Head coach Jerry York didn’t break any news on Saturday in saying BC men’s hockey is “not a dynamic offensive team.”
If they don’t control the run of play, the Eagles don’t have the game breakers up front to win against most Hockey East clubs. In this game, however, BC dominated the University of New Hampshire Wildcats on Saturday night. The Eagles kept tight possession of the puck throughout the game, sustaining pressure on the Wildcats, no matter the score, and finished with over 60 percent of the shots attempted in the game—a statistic widely used as a proxy for puck possession. They finished the game with a 4-2 win.
“I don’t think we’re going to be in many games that go 7-5 with us as winners,” York said. “They’ve got to be much tighter scoring, defensive battles. Now as the year goes on, if we develop some goal scorers, I’d love that. But right now, the makeup of our club is much more solid defense, exceptional goaltending, and be opportunistic scoring.”
BC flubbed too many chances to dub its scoring output as opportunistic. Previous York squads may have put up double-digit goals with the kind of sustained offensive zone time and odd man rushes that the Wildcats defense relented.
There was enough, though, because bad offense can be good defense, and BC’s goal prevention was great on Saturday. BC’s defensemen got the puck up to its grinding forwards. Too many of those forwards’ shots hit the glass or the protective netting, but BC’s puck retrieval and cycling kept UNH playing defense.
As logical extension would have it, good defense was bad offense for the Wildcats. UNH got off just 42 shot attempts and didn’t get one by Thatcher Demko at even strength. Wildcats’ goaltender Adam Clark gave his team its own exceptional goaltending in the first period, keeping the Eagles off the scoreboard despite BC doubling up UNH’s shot total.
Trailing into the second period, BC kept peppering Clark and got off more shots in the second than it did in the first. The lead changed during that period but BC’s approach didn’t, nor did it in the third, when UNH’s only chance to tie the game up came on a late power play because the Eagles kept the puck in UNH’s end the for the wide majority of the period.
“Really good third period for our team, but the jump we had in the very first period gave us a head start in the game,” said York. “In the first ten minutes, we were outstanding. That gave us a real good lift…We came out, right from the hop, very, very solid and moved pucks, made good plays.
BC’s possession dominance at even strength may have been for naught if the Eagles didn’t kill off Chris Calnan’s tripping penalty with less than four minutes left in the third. UNH scored on two of its previous four attempts, but didn’t get a shot through to Demko when the Wildcats, down 3-2, had to have a goal.
The Eagles forced the puck to the point and got in front of shooting lanes. Freshman defenseman Noah Hanifin stripped Warren Foegele on the half-wall as the man advantage was about to expire and cleared the zone to end the threat.
Featured Image by Graham Beck / Heights Senior Staff