Early Power Play Goals Doom Eagles in St. Cloud State Loss

Boston College men's hockey

Jerry York had one goal heading into Saturday night’s matchup with St. Cloud State: limit power play opportunities. Despite sending players into the box four times compared to the Huskies’ five, the Eagles headed home with a 3-1 loss.

After 10 penalties Friday night, the Eagles (1-3-1) were keen to keep the Huskies (5-0) from gaining an opportunity. That pursuit was short-lived when Luke McInnis was called for hooking only one minute after taking the ice. BC started the game where it left off the night beforeーin the penalty box. The Huskies didn’t waste any time and immediately began shooting on Joe Woll. It was only 60 seconds before they found their hole. After a center pass that Woll blocked, Jack Poehling connected with the rebound and drove the puck home to give St. Cloud a 1-0 lead.

The Eagles were given a chance at redemption when Blake Lizotte was called for tripping, but only two shots made their way to goaltender David Hrenak, who deflected them easily. BC almost faced a hole when a low shot made its way past Woll, but caught a break when Blake Winiecki’s skate was caught in the cage. Despite the call, St. Cloud gained possession in the neutral zone, and Ryan Poehling found a break in the defence and sent it home.

BC was given a chance at redemption when Winiecki was sent into the box for tripping. As the penalty was called, the clock was stopped for a TV timeout. The two minute break was the second time the Huskies were able to catch their breath before their penalty killers hit the ice. The Eagles weren’t able to connect, and they remained two points behind the Huskies. BC dug itself a deeper hole when Julius Mattila was booked for cross checking, leading St. Cloud to put home its second power-play goal of the game.

The Eagles were given an early attempt at redemption when Jack Ahcan was called for slashing. David Cotton had some real estate in between the circles and took his shot, but Hrenak deflected it with his stick and sent the puck into the netting. It was the third straight powerplay that BC couldn’t connect on. When Aapeli Räsänen was booked for cross-checking, the TV timeout gave the Eagles a short break to go over a strategy for the penalty kill.

Despite the offensive pressure put on BC’s defense, they didn’t allow any shots to make their way into the back of the net. After a rocky first 20 minutes, the Eagles outshot the Huskies 11-4. They couldn’t solve Hrenak, though, failing to connect on their offensive plays and chip into the three point deficit.

As both teams took to the ice for the last 20 minutes in regulation, BC took control early on and continuously shot on Hrenak to try to close the gap. Matilla tried to sneak in a low shot from the post, but but the Slovakian freshman saw the pass at the last moment and scooped it up with his glove. The Eagles had another good chance when Cotton got the puck to Casey Fitzgerald at the blue line, but his shot was deflected, much to the visible annoyance of the captain.

The Eagles found a break when J.D. Dudek found Mattila in Husky territory. His shot spun in front of Hrenak but Dudek was able to jam it in and get the Eagles on the board. With just six minutes left in regulation, the Eagles were desperate to finish digging themselves out of the deep hole dug early in the first period. While BC succeeded in spending less time in the penalty box, the team was haunted by the two power play goals the Huskies tallied in the first period. After eight unanswered goals heading into the last period, the late goal by Dudek wasn’t enough to propel the Eagles past the Huskies in the weekend series.

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor