Christopher Grando flew out of offensive zone like he was shot out of a cannon, pushing the puck ahead of him with one hand as he skated down the right wing. The freshman out-skated the Vermont defenders, leaving only the Catamount goalie to beat. His first shot was unsuccessful and bounced off the goalie’s pads, but Grando positioned himself to pick up his own rebound and banged home a shorthanded goal to pick up his first point in a tremendous performance. Grando’s pure speed gave him the opportunity to make a play, but his hustle and extra effort were what allowed him to score and give Boston College men’s hockey its first lead of the night.
The Eagles never lost that lead, defeating Vermont, 5-1, in a dominant performance on Saturday at The Gut. For BC (6-5-1, 6-1-0 Hockey East), the victory completed a sweep of Vermont in Burlington after Friday’s gutsy 4-3 win, and the Eagles continue to play to their potential against Hockey East opponents, extending their conference winning streak to five games.
The first period was relatively even, with both teams playing solid two-way hockey. The Catamounts (3-7-1, 1-3-1) found the back of net first, as Ross Colton snuck a shot past goalie Ryan Edquist to capitalize on a Vermont power play. Neither team could stay out of the penalty box, and both teams finished the night with seven penalties each. After the first period, the Catamounts hung onto a one-goal lead and led the game in shots, but they had not separated themselves much from the Eagles.
The second period was a whole different story for BC. After an uneventful first few minutes, the floodgates soon opened up for the Eagles when Graham McPhee potted a goal to tie the game at one about halfway through the game. Less than a minute and a half later, Grando added his short-hander to double BC’s score and extinguish all Catamount momentum. He was not finished after that goal, and a little later Grando slid a beautiful goalmouth pass to Jacob Tortora, who buried the puck in the twine to extend the BC lead to two goals.
Thankfully for the Eagles, this momentum continued, and the third period was closer to an extension of the second than it was to a lackluster duplicate of the first. Vermont had a couple big chances to cut the BC lead, but the Eagles were too sound defensively, and Edquist shut down any opportunity that got close. Christopher Brown joined in and nipped a goal in the top right corner off passes from McPhee and Casey Fitzgerald. Grando scored his second of the night, and the last goal of the game to give BC a four-goal lead and cemented the final score 5-1.
Multi-point games and strong play from Grando, McPhee, Brown, and JD Dudek led the supercharged BC attack, and solid defense and a tremendous job in net by Edquist (and an assist on Grando’s first goal) locked in the Eagles’ win. While head coach Jerry York woud like his squad to be more disciplined and to avoid the seven penalties that jeopardized the game, the Catamounts only capitalized on one power play.
Although BC left itself vulnerable a couple of times by playing a man down, its offensive dominance allowed them some breathing room so that Vermont could not gather enough momentum to get close once the Eagles took the lead. Even so, the first half or so of the game was slow for the Eagles, and for BC to win some more convincing games like this, its scoring outbreaks need to either come earlier or more frequently. Nevertheless, though BC didn’t start off its season the way it hoped, the team is starting to hit its form as of late.
Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Staff