This is not how Boston College men’s hockey wanted to start out the second half of the season.
During a power play for The Ohio State University, caused by a hooking call on BC defenseman Scott Savage at 1:41 into the first period, the Eagles took flight. Zach Sanford skated up the ice and handed off the puck to Austin Cangelosi. He then slid the puck back to Sanford, who snuck the puck past Buckeye goalie Christian Frey’s right shoulder. A one-goal lead turned into a two-goal lead for the Eagles, and less than three minutes into the game, the score was 2-0. What looked like an easy win for a highly ranked team in a powerful conference against one of college hockey’s worst squads turned out to be just the opposite.
At the Florida College Classic in Estero, Fla., No. 4 BC (13-3-1, 6-1-1 Hockey East) fell 3-2 to Ohio State (4-11-0, 0-2-0 Big Ten) in its first game of the tournament, keeping head coach Jerry York stuck on win No. 997. While the Eagles played a strong first period, their many penalty minutes prevented them from providing constant offensive pressure, and the Buckeyes’ solid penalty kill prevented connection on the Eagles’ scoring chances.
Adam Gilmour gave the Eagles’ their first goal, as his shot deflected off of goaltender Frey. Speeding toward the net, Alex Tuch overpowered a Ohio State defenseman, who knocked down the goalie. A distracted Frey couldn’t save the puck, as it bounced off of him and into the net. About a minute later, Sanford’s shorthanded goal increased the Eagles’ lead. BC killed a penalty toward the middle of the period, and it seemed as though the Eagles’ speed was too much for the Buckeyes.
With less than three minutes left in the first period, Josh Healey received a five-minute major penalty for elbowing Sanford in the head. While the Eagles generated scoring opportunities on the power-play, they couldn’t put the puck into the net, in part due to the Buckeyes’ penalty-killing unit. The Buckeyes slowed the Eagles down and prevented them from bringing the puck in close to the crease.
After the BC power play, Ohio State’s Anthony Greco’s centering pass toward the front of the net was deflected off of Casey Fitzgerald’s stick and flew over netminder Thatcher Demko’s shoulder. The Eagles couldn’t take vengeance on the Buckeyes’ goal on the following power play, and the score stayed at 2-1.
Ohio State’s solid penalty kill throughout the second kept the game within reach, and BC’s disrupted play gave the Buckeyes an edge. After the Eagles killed a penalty with less than four minutes to go in the period, a turnover by Ian McCoshen in the BC zone caused Tyler Lundey to even up the score at 2-2.
Though the Eagles continued to to push toward the net with renewed energy to open the third, they couldn’t finish. The Buckeyes, however, finally delivered on a power play, this time courtesy of a tripping call on Chris Calnan. With seconds left in the Ohio State power play, John Wiitala received a centering pass and shot it into the back of the BC net. With time left to go in the period, the Eagles could have managed a goal to tie, but could not capitalize on any chances, keeping the score at 3-2.
A penalty on Miles Wood for game misconduct and hitting from behind with about five seconds left in the game further solidified BC’s loss. As part of the penalty, Wood will not be able to play in Tuesday’s consolation match against Providence College, a game where, after today’s result, he is sorely needed. Wood now extends his lead in a notorious category—penalty minutes—to a whopping 60. The team is already missing Colin White, who is with the United States National Team at the World Junior Championships.
The Eagles’ first game of the second half of the season set a different tone than the one BC accomplished in its’ season-opener. And it doesn’t get any easier: BC’s next three games are against No. 1 Providence. If this most recent game is any indication of how the rest of the Eagles’ season will go, then the outlook is grim.
Featured Image by Lucius Xuan / Heights Staff