Joseph Woll struggled to get it together. Halfway through the second period of Friday’s game against New Hampshire, the sophomore goaltender for Boston College men’s hockey gave up his second soft goal. This time, it was to Eric MacAdams, the first in the freshman’s career. MacAdams didn’t have to work too hard for it, either. He caught the puck on a 2-on-1 near the blue line, and wristed it past Woll. If the Eagles were going to come back, they’d need quick goals and the help from their defensemen, because it appeared as if Woll might not get it done.
Turns out, they got all three.
After MacAdams’ goal, the Eagles never looked back. Woll made a few clutch saves, and team captain Michael Kim, a defenseman, scored twice—once on the power play 57 seconds after MacAdams’ goal, another late in the third period—to give BC a 3-2 victory over UNH. It’s the sixth win in a row for the Eagles (7-5-1, 7-1-0 Hockey East) after a rough start to the season, in which they fell to five ranked teams in six games.
The No. 11 Wildcats (6-4-1, 3-3-1) got on the board in the first period when Chris Miller notched the first goal off Woll. Ara Mazarian forced a Connor Moore turnover, setting up Miller with a juicy rebound off Woll’s pads. BC struggled throughout the first to gain offensive momentum. Fortunes changed for the Eagles in the second period when David Cotton scored just 1:49 into the frame. Jacob Tortora launched a shot at UNH goaltender Danny Tirone that bounced off the skate of Julius Mattila. The puck took a opportune bounce to Cotton at the low right circle to eat up the rebound.
Kim’s goals came off two slapshots, something the defenseman is wont to do. It was the first multi-goal game of Kim’s career.
“He’s played very, very well,” said head coach Jerry York of his team captain. “He’s got a rocket of a shot.”
But that would have been for naught without the stellar play of Woll. With 5:30 to go in the third period, the Eagles faced a crucial penalty kill. Benton Maass came up along the near boards and fired a shot that looked like it’d clang around the boards, but instead caromed awkwardly off the glass. Woll sold out behind the net, leaving it wide open for Nazarian to slot the game-tying goal. Woll quickly skated back and reached across his body to snatch the puck out of the air and push it away to preserve the win.
— BC Interruption (@bcinterruption) November 18, 2017
Though he has at times throughout his BC career been inconsistent on the easy shots, one thing Woll has shown is a knack for the spectacular.
“I don’t know how he caught it,” York said. “I saw it from the bench, I haven’t seen it from the TV perspective. But that’s the difference in the outcome of the game—it hinges on that, a crazy bounce, an unbelievable save.”
It’s yet another notch on a remarkable two-week turnaround for the Eagles. Following their 6-1 loss to No. 1 Denver, the Eagles dropped out of the USCHO.com top-20 rankings for the first time since the 2009 season. BC swept through a series of unranked opponents, but held serve against New Hampshire in the first of a six-game stretch against ranked teams—a home-and-home against Northeastern (currently No. 12), a home-and-home against struggling Boston University (No. 18), and a home matchup against Harvard (No. 13). As of publication, it’s been enough to launch BC back into the way-too-early PairWise Rankings—by comparison, BU is down at 35th. And, though all of the games have been by a slim one-goal margin, they’re proof of improvement for the Eagles’ head coach.
“You either win or you learn,” York said. “Early in the season, we played games where we didn’t win but we learned. Then we caught fire, and now we’re playing very confident when the game’s tied late. That’s a nice attribute to have.”
Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Staff