CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- Friday’s Hockey East contest at Kelley Rink proved exactly why sporting events are not played on paper.
Despite having the best defense in college hockey, No. 7 UMass Lowell (20-8-3, 10-5-2) was not a match for the high-flying, top-ranked Boston College Eagles (25-4-3, 16-1-1) in the opener of a weekend series. BC scored twice in the final period for a 3-0 victory in front of 6,524 fans.
“Even though we’ve won a trophy, (I told the team) we had to stay hungry and we had to keep improving,” BC head coach Jerry York said. “I think our kids understood that.”
“That’s how we want to approach it. I thought tonight may have been as solid an effort for 60 minutes, from the goaltender, to the defense, to the forwards.”
The Eagles took a 1-0 lead against the nation’s strongest defense corps at the 13:01 mark of the first period and it was none other than Johnny Gaudreau who got things started.
The stellar junior parked along the goal line and found a sliver of space in the top corner of Connor Hellebuyck’s net for the initial goal, off a pass from senior linemate Bill Arnold (Needham, Mass.), to extend Gaudreau’s point streak to 27 games.
BC senior Isaac MacLeod was ejected after a high hit to the head on River Hawk junior Jake Suter, and the Eagles had to kill off the ensuing major penalty midway through the second in order to maintain the lead. They did so with relative ease.
“It’s tough to have four or five guys back there (on defense),” BC freshman goaltender Thatcher Demko (33 saves) said after his second shutout of the season. “But I thought all our D stepped up to the plate when we needed them. That’s hard to do and they just battled through it.”
Creative offenses are always at work and the Eagles showed that on the shorthand, but Hellebuyck was equal to the task in stopping a breakaway by junior Quinn Smith (Fairfield, Conn.) during the kill.
After allowing 14 of the 25 shots on goal in the first period, the River Hawks did have the overall edge in the middle stanza by a 11-6 count.
At the 3:15 mark of the third, BC was able to double its lead to 2-0 on a beautiful redirection off the stick of freshman Adam Gilmour (Hanover, Mass.) through a lot of traffic between the faceoff circles. The Eagles proved that it goals are poured in bunches at the 5:08 mark as captain Patrick Brown sprung freshman Austin Cangelosi for a breakaway which he deposited high into the net.
“It was a decent hockey game in spurts,” UML head coach Norm Bazin said. “I thought we did a lot of watching in the first period. I thought we had our moments in the second and third to tie the game, but we didn’t. We didn’t have enough push-back tonight to make it a hard game for them.”
Maine 4, Northeastern 4 (OT)
Senior Braden Pimm tied the score with 1:11 remaining in regulation to lift the ninth-ranked Huskies (17-10-4, 9-6-2 Hockey East) to a point in the opener of two weekend games with the No. 17 Black Bears (15-10-4, 9-5-3) at Matthews Arena. For Maine, senior Martin Ouellette made 27 saves, while sophomores Devin Shore and Steven Swavely each posted a goal and an assist.
Vermont 4, Merrimack 1
Mario Puskarich continued his stellar freshman season with a natural hat trick in the third period to lift the No. 16 Catamounts (16-11-3, 8-9-0 Hockey East) out of a tie and into the win column against the Warriors (7-19-3, 2-13-2) at Lawler Arena. Puskarich's effort is the first by a UVM player since Oct. 8, 2010 and allows him to take over the team lead in goals with 17. Linemate Chris McCarthy posted four assists for the first time by a Catamount in eight-plus years. Senior Mike Collins (Boston, Mass.) scored for the Warriors, but they suffered a sixth consecutive loss.
Providence 4, Massachusetts 3
Sophomore Brandon Tanev scored once and added two assists as the Friars (16-9-6, 8-7-2 Hockey East) survived a two-goal outburst in the third period by the Minutemen (8-20-4, 4-12-3) for a win, their tenth of the season at home at Schneider Arena. Tanev's classmate Jon Gillies (South Portland, Maine) made 21 saves en route to his 13th win this year.
Notre Dame 2, Boston University 0
The Terriers (8-19-4, 3-11-3 Hockey East) could not solve Notre Dame senior Steven Summerhays as he pitched a 19-save shutout, his national-best sixth of the season and second straight, for the Irish (18-12-2, 7-9-2) at Compton Family Ice Arena.
Dartmouth 2, Brown 1 (OT)
Captain Tyler Sikura scored 51 seconds into overtime as the Big Green (7-16-3, 6-12-1) earned a big win at Thompson Arena, their third in a row in ECAC play. Junior Matt Lorito scored the lone goal for the Bears (10-13-3, 7-11-1), beating Charles Grant who made 24 stops in his sixth win this season.
Yale 5, Harvard 2
The 14th-ranked Elis (14-8-4, 9-7-3 ECAC Hockey) scored three times on the power play, getting two goals and an assist from senior Jesse Root, for a victory over the archrival Crimson (9-13-4, 5-10-4) at Bright-Landry Hockey Center. Alex Lyon made 29 saves in his 11th win of the season for Yale, but was scored on by Harvard sophomores Brian Hart (Cumberland, Maine) and Jimmy Vesey (North Reading, Mass.) in the third period.
Cornell 2, Quinnipiac 1
In a heavyweight ECAC clash, Bruins prospect Brian Ferlin scored the deciding goal to propel the No. 13 Big Red (12-7-5, 8-6-4) to a road win at High Point Solutions Arena in Hamden, Conn. Freshman Tommy Schutt's first-period goal was not enough for the Bobcats (21-6-5, 11-4-3) as sophomore Michael Garteig was needed to make just 10 saves.
Sacred Heart 5, Bentley 4
Two goals over the final 2:18 of regulation time, including the winner from rookie Jeff Carroll with 1:15 left, lifted the Pioneers (10-21-0, 9-16-0 Atlantic Hockey) to a big win over second-place Bentley (16-11-4, 14-6-4) at Milford, Conn., Ice Pavilion. For the Falcons, sophomore Andrew Gladiuk scored twice for his team-leading 20th and 21st of the season.
Army 4, Connecticut 3
Senior captain Brant Harris scored a goal and an assist to tie UConn's all-time Division I scoring record, but the Huskies (16-11-4, 13-8-3 Atlantic Hockey) fell one short to the Black Knights (4-24-0, 4-20-0) in Storrs. Army freshman Parker Gahegan made 42 saves for his first-career win, breaking the team's 13-game losing streak.
Holy Cross 5, American International 1
Four Crusaders (10-18-3, 9-12-3 Atlantic Hockey), including sophomore Tim Driscoll (Hingham, Mass.) and freshman Nick Finn (Canton, Mass.), finished with multi-point nights and senior Matt Ginn stopped 16 of the 17 shots he faced in a rout of the Yellow Jackets (10-20-1, 9-14-1) at Hart Center. The teams return to action in a matinee contest on Saturday at Springfield’s MassMutual Center.