Freshmen, meet Division I hockey. Division I hockey, meet the freshmen.
Boston College’s newest additions to the men’s hockey team were the driving force that catapulted the Eagles to a 5-1 win over the United States Military Academy in their season opener on Oct. 9, scoring three of the five goals. With the support of goalie Thatcher Demko, who is seemingly fully recovered from his double hip surgery over the summer, the Eagles simply overpowered the Black Knights.
BC came out in the first period with a strong offensive effort, aggressively seeking the forecheck to obtain possession of the puck. At 10 minutes into the period, freshman Miles Wood, assisted by Alex Tuch off of a turnover, shot the puck past Army goalie Parker Gahagen to give BC a 1-0 lead. Despite only getting one goal in the first period, the Eagles constantly took advantage of turnovers by Army to speedily rush to the net. Throughout the period, multiple penalties on Army also granted BC the opportunity to take shots on net and cycle the puck offensively. The Black Knights, however, kept the Eagles at bay with their aggression, also pursuing the forecheck and lofting shots toward Demko, who smoothly blocked the puck.
The second period defined the game as the Eagles flew at the net with intense energy. To Gahagen’s credit, he did not let a shot in the goal until 12:01 into the second, thanks in part to Army’s defense getting in front of its net and screening shots. Chris Calnan then continued the Eagles’ momentum. On a puck steal from Army, Calnan deked and faked a pass to Austin Cangelosi, opening up a lane for him to fire a snapshot past Gahagen low into the net next to the back post.
Casey Fitzgerald proved that even a freshman defenseman can dish out a goal. On a power play resulting from a penalty called on Army’s Nick Decenzo for tripping, a scramble for the puck occurred in the Black Knight’s zone. A pass out to Scott Savage at the blue line led to a pass across to Fitzgerald at the left point, who wound up for a hard shot through the five hole of Gahagen to cause BC to pull away from Army, 3-0. Demko responded solidly to offensive pressure by the Black Knights, despite not even facing a shot until seven minutes into the second.
Chris Brown notched a goal from a BC power play—the third by a freshman—when he got a shot off on net from a rebound from Alex Tuch early in the third. A penalty on Zach Sanford led to an awkward bouncing puck goal by Army on Demko. In retaliation, Sanford scored a quick goal after rushing to the net off of a face-off win on a power-play, bringing the score to 5-1. On an Army power-play late in the third, Demko responded to pressure from the Black Knights well, making quick saves and rebounding quickly from position to position in the net.
The Eagles and their freshmen met the high expectations for a team ranked first in the country in their season opener in West Point. As for the coming season, fans can look forward to the long weekend and the exciting season BC’s rejuvenated offense will bring.
Featured Image by Daniella Fasciano / Heights Editor