In its first conference game of the season, Boston College men’s hockey had high hopes against Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass., but had to settle for a 2-2 tie in overtime—its first overtime and tie of the year.
The Eagles were without Jerry York due to an eye operation and Colin White for an upper-body injury sustained in the game against Holy Cross on Oct. 22. BC (4-2-1) had a tough start to the game, with Scott Savage taking the first penalty 1:32 into the game for interference. Merrimack (2-3-1) took an early shot that got past goalkeeper Joe Woll, but Connor Moore got his stick in fast to keep the puck out of the goal.
The Eagles had a hard time keeping the puck out of their zone, due to the small rink size causing all missed shots to end up back on their side of the ice. This didn’t seem to faze Savage, who ripped the puck past goalkeeper Drew Vogler to get the first point of the game, and his first of the season. The goal came 27 seconds into a BC power play, their fourth power play goal of the season. The first period came to an end with the Eagles leading 1-0, despite taking only four shots compared to Merrimack’s 10.
The beginning of the second period had a similar theme to the first, as Ryan Fitzgerald headed to the box for hooking four minutes in. Austin Cangelosi was then called for tripping, giving the Warriors a 5-on-3 power play for six seconds. The Warriors couldn’t find the back of the net even with the advantage as they failed to make fast plays to take on the physicality of the BC players. Fitzgerald responded to his penalty by taking a shot on Vogler that was initially saved, but he caught the rebound and pushed it past the goal line. The Warriors tried to respond by shooting the puck between Woll’s elbow and body, but he blocked the puck and robbed Merrimack of a goal. Woll has been a star this season, and has begun to make his mark on the hockey team as someone to watch.
“He’s been fantastic all year,” associate head coach Greg Brown told BCEagles.com after the game. “He’s the lead goalie and just a young freshman, but he’s got all the abilities and the mental makeup to be outstanding and has been so far.”
The celebration wouldn’t last long, though, as Casey Fitzgerald gave the Eagles another penalty for interference with only 15 seconds left in the period. At the end of the second period BC was leading the Warriors 2-0, but Merrimack started the third period with 1:45 of a power play.
Merrimack finally capitalized on its power play opportunities, with Logan Coomes scoring the first Warriors goal of the game only one minute into the beginning of the third period. Merrimack was able to get another power-play goal as Fitzgerald went into the box again for hooking, tying up the score at 2. After going into the third period with a two-goal lead, the Eagles had to be careful about penalties and capitalize on power plays in order to end the game with a win.
After a Merrimack penalty with seven minutes left in the period ended without a point for the Eagles, Brown called the Eagles’ only time out of the game. The attempt to give the players a breather didn’t work, as the Eagles failed to make another goal by the end of the period. Woll made sure the game went into overtime when he barely made a save by tipping the puck with his stick 30 seconds before the end of the period.
The Eagles headed aggressively into the five-minute sudden-death overtime, taking shot after shot on Vogler, but weren’t able to get the puck in the back of the net. BC had to settle for a tie when neither team could score.
Throughout the game, the Eagles had a problem with penalties一a common theme this season一as they put players in the box eight times to Merrimack’s four.
“We took a couple penalties all game but the penalties in the third period were tough and we weren’t able to kill them off,” Brown said. “We’ve talked about it all year—we really need to figure out how to limit our penalties.”
As the season continues in full swing, the Eagles need to be careful about how many penalties they receive in a game. The absence of White definitely hurt them against Merrimack since he’s always right there to kill off the power plays, but he’ll be back for Friday’s second home game of the season against Providence College.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor