with excellent stickwork and had his shot redirected into the corner of the net by Cotton.

The Eagles came tantalizingly close to extending their lead early in the second when Hutsko was denied on a breakaway and two ensuing rebounds were turned aside by Maine’s goalkeeper. The missed opportunity quickly came back to bite Boston College as Maine drew even in frustrating fashion, with a slapshot tipped home through traffic with a mere 47 seconds to play in the second period.

In an uneventful final period, both teams sat back defensively to avoid making mistakes and decided to let overtime decide the game’s fate. Maine made their aggression apparent in the overtime period with intense pressure in BC’s defensive zone, and once again, under a minute left on the clock would be the difference between BC losing or surviving another day.

With just 50 seconds remaining, Maine fired a backhanded dagger that would slide past Joseph Woll and into BC hearts. The 2-1 defeat marks a 6th straight loss for an Eagle team that looks battered physically and emotionally at this point in the season.

Now sitting at 10-18-3 and 7th place in Hockey East, the season is officially a lost cause for BC. With 3 games left, the very least coach Jerry York can do is try to keep the team together and build a bit of momentum heading into next season. That may be a tall task for this faltering Eagles squad as next weekend they take on a Northeastern Huskies team that bested them in the Beanpot final back-to-back.

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