Every time the Boston College Eagles attempted to fly the puck into the net, goalie Sean Romeo was there. The Eagles out-skated and outhustled the University of Maine, but with a 94.4 save percentage, Romeo helped to snap BC’s eight-game winning streak.
Coming in off a big victory against Boston University two days before, it seemed like the Eagles had turned their season around. Sunday’s task should have been an easy one, considering BC beat Maine 4-1 in November. Romeo, however, outplayed everyone on the ice and handed BC a tragic 4-2 loss.
The Eagles came out hot and maintained high pressure in the offensive zone from the start. Every time the Black Bears attempted to cross mid-ice, BC’s defenders stopped them in their tracks. BC smoothly switched zones and did well in anticipating Maine’s moves ahead of time, allowing for a faster pace of play. Noah Hanifin’s defensive pressure was strong and forced Connor Leen to back up over the blue line, giving BC a drop in the offensive zone.
The Eagles hung onto the puck and continued to play keep away from the Black Bears. Adam Gilmour found the perfect angle to shoot from but after bobbling the puck, Romeo was able to set up and deny access to the open net. The first period ended scoreless.
The second period started out slow until Malcolm Hayes was called for tripping, allowing BC a power play. Alex Tuch took a shot from the slot but Romeo was there. The puck remained loose and Chris Calnan tried to sneak the puck in before he slammed into the ever-present Romeo. Virtually every player on the ice for BC took a shot off each other’s rebounds but Romeo remained calm under this rapid fire.
The Black Bears killed the penalty but as soon as Hayes got out of the box, he was sent right back in for holding. The Eagles got in several strong positions to shoot, only to be continually thwarted by Romeo.
Maine took the puck down to the offensive end and BC crowded the zone. Jake Rutt shot through the flock of Eagles and whistled one past Thatcher Demko for a 1-0 lead. Minutes later, Rutt did it again. With players stacked in front of the goal, he ripped a shot from distance and tallied his second goal of the game.
Maine got in close but Demko refused to let his opponents into the net again. BC changed the momentum in its favor and applied pressure for the final two minutes, again to be stopped by Romeo.
Eleven seconds into the third period, Michael Matheson received a penalty for high sticking. Seconds later, Cam Brown was called for interference, making it four-on-four. Michael Sit took the puck down the ice and shot. The puck hit the post but bounced out. Sit stayed on it and made an incredible goal on his knees from behind the goal.
Nolan Vesey was called for hooking and seconds later, Alex Tuch was penalized for holding, making it four-on-four again. Devin Shore took advantage of the open ice and scored in a faceoff, pushing the score to 3-1.
BC used deceiving passes to open up the net but Romeo continually appeared as the Eagles struggled to catch him off guard. Tuch saw Ian McCoshen open wide right and slid the puck to him. McCoshen ripped a shot at Romeo and Ryan Fitzgerald tipped it in with his skate, making it a 3-2 game with 3:58 left.
Soon after, Michael Sit was called for tripping, but the penalty was delayed. Cedric Lacroix profited from this by splitting the defenders and sliding the puck in between Demko’s pads. Down by two with a minute and a half to play, Coach Jerry York decided to pull Demko after Maine’s Blaine Byron was called for tripping. Even with a six-on-four advantage, the Eagles could not pop one past Romeo.
BC outshot Maine 36-30 but Romeo was constantly available to make a stop. To maintain hopes for the season, the Eagles need to soon forget this painful 4-2 loss.
Featured Image by Arthur Bailin / Heights Editor