Following a tie on Friday, Boston College men’s hockey entered Saturday night in desperate need of a victory.
Thanks in large part to an explosive second period led by Austin Cangelosi and solid goaltending by Thatcher Demko, the Eagles came away with a win against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats.
Missed opportunities defined the first period for the Eagles. The second line, comprised of Destry Straight, Adam Gilmour, and Alex Tuch, had several good chances early, but wasn’t able to sneak a shot by Wildcat goalie Adam Clark. BC outplayed UNH for most of the period, but penalties by Zach Sanford and Ryan Fitzgerald a mere 35 seconds apart gave UNH a golden opportunity.
The Wildcats took full advantage of this. After a series of nicely executed passes on the five-on-three, UNH jumped on the scoreboard first thanks to a strong wrist shot from John Furgele. Heading to the locker room after one period, BC found itself down 1-0 despite its strong play.
Head coach Jerry York said of the period “We came out, right from the start. We were solid. We moved pucks, made good plays. Their goaltender was sharp in the first period. I thought we controlled the first period, but we still found ourselves down 1-0.”
In the second period, the game took a massive turn in BC’s favor. This time the Eagles’ efforts paid off on the scoreboard, as Teddy Doherty and Austin Cangelosi scored only 35 seconds apart.
Doherty got the scoring started, ripping a low shot from the dot past a heavily screened Clark. Almost immediately afterward, Cangelosi pushed the puck up the ice, flew behind the defense, and scored top-shelf on a beautiful, backhand deke. With a 2-1 lead, BC had full control of the game.
Only four minutes after Cangelosi’s goal, Chris Calnan tipped a Quinn Smith shot past Clark. In a game without much clear offensive skill on display, the five-minute explosion seemed insurmountable.
The Wildcats wouldn’t go away, however, as UNH responded with a goal late in the second. Matt Willows intercepted a pass across the middle, waltzed in on goal all alone, and backhanded the puck past Demko.
In the third period, BC continued to outplay the Wildcats but had trouble delivering a deciding blow.With 3:23 remaining in the game, Chris Calnan was called for tripping, giving the Wildcats a golden opportunity to tie the game. After Friday night’s tie in New Hampshire, York had seen this script before.
On this night, however, BC stopped the UNH power play unit that had already scored twice on the night. Following the end of the penalty, Calnan immediately received the puck and slid one in the empty net, giving the Eagles a 4-2 victory.
UNH head coach Dick Umile recognized the level of competition in the two-game series. “It was good hockey all weekend between BC and UNH,” Umile said. “They just had four, five minutes where they scored three goals.”
York has high expectations for each team despite their early-season struggles. “Both of these teams are not where we want to be yet,” York said. “We parallel each other, but I think as the season progresses we’re gonna be right in the thick of things.”
As the season wraps up, perhaps he’ll be right. Judging solely on Saturday night, BC at least appears to be on the right track.
Featured Image by Graham Beck / Heights Senior Staff