The Boston College men’s hockey team won 5-3 over UMass Amherst at the Mullins Center on Friday night—definitively making head coach Jerry York, who got his 502nd victory, the winningest skipper in program history. But getting the momentous win wasn’t an easy feat, as the contest had the makings of an intense battle from the start.
And the word “start” cannot be emphasized enough. The Minutemen’s sophomore forward Ray Pigozzi scored the game’s opening goal only 49 seconds into the first period. Receiving a pass from teammate Steven Iacobellis, Pigozzi maneuvered away from two of the Eagles’ defenders and sent the puck hurtling past Thatcher Demko to give his team the early 1-0 lead.
The Eagles responded nearly 15 minutes later, with sophomore forward Chris Calnan redirecting a one-timer from teammate Scott Savage into the opposing team’s net. The goal, which leveled the game 1-1, came during the Eagles’ first power play—after one of the Minutemen’s forwards, Frank Vatrano, was called for hooking.
Another Eagles goal came only one minute after Calnan’s goal, once senior forward Cam Spiro snagged the puck in the Minutemen’s zone and launched it over goalkeeper Henry Dill’s shoulder. Following the score off of the successful forecheck, the Eagles gained their first lead, 2-1, and the team wouldn’t relinquish the advantage for the rest of the contest.
The Eagles extended their lead in the second period, following senior forward Quinn Smith’s goal from the wing. The margin-widening shot slipped into the net after ricocheting off one of the Minutemen’s skates. The Eagles would soon end the middle stanza, and head into the third period up 3-1 over their Hockey East competitors.
But the plucky Minutemen played aggressively in the final period—and very nearly mounted a successful rally. This aggressiveness resulted in a rapid exchange of goals, as the home team attempted to overcome the two-goal deficit and the visiting Eagles fought to maintain their lead.
The first rumblings of a potential comeback for the Minutemen came early in the stanza, when, just over three minutes into the period, the team’s senior forward Troy Power cut the Eagles’ lead to one goal by redirecting a shot from teammate Ben Gallacher into the BC net.
The Eagles responded quickly. Around the six-minute mark, Calnan was able to secure possession of the puck. He sped toward Dill and the Minutemen’s net, and sent a shot whirring past the overmatched goalkeeper. Calnan’s goal, his second of the night, gave the Eagles the 4-2 advantage.
The Minutemen would continue to press for the comeback, getting a goal of their own only 32 seconds after Calnan’s board-crashing score. Off a feed from Vatrano and Pigozzi, defenseman Marc Hetnik was able to send a shot zipping just beneath the crossbar of the Eagles’ net—once more reducing the visiting team’s advantage to a single goal.
BC was able to score just before the period’s ninth minute, though, again quashing the threat of a comeback, and this time, for good. The final goal was scored by freshman defenseman Noah Hanifin. The newcomer executed an expert deke to set up his shot, flicked the puck into the Minutemen’s net, and gave the Eagles their decisive 5-3 victory.
Featured Image by Graham Beck / Heights Senior Staff