The No. 1 seed Boston College men’s hockey team survived New Hampshire with a 3-2 win to advance to the Hockey East semifinals.
After winning the Hockey East regular season, BC locked up the first seed for the tournament, meaning an easier road to the finals and home ice advantage. The Eagles looked confident right out of the gate in this game for a good reason. UNH was 6-14-3 this regular season.
BC asserted its dominance in the first period by getting more shots and better shots, as well as winning more face-offs. Even to the untrained eye, BC was clearly handling the puck a majority of the time.
New Hampshire had a very close chance at tallying the first points of the game of a power play in the first but BC was able to clear it away from goalie Spencer Knight. UNH then took a sloppy penalty for too many men on the ice, making it a four-on-four play.
BC took the opportunity of being even manned once again to get the first goal. Alex Newhook scored five minutes into the game, assisted by Matt Boldy and Drew Helleson.
Just two minutes later, BC scored again to put them up two points. Mike Hardman got this one, with the assist from Eamon Powell.
The scoring barrage wasn’t over yet, as one minute later Nikita Nesterenko put the puck through the UNH goalie’s five-hole to put the Eagles up a comfortable 3-0 only halfway through the first period. Colby Ambrosio and Marshall Warren were credited with the assists, marking now eight different Eagles with points on the night.
Jack St. Ivany closed out the dominant offensive performance of the first period with a slapshot lasered right through the defense, but UNH goaltender Mike Robinson came through with a great save.
UNH was spending much more time down by the BC net to begin the second period. They immediately looked ready to try and fight their way back into what could have been a blowout.
This fire paid off and the Wildcats finally scored their first goal six minutes into the period. In a scrum in front of the BC net, the puck was sent right over Knight’s glove side shoulder, seemingly without him even seeing it coming.
Two and a half minutes later, UNH struck again, this time sending through Knight’s legs before he even had the chance to get down. These two goals were the result of slow reactions from the whole defense, not just Knight. However, sloppy mistakes still count as goals, and UNH was close to the comeback, down only 3-2 in the middle of the second period.
Those goals seemed to wake up the BC defense. They played much harder for the remainder of the second period. Knight was getting much more of a workout due to a revived New Hampshire offense and he needed the men in front of him to wake up.
BC came back after the break to get many more shots off in the third period. They were dominating both sides of the ice, getting plenty of good looks, however not scoring actual points.
Mike Robinson, the New Hampshire goalie, did everything in his power to keep them in the game, but their offense couldn’t pull off the upset. He pulled out the theatrics, with a huge windmill save in the third to keep BC from going up any more.
UNH pulled Robinson with one minute left to add a sixth man to try and knot the game at three. However, this wasn’t enough and BC came out on top, advancing to the Hockey East quarterfinals.
The Eagles look to continue their postseason on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. at home against UMass Lowell.
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