In an up-and-down season thus far, Boston College men’s hockey has yet to prove itself as a serious title contender. After losing to top-10 teams UMass-Lowell, Denver, and Boston University, and then dropping points to the likes of unranked UConn and Harvard, the jury is still out on whether BC can turn it around.
Things seem to be looking up after a complete victory on Saturday night against Maine, however. After a slow start, the Eagles handled the Black Bears to cruise to a comfortable 4-1 win.
“We were sharp, and emotionally and physically involved in the game the whole 60 minutes,” York said.
All the things that were preached in the preseason—the importance of defense and the necessity for the seniors to step up—were evident on the ice.
Destry Straight produced his best outing of the season and his first career two-goal game, sparking the Eagles’ offense in the second period en route to a 3-point night.
“A remarkable game from Destry,” York said. “Just the way he started, he blocked a shot, which led to goal, and then scored two in the second.”
On the other end, Noah Hanifin and Ian McCoshen bottled up Maine’s best player, Devin Shore, all night. Aside from one highlight, in which Shore dangled Michael Matheson, the BC defense handled the forward well, preventing him from registering any shots.
After one period, neither team looked to be in control of the game. A quick transition led to BC’s first goal, in which Chris Calnan found Straight in front of the net, who dumped it to his side to an oncoming Teddy Doherty for the goal.
The lead, however, was immediately negated by a sloppy defensive giveaway and ensuing short-handed goal from Maine’s Blaine Byron.
To start the second period, BC put everything together to take the lead. One minute and 38 seconds into the period, Teddy Doherty ripped a shot wide that was collected behind net by Adam Gilmour. With the UMaine goalie on one side, Gilmour found Straight on the back post for the easy tap-in.
Four minutes later, Gilmour found Straight yet again with a nice pass, and the senior beat the goalie short-side for his second of the night.
With a two-goal lead in hand, the Eagles played to their strengths for the remainder of the game to secure the victory.
“We built from the goaltender out,” Straight said. “Solid defense leads to good offense.”
Demko, who finished with 22 saves, looked keyed in all night but was never truly tested. After forcing Demko into playing at his absolute best during many games this season, the defense protected its goalie and made his night easy.
After losing last year’s Super Line, the burden’s shifted to Ryan Fitzgerald, Alex Tuch, and Zach Sanford to produce this year, yet Fitzgerald has been the only constant threat so far. Against Maine, though, the line moved the puck well and created many quality chances, capped off by Tuch’s unassisted goal in the third to seal the deal.
Although these three are the biggest names on the team, much of the credit for the win goes to the Straight-Calnan-Gilmour line, which produced the other three goals.
From Demko to Hanifin and Matheson to Tuch and Fitzgerald, the stars of this BC team showed the fluidity and talent necessary to win big games in the Hockey East and beyond.
But it was the rest of the team, led by Straight and Doherty, which carried the Eagles to victory.
In a season filled with lapses, the Eagles did well to put together a complete victory and showed the ability to keep a foot on the opponent’s throat the entire game.
“From my perspective, it’s the best 60 minutes of hockey we’ve played this year,” York said.
Featured Image by Graham Beck / Heights Senior Staff