On a snowy Tuesday night, the second-ranked Boston College Eagles (17-4-3, 11-1-1 Hockey East) hit the road up the North Shore and racked in two more crucial points to take a commanding lead on No. 11 Northeastern in the conference race.
A two-goal start was all the Eagles needed as they coasted to a 4-1 victory over the Merrimack College Warriors (6-12-3, 1-6-2) at J. Thom Lawler Arena in North Andover, Mass.
With the win, which was just the second in the last seven games between the teams to be decided by more than one goal, the Eagles extended their unbeaten streak to ten games - which is tied for a national best with Minnesota - and improved to 6-1-1 over their last eight games against the Warriors.
The Maroon and Gold opened the scoring just 1:23 into the opening period as senior Kevin Hayes (Dorchester, Mass.) - the reigning Hockey East Player of the Week after a seven-point weekend, including his first-career hat trick against Maine on Saturday - popped his 17th goal of the season on a lucky rebound that tipped off the skate of a Merrimack defender and behind junior Rasmus Tirronen.
On the play, junior Johnny Gaudreau was credited with the lone assist to extend his astounding career-long point streak to 19 games. The Jersey native has recorded points in 23 of the Eagles’ 24 games this season, including all 13 Hockey East league games.
At 4:47, junior Mike Collins (Boston, Mass.) leveled the score at 1-1 with his eighth goal of the season on a low snap shot across the grain and by BC rookie stopper Thatcher Demko.
Freshman Adam Gilmour (Hanover, Mass.) put the visitors in the lead 42 seconds before the first recess, converting BC’s first power-play goal on five attempts in the contest.
After a fairly even start to the middle stanza, the scoring opened just as it did in the first with the Eagles taking command with a 3-1 lead 8:31 in. After what looked to be a sure offsides call at the blue line was not called, captain Patrick Brown fired a shot from the near side boards off a pass from freshman Ryan Fitzgerald (North Reading, Mass.) for the score.
The third period was rather bare of offense, but BC freshman Austin Cangelosi found the back of an empty net with 50 seconds remaining to ice the victory.
Maine 4, New Brunswick 3 (OT)
Sophomore Devin Shore scored just 19 seconds into overtime as the 20th-ranked Black Bears (11-8-3) defeated visiting New Brunswick in an exhibition game at the Alfond Arena. Senior Martin Ouellette (14 saves in 29:53) surrendered three goals in the first period to the Varsity Reds, before the hosts scored twice in the second and once in the third to knot the score. Maine emerged victorious from all three of its exhibition games against Canadian Interuniversity Sport after defeating Dalhousie in October and St. Francis Xavier a week ago.