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Long Ride Home: Austin Cangelosi Is Back Where It All Began

Stuck somewhere on I-90 on his way back to Boston College from Toronto’s Ricoh Coliseum, Austin Cangelosi had to blush.

“Well, that’s nice of him to say for sure,” Cangelosi said.

Cangelosi, the Eagles’ center and alternate captain in 2016-17 who now plays for the American Hockey League’s Albany Devils, was referring to the kind words of his recently former head coach, Jerry York. In his 45 years leading college hockey teams, York has seen a lot of players. But there was no doubt which three reminded him most of Cangelosi.

Nathan Gerbe, Cam Atkinson, Johnny Gaudreau. York put Cangelosi’s name alongside three Hobey Baker candidates, the last of whom won the sport’s highest honor in 2014.

Okay, in fairness, a lot of that has to do with height. Like those three, Cangelosi stands well below the invisible line of where a casual fan’s stereotypical hockey player would stand. A lot of it also has to do with style of play—Cangelosi, like that once-in-a-generation trio, is speedy and scores in high volumes. He’s the kind of player the new NHL wants.

But York’s reasoning goes beyond size and skill. Those three were all leaders. They made BC what it was in the years they played. Cangelosi is no exception to that mold. After playing a role on the third line in the final year of the Gaudreau era, Cangelosi has been the Eagles’ leading scorer over the last two years. In his 2016-17 senior campaign, Cangelosi amassed 21 goals and 14 assists while capturing his second-consecutive faceoff winning percentage crown. Though the year was ultimately trying for BC fans—the Eagles missed the NCAA Tournament for only the third time since 2000—York poses another question: Where would they have been without him?  

“Clearly, he was our most valuable player,” York said of Cangelosi, The Heights’ Male Athlete of the Year. “He’s my choice for my MVP.”

***

If Andy and Diane Cangelosi had their way, really, who knows where BC would have been.

Cangelosi’s parents moved him and his brother, John, from their home in New Jersey to Estero, Fla. in 2002. Ideally, the Cangelosi boys would follow the same path as the rest of their family: the summer sport route. Diane played tennis at Fairleigh Dickinson, and Andy was on the rugby team at Villanova and continues to play golf now. Even their grandfathers were athletes—Andy’s father John played catcher at Florida State, while Diane’s father Ed was a table tennis champion in Austria.

Unfortunately for the parents, Google Maps wasn’t around for them to scout out the neighborhood in advance. The Cangelosis moved only five minutes away from Germain Arena, home of the ECHL’s Florida Everblades and Lee County’s premier ice hockey rink. The boys, who had grown up playing roller hockey up north, graduated to the only frozen water worth skating on in southwest Florida. Austin and John milked as much as they could out of the fledgling, early-2000s hockey scene down South. But given the lack of competitiveness, there’s only so much a player can get out of it, especially if he or she wants to go pro.

“Not trying to knock on Florida,” John said, “but the hockey is way better up North.”

So when John, three years Austin’s senior, was old enough, he made the trip to Western Massachusetts to join head coach Tom Pratt at one of the nation’s best prep schools, Northfield Mount Hermon.

John’s move up north paved the way for his brother to find an out. In turn, Cangelosi was a talent Pratt just couldn’t ignore. Playing the brothers on the same line, Pratt saw in Cangelosi a terrific penalty killer who could excel as a two-way player while also sitting at the top of the umbrella on the power play, even as a freshman. Cangelosi had quick hands and a low center of gravity. Though he initially deferred to John on the draw and preferred the wing, Cangelosi easily adjusted to Pratt’s system. And boy, did he have some jump on the ice. No one could outskate him.

“He can close a 3-foot, 5-foot, 7-foot gap really quickly,” Pratt said.

Pratt quickly realized that if he couldn’t ignore Cangelosi’s talent, colleges soon wouldn’t be able to either. He made a call to York, his coach back during his playing days at Bowling Green, to get an assistant out past the Berkshires, ASAP.

“I knew quite clearly that Austin would be an attractive player for a number of schools, so I wanted to give Boston College a heads-up early,” Pratt said.

Enticed by the detail with which Pratt described him, Connecticut head coach and then-BC assistant Mike Cavanaugh came out to see Cangelosi. A week later, associate head coach Greg Brown was in the stands too. Not long after that, Pratt pulled Cangelosi into his office—the BC staff had seen all it needed to see, and was ready to make an offer, just halfway through Cangelosi’s freshman season.  

“He drops the bomb that Jerry talked to him and offered him a full scholarship to school,” Cangelosi said. “I had no intentions of thinking that far in the future, I was just trying to take it day-by-day, and all of a sudden, I get this offer for college.”

When York came calling, so did other schools—Cangelosi recalled Northeastern, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire among the programs that showed interest. But one visit to Chestnut Hill and a tradition of winning and excellence were all he needed to be convinced.  

***

When York is convinced, so are the fans.

Grant Salzano, one of the hockey beat reporters for SB Nation’s BC Interruption and BC ’10, recalled the first moment he was really excited about Cangelosi.

“Austin came in with some weighty expectations, and frankly, a lot of that was because of a single play he made while in the USHL,” Salzano said in an email.

He saw a clip on YouTube in which Cangelosi’s USHL team, the Youngstown Phantoms, took on the Cedar Rapids Roughriders in the 2012 Eastern Conference Playoffs. Tied 3-3 in overtime, Cangelosi skated past center ice into the faces of three defensemen. Knowing that, with his stature, he’d never get around them, Cangelosi flipped the puck over the head of the lead blue liner. The defenseman swatted it with his hand, but the deflection fell behind him. With that great closing speed, Cangelosi skated easily around him on the right to go backhanded, high past the goaltender’s right, for the game-winning goal. The video has been played nearly 700,000 times.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkZE0ldxiE8

Funny enough, it’s the same exact moment York cited as when he knew Cangelosi was his man.

“That was our validation point that we’ve got the right guy coming to the Heights,” York said.

But, as Salzano noted, that goal, as well as the success of smaller skaters in York’s system, may have unfairly placed too high of a belief in Cangelosi to be “the next one” in the season immediately following Gaudreau’s Hobey campaign. After a down sophomore year, in which BC failed to come close to the high-flying offense of 2014-15, many of the frustrations fell onto Cangelosi’s shoulders.

Things changed in 2015-16, when the reinforcements arrived. The star-studded freshman class, including Miles Wood and Colin White, as well as the continued development of Alex Tuch and Zach Sanford, took the pressure off Cangelosi to be the focal point of the offense. That, Salzano believes, helped Cangelosi focus on his game.

And, while he continued to score plentifully, his game grew around the faceoff.

His exploits in that field have already been documented. But, amazingly enough, Cangelosi somehow got better than being the nation’s best.

Cangelosi won faceoffs in 2016-17 at a whopping .650 clip, best in the country again. That mark was .3 higher than the next closest center, Matt Marcinew of Denver—he was also the only Eagle in the top-100 nationally. When BC was in the defensive zone and needed to hang on to a one-goal lead, Cangelosi instilled confidence that he could shut the game down. No player in recent memory has been as good at one singular, specialized skill as he has.

“Knowing we had his faceoff skills also always made me breathe easier,” said Laura Berestecki, BCI’s editor-in-chief and BC ’13, BC Law ’16, in an email.

His faceoffs continually set up goals, too. BCI’s Joe Gravellese, BC ’10, referenced this year’s Frozen Fenway, in which a struggling Eagles team on the opposite side of the PairWise Rankings leaned on Cangelosi to bail them out. He perfectly set up Michael Kim to rip home a game-tying goal.  

“That turned the game around and BC went on to pick up the W,” Gravellese said in an email.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6XFSoeNigs

He provided a plethora of other memories too. Gravellese remembers Cangelosi’s first home-opener, when he scored two goals in a 9-2 blowout of Wisconsin. Berestecki recalls Cangelosi’s natural hat trick this season in Portland. All three can’t help but think about his prowess on the penalty shot, particularly the one he potted last season against Boston University.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmspwNOlrps

And all of those memories make Cangelosi harder to let go.

“Jerry talked a lot this year about how this was one of his favorite teams to coach, even though they had some struggles through the middle of the season,” Gravellese said. “I’m not in the locker room but I’m guessing Cangelosi is a huge reason for that—his leadership, his drive, and his continued progression was fun to watch.”

***

As Kentucky’s John Calipari likes to remind us, winning in college isn’t the primary goal. It’s getting your guys to the next level.

York doesn’t ascribe to that same level of one-and-done obsession. Still, he understands the importance of preparing his players to get to the NHL. Normally, it’s easy enough when you bring in a revolving door of first-round picks. Yet York actually thinks it’s a blessing that Cangelosi didn’t get drafted.

“As a free agent, he had a bunch of choices of them,” York said. “If you’re not going to be a first rounder, that’s the better route to go through.”

And, according to York, a player like Cangelosi is perfect for the the new NHL. The first- and second-line talent still trends toward those overall athletes, the 6-footers like Alexander Ovechkin and John Tavares who have size and skill to match. But the third- and fourth-line guys are no longer the goons, the enforcers there to entertain the crowds and eat up minutes by punching Sidney Crosby in the face. Now, teams want to get smaller and faster with specialists.

That’s where Cangelosi comes in. With his faceoff and penalty killing expertise, Cangelosi is a perfect fit at the end of the bench to provide a boost late in a game. York figured this out long ago. He’s just glad general managers have wised up.

“Now, the NHL is putting more value on that kind of player,” York said. “It took them a while to understand that.”

And if Cangelosi does make it to the NHL one day, that locker room is in for quite a treat. When preparing for a game, Cangelosi leads by silent example, the way he has been since high school.

“Jerry will probably tell you it took him three and a half years for him to say much,” Pratt said.

Off the ice, though, Cangelosi is just like any other BC student. Like many of us, he sweated out room selection day, when he, Ryan Fitzgerald, Matthew Gaudreau, and Chris Calnan were among the first men’s hockey group to win the Mod lottery and be allowed in since York became the coach. And he enjoys eating out, a lot, according to his former roommate.

“He loves to down his sushi and Cookie Monster,” said Thatcher Demko, the BC goaltender from 2014-16, calling in from the links in his hometown of San Diego, Calif.

Cangelosi confirmed his obsession for Yamato’s and White Mountain’s signature flavor. The guys in his grade would go once a week last year, crushing spicy tuna rolls and ice cream by the pint. He didn’t mention, however, his other secret obsession.

“He’s got good tango skills, he’s got good rhythm there,” Demko said of Cangelosi’s other special skill. “You’ve got to throw that in the article.”

Demko, however, could not confirm if Cangelosi’s dancing skills help him on the ice.

***
On that drive back to Boston, Cangelosi detailed his daily schedule. Now, it’s a lot of early nights and early mornings.

Just a few days after BC’s season came to an end in the Hockey East semifinals, Cangelosi signed with the Albany Devils. As York suggested, Cangelosi loved the opportunity to pick where he got to play. There’s a little bit of bias there, too. The leadership of the Devils’ front office consists of two BC parents: Ray Shero and Tom Fitzgerald. Because of his New Jersey roots, Cangelosi has always been a fan of the red and black, and as he says, why not suit up for your favorite team?

His days are even more structured now. During his abbreviated professional stay, he lived in a Residence Inn near the Times Union Center. A lot of other players there for only a short time, like BC alums Steve Santini and Miles Wood, make it a dorm atmosphere, just like what he’s used to in Chestnut Hill. Every day, he has to get ready for a 9 a.m. meeting, before an hour and a half practice. The day ends by noon, when Cangelosi can get back to his room and return to schoolwork and studying. He’s still on track to graduate this May from the Lynch School of Education.

Like college, the professional season is now over for Cangelosi. His Devils lost to the Toronto Marlies in the Calder Cup Playoffs. Nevertheless, he’ll be ready for Devils training camp Sept. 10 in Newark. But he’s still got a few more days in Chestnut Hill. And, on that drive, he couldn’t help but notice that he was making such good time.

“Just glad I decided to take this route,” Cangelosi said.

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor

Five Eagles Departing for Professional Hockey

Shortly after the college hockey season ends comes the saddest moments for any program: the day the boys grow up and sign deals with professional teams. For Boston College men’s hockey, the attrition happened almost immediately. And when the dust settles, it could mean trouble for the program’s immediate future.

Five members of the Eagles have begun the next stage of their careers. On Saturday, Teddy Doherty—the team’s best senior—signed with the Missouri Mavericks of the ECHL, a minor league affiliate of the New York Islanders. An undrafted free agent, Doherty was BC’s captain in 2015-16. Over his career, he switched between defense and forward, and amassed 22 goals and 58 assists as a four-year starter.

“Doherty is a true two-way player with a good eye for the ice,” Richard Matvichuk, head coach and director of hockey operations for the Mavericks, said in a statement on the team’s website. “He’s coming to us fresh from a great season with Boston College, and we are excited to bring him into our locker room.” Days later, Doherty announced the signing himself on Twitter.

The other four, however, have left BC early, some much earlier than expected.

On Friday, junior Steve Santini and freshman Miles Wood joined the New Jersey Devils, the team that drafted them. The Devils faced the prospect of having both players become undrafted free agents next season—Wood would have become one despite being a freshman because of his two years in prep school—thereby increasing their need to sign both as soon as possible. The two signed three-year entry-level contracts (ELC) that will pay them $925,000 per season. Given the NHL’s rules on ELCs, their first years began in Saturday’s season finale against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., a 5-1 win for the Devils. Neither recorded a point, though Santini spent two minutes in the penalty box.

The two spoke to nj.com about their decisions to join the NHL’s “BC Alumni Team”—former Eagles Stephen Gionta and Cory Schneider currently play in Newark. Neither stated that he anticipated joining the Devils at the season’s outset. Yet once BC’s year ended with a 3-2 loss to Quinnipiac in the Frozen Four, the serious discussions began.

“I was fully committed to this Boston College season,” Santini told nj.com. “We wanted to win the national championship. When we didn’t, my family and I talked yesterday morning and we felt it would be best for my career to come down here and make the step to pro hockey. That’s a decision I’m fully comfortable with, and I’m ready for this journey.”

Santini had one goal and 18 assists in all 41 games for BC this season. Wood was BC’s fifth-leading scorer, with 10 goals and 25 assists in 37 games. He was also one of the nation’s most undisciplined players—Wood had 23 penalties for 78 minutes, including two suspensions from the Hockey East league offices.

While the Devils struck quickly, the Minnesota Wild took a couple of days before pillaging the Eagles. Adam Gilmour and Alex Tuch, the longtime linemates and integral parts to BC’s offense in 2016, will join the team for practices throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but are not eligible to play. It had not been a surprise that Gilmour, a player who has put up steady albeit not mind-boggling numbers at BC, accepted an ELC. Tuch’s decision, however, was a huge and unexpected blow to the Eagles, as many close to the program had expected he would stay for his junior year or at least wait until the summer to make his decision. Yet the Wild had made a convincing push for the sophomore from Baldwinsville, N.Y., and must have struck all the right chords.

“He’s a big power winger with quality hands and an NHL shot,” Wild assistant GM Brent Flahr told the Star Tribune. “He had a strong finish to the season and was eager to get his pro career going. We are very excited to have him in the organization and look forward to working with him in his development process.”

https://twitter.com/adgilmour14/status/719616512491986944

Over his three-year career at BC, Gilmour compiled 28 goals and 45 assists. Tuch had 32 goals and 30 assists in a two-year career on the Heights. His overtime goal against Boston University in the Beanpot final provided the Eagles with their most exciting moment—and only tournament trophy—of the season.   

The Eagles are now awaiting the decisions of several other key players on the roster. Defenseman Ian McCoshen is expected to sign with the Florida Panthers after projecting to graduate in three years. Freshman forward Colin White, a first-round draft pick of the Ottawa Senators, was also expected to sign, yet may hold off with the decision given the Sens’ changes in the front office. The biggest watch will be starting goaltender Thatcher Demko, who has been repeatedly courted by the Vancouver Canucks. Though general manager Jim Benning joined Demko and his family in Tampa, Fla., for the Mike Richter Award ceremony, Demko has not signed an ELC and may remain at BC to become an unrestricted free agent next year.
BC is also waiting the decisions of juniors Chris Calnan and Ryan Fitzgerald, and sophomore Zach Sanford, the latter of who is the only remaining sophomore at BC. Though those three are expected to stay, the quick and massive departure of BC’s key contributors may lead to the fringe players that were previously not expected to leave to accept ELC offers as well.

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor

Eagles Embarrassed By Northeastern in Hockey East Semifinals

BOSTON — It was almost too quick.

Right off the opening draw, Boston College’s Miles Wood darted down the bench side of the ice. He received the puck on a backhand pass from his linemate Christopher Brown in the neutral zone as he made a run at Northeastern’s Ryan Ruck in goal. The freshman fired five-hole, giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead on the first shot of the game, a mere 15 seconds in. It seemed like the perfect start in the Hockey East Semifinals against Northeastern, the hottest team in the country.

That would be the last time BC held the lead the entire game. From then on, the Eagles completely broke down.

Clearing passes out of the neutral and defensive zone. Generating offensive production. And, oh yeah, the turnovers. Nothing went right for the Eagles (26-7-5) in a 5-4 defeat to a Northeastern (21-13-5) team that will continue its magical march into a trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies will play Saturday at 7 p.m. at TD Garden against UMass Lowell for a chance at their second Hockey East Championship. And the Eagles, after dominating the conference for so many years, will go without one for their fourth year in a row—the first time head coach Jerry York has had a senior class that will graduate without raising the Lamoriello Trophy.

After Wood’s goal, things quickly soured for the Eagles. All year, we had wondered when BC’s thin defense would break down. At once, it appeared each one caught the yips. In particular, Ian McCoshen—a man who will soon lace up the skates for the NHL’s Florida Panthers—was a mess in the Eagles’ own zone, perhaps playing his worst game as a collegiate player. They each routinely turned the puck over. BC struggled to get shots on net in large part because the defense couldn’t clear it to the neutral and offensive zone. That prevented goaltender Thatcher Demko—who, despite the five goals, played spectacularly—from getting much-needed breaks. The pressure just never seemed to stop.

“That was kind of our Achilles heel,” York said regarding the defense and turnovers.

The Huskies’ Zach Aston-Reese began the rout by completely undressing McCoshen. After receiving a pass at the BC blue line from Nolan Stevens, Aston-Reese two-stepped the BC defenseman to beat Demko five-hole to knot the game up late in the first.

Moments later, BC had a collective mental lapse. Dylan Sikura stole the puck away from Zach Sanford in the left corner. The forward found Mike McMurtry between the circles, who dished it over to Adam Gaudette. Somehow, no BC defenseman saw Gaudette, allowing him to tap the puck in easily with a mere .9 seconds on the clock.

BC came out of the locker room strong in the second, appearing to shake off the sleepies that probably came with the 10:33 p.m. start—UMass Lowell and Providence, the early game, went into triple overtime. Colin White beat Ruck glove side after an excellent backhanded pass from Matthew Gaudreau to tie the game at two.

But the defensive lapses just kept continuing for the Eagles. Even their best unit couldn’t stay strong. Steve Santini’s roughing penalty set up Stevens to blast one past Demko’s blocker side. It was the first goal BC allowed on the power play in its last 26 attempts and since Feb. 20.

Soon after, the Eagles crumpled again on the kill. Again on the power play—this one because of a Casey Fitzgerald holding call—the Eagles allowed freshman defenseman Eric Williams to find space at the right circle, blasting it past Demko on the glove side on the high corner.

Once is a coincidence. Twice signifies a trend, one that’s going in the opposite direction for BC.

Wood got one back on the power play. He capitalized on a slashing call on John Stevens, picking up the puck from Ryan Fitzgerald to beat Ruck under his right pad to cut the lead to 4-3.

Don’t be deceived by the goals, though. The Eagles struggled mightily on offense. They managed a mere four shots in the first period, the lowest they’ve had in a period this season, and only seven in the second. York expressed his frustrations about the lack of shots.

“That’s not enough for our team,” York said.

In the final frame, it was the turnovers that burned BC one last time. Casey Fitzgerald attempted to clear the puck toward White at the blue line. White then tried to pass it to McCoshen on the left. Yet he made an inexcusable error, dishing it right to Lincoln Griffin in the slot. And Demko, who had stood on his head with some incredible saves in the period—one in particular, he stopped with his wrist while falling backwards—was left out to dry. The Dog Pound, Northeastern’s notoriously raucous student section, was rocking, while the (very) few BC faithful who made the trip were sent running to the T hoping to catch one of the last late-night trains back to campus.

Even once Alex Tuch scorched a backhanded beauty past Ruck, it would make no difference. The Eagles failed to capitalize on a power play, and committed two penalties in the last three minutes that ensured they wouldn’t get a real chance to make a rush at the net.

After the game, York listed all of the things his team will have to work on in practice: controlling the puck in the neutral zone, generating more offense, and reworking the fundamentals. And he noted that it doesn’t get easier the rest of the way. BC will only take on good teams, ones that are better than Northeastern. Instead of reclaiming the March magic they have become so famous for, BC will instead wait around for the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday at 12 p.m. The loss blew BC’s chances at earning a No. 1 seed, and the Eagles will likely ship out to Albany, N.Y. to play in a bracket that features Providence. The ever-competitive York is determined to not allow his team’s failures in the conference tournament affect his quest for another national title.

“Our goal is to put a sixth star on that game sweater and we’ll find out Sunday where we go, and who we play, and you know, you’ve got to win four games to do that,” York said. “I’m disappointed in tonight’s effort, but we’ll key it up and start on Sunday.”

But if BC’s efforts are any similar to Friday night’s, a team that looked like the title favorite after the Beanpot may face the indignity of a one-and-done trip to the national tournament for the second year in a row.

Featured Image by Drew Hoo / Heights Editor

Austin Cangelosi Has Quietly Become Men’s Hockey’s Secret Weapon

Who do you think is the most important forward for Boston College?

Maybe Colin White, the freshman superstar bound for Ottawa, whose absence has led to three of the Eagles’ five losses. Perhaps North Reading, Mass. native Ryan Fitzgerald, who led the team in points in the regular season (40, on 20 goals and 20 assists). I’d even accept the tag team of BC’s bruising 6-foot-4 forwards—Zach Sanford and Alex Tuch—as a reasonable response.

Nope. You’re all wrong. The answer is—wait for it—Austin Cangelosi.

Yes, Cangelosi, the shortest man on the roster (at a generous 5-foot-7), one who has been nothing more than a secondary contributor in his first two seasons, and one of the only players on the team who remains undrafted. That’s the guy who, save for Thatcher Demko, the Eagles need more than anyone else.

In head coach Jerry York’s esteemed opinion, no forward has improved more over his career at BC than Cangelosi. As a freshman, in the electric offense led by Johnny Gaudreau, Kevin Hayes, and Bill Arnold, Cangelosi found a niche. He scored 10 goals and 16 assists in 40 games as the Eagles made a run at the Frozen Four. Last year, in 37 games, his production dipped to only six goals and 14 assists.

But through only 34 games this season, Cangelosi finds his name among the nation’s leading scorers. He has 31 points on 16 goals and 15 assists, tied for 52nd in the country and fourth-best among the Eagles. And his contributions go well beyond that, to the point where York has no hesitation in lauding his greatness.

“I think this year he’s become, in my opinion, an all-league type player,” York said last week at practice.

How has Cangelosi grown into such a weapon? Let’s harken back to the loudest moment at Kelley Rink this season.

Despite Winter Break’s sapping the student section from its most beloved supporters, Kelley Rink still reached high-decibel counts on Jan. 15 in BC’s 5-3 victory over hated rival Boston University. Cangelosi made sure it hit its peak.

In the middle of the second period, the junior from Estero, Fla. lined up against Terriers goaltender Sean Maguire looking to convert on the first BC penalty shot since Chris Kreider’s more than four years ago. He stared down his opponent between the pipes before coming at him with incredible force from BC’s own blue line, straight on. When he reached the top of the circles, Cangelosi came to an abrupt halt, only allowing his momentum to propel him toward the net. He expertly deked back and forth, causing Maguire to become dizzy. After 15 swift movements of his stick, Cangelosi found his perfect moment. Maguire looked too far to the right when Cangelosi put the puck on his left side, making him lean too far that way. That gave Cangelosi just enough of an opening to the right to smack the puck home past Maguire’s left pad.

Once is luck, but twice is a trend. And Cangelosi is the type of player who prefers trends.

Less than a month later, Cangelosi got another penalty shot opportunity, this time against Merrimack’s Collin Delia. Again, he went back to his move. He sprinted up from the blue line, slowed down at the circles, and began his dekes. As he did, Cangelosi analyzed his foe like an English major tries to process James Joyce. This time, he took advantage of the fact that Delia pushed his stick out in front of him too far to try and poke away Cangelosi’s attempt. That move gave Cangelosi enough time to go for the five-hole and extend BC’s lead. And, of course, his celebration was just as much of a success, as he channelled Fiddle Kid by creating a make-believe violin.

Cangelosi said it didn’t come without trial and error. He worked a lot with Demko whenever he got the chance at practice. He believes the change in speeds is important, especially when you slow down. That part, coupled with expert stickhandling, Cangelosi says, is the key to confusing the goaltender. If you can master that, it gives you time to study the goalie. And, in all likelihood, you’ll get two options. If the five-hole opens up, as it did against Merrimack, go there. If not, fake to the backhand and opt for the forehand. Reference the BU goal for that one.

Thankfully for Cangelosi, the only netminder who can stop his move won’t be much of a problem for him.

“Thatcher saves it every time,” Cangelosi admitted. “I don’t think I’ve scored against him doing that all year.”

Of course, in Hockey East play, penalty shots don’t come in handy all that often. The conference hasn’t caught up to the Big Ten or NCHC in resolving things with shootouts. Instead, we must settle for the boring tie. And trust me, I’ve been through a lot of them.

Cangelosi doesn’t just score when he’s all alone with the goaltender. As stated earlier, he has already reached a career-high in goals and points. He does it, however, with acute selectivity and accuracy. Cangelosi has taken only 68 shots, seventh-most on the Eagles. But he succeeds at an outstanding 23.5 percent rate, by far the best on the team. Teddy Doherty sits at the No. 2 slot, yet only hits the twine 17.7 percent of the time.

And when he isn’t attacking the net himself, he’s setting up others for success. How? By being the country’s best center off the draw.

Cangelosi has the highest percentage of successful faceoffs in the country among centers. He has won 453 to only 258 losses, a 63.7 percent rate. That’s 1.5 percent higher than the next closest center, Union’s Mike Vecchione—a large margin for a statistic in which players are so close together. And BC’s next best man off the draw is Fitzgerald, who wins them only 54.9 percent of the time.

He gets excellent leverage on the puck, especially on 50-50 draws. And it’s not just that he wins the puck—he places it in the ideal spot to create scoring opportunities. He consistently attempts to bring it back to the defensive zone, or, if he has his way, right to the stick of his winger, Miles Wood. Because, as he’ll tell you, good things will happen when the freshman rips a shot off.

To York, Cangelosi’s greatest asset is as a leader for Wood and fellow linemate, Adam Gilmour.

Cangelosi is notably disciplined, taking only three minor penalties this season. Wood, however, sits on the other end of the spectrum. The freshman has taken 21 penalties, tied for 15th-most in the nation, for a total of 72 minutes, tied for third-most. That doesn’t even take into account Wood’s two suspensions. But York believes that Cangelosi, by setting an example in practice and using his expert positive-influence skills, has immensely helped Wood’s growth.

“We’ve had 93 practices and if I had to go back over all of them, he’d be consistently one of the top-three hardest workers,” York said.

Obviously, Gilmour, Cangelosi’s classmate, doesn’t need those leadership skills. But York asserts that the center has given him a much-needed boost. Last season, Gilmour was one of BC’s most critical offensive players. He scored nine goals and 18 assists on 27 points while playing center in between the two freshman wings, Tuch and Sanford.

But Gilmour hasn’t capitalized on that momentum from last year. In the beginning of the season, Gilmour moved over to the wing to allow Sanford to develop at center, his natural position. Yet their chemistry lacked with the new arrangement, and the three all struggled to score. And with Jeremy Bracco’s sudden departure, York and his staff were hampered by their lack of defensive depth.

That changed when defenseman and first-semester freshman Michael Kim arrived for the Providence series. His inclusion and the quick transition to the college game by Casey Fitzgerald and Josh Couturier gave York the confidence to permanently move Doherty to left wing on Tuch and Sanford’s line. This, in turn, allowed him to drop Gilmour to the right wing alongside Cangelosi and Wood, moving their original right winger, Christopher Brown, to the fourth line with Travis Jeke and, when healthy, Chris Calnan.

York’s decision to move Gilmour may have been the spark that has made his group of forwards elite. Because of that shuffling, the Eagles—again, when healthy—have four lines that all have a perfect, humming harmony, and can put up points at will. In the 13 games since Gilmour moved to that line, the Eagles are a superb 9-1-3.

But York credits Cangelosi for easing that transition with Gilmour, who has performed much better of late, including an impressive two-game stretch against Merrimack. And, in turn, Cangelosi is grateful for the decision to put Gilmour with him and Wood.

“We love to compete,” Cangelosi said of his linemates. “We love getting after pucks, and grinding out. Oh, and scoring goals too.”

Perhaps we should’ve seen this kind of confidence coming. After all, Cangelosi is no stranger to success. He showed off in the USHL with the Youngstown Phantoms, including a goal that helped them advance in that season’s playoffs. Even back then, people urged NHL teams to gamble on the small yet effective Cangelosi. Many drew comparisons to another undersized BC forward: Johnny Gaudreau. And despite his size, that guy is doing pretty well for himself right now in the bigs. There have been rumors that NHL squads are finally starting to pick up on that idea that size doesn’t matter when it comes to Cangelosi, most notably the New York Islanders, with whom he practiced in mini camp during this past summer.

But right now, Cangelosi doesn’t worry about the next level. Like any York disciple, he has his eyes set on a title. The first step is getting back to TD Garden in the Hockey East tournament. BC hasn’t gotten past the second round since 2013—only the seniors know what it’s like to go for a conference title. Currently, that’s Cangelosi’s mission. After that, well, you can probably guess.

“I love playing, being in the moment, and chasing another championship,” he said.

Featured Image by Drew Hoo / Heights Editor

Gallery Images by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor | Alec Greaney / Heights Editor

 

 

Last-Minute Goal Spoils Weekend Sweep for BC Hockey

The Fitzgerald brothers combined for three goals and two assists for No. 3 Boston College, but a last-minute goal helped Merrimack College avoid a weekend sweep with a 5-5 tie at Lawler Arena on Saturday night.

The result is somewhat troubling for the Eagles (21-4-5, 12-1-5 Hockey East), who haven’t allowed five goals in a game since their loss to Denver in the NCAA Tournament last year.

In a back-and-forth contest that featured five ties, Casey Fitzgerald reclaimed the lead for BC when he received a pass from his brother and wristed a shot past Warrior goaltender Drew Vogler at 8:11 of the third period. But with just over a minute remaining, Merrimack (8-15-7, 2-9-7) pulled its keeper and used its extra skater to sneak the equalizer past Thatcher Demko with 55 seconds left.

Overtime couldn’t produce a winner in a five-minute stalemate. Nevertheless, the Eagles extended their unbeaten streak to 12 games dating back to 2015good for best in the country.

Austin Cangelosi opened up the scoring less than three minutes into the match, taking a feed from Miles Wood and providing a top-shelf finish to put BC on top, 1-0. The early scoring trend would continue, as the Eagles scored in the first two and a half minutes of each period on Saturday. But for every BC goal, the Warriors had an answer.

Coming into Saturday’s showdown, the Eagles had played shutout, power-play defense as of late, killing every PP opportunity over their last five games. That streak came to an end against Merrimack, though, as the Warriors scored two straight power-play goals in the second period to take a 3-2 lead against the recently crowned Beanpot champions.

Ryan Fitzgerald scored his second goal of the night, assisted by his younger brother, with five minutes left in the second frame to even the score at 3-all. But just 19 seconds later, Merrimack recaptured the lead when Mathieu Foget took advantage of a 2-on-1 chance and flicked the puck past Demko and into the back of the net for his second goal of the night.

Less than two minutes into the final period, Wood intercepted the puck in Warrior territory and fired off a shot at Volger, who deflected the puck to Adam Gilmour. The junior forward had just served 10 minutes in the penalty box for misconduct, but immediately made his presence known on the ice when he gathered the rebound and poked it past the MC netminder to tie the game once again.

Five minutes later, it was BC’s turn to take advantage of the power play.

After Craig Wyszomirski was tagged with a five-minute penalty for elbowing Matthew Gaudreau, Casey Fitzgerald used a pass from his brother and a convenient screen on the goalie to wrist in the go-ahead goal from deep midway through the third period.

With only seconds remaining, it was Jonathan Lashyn who played hero for the Warriors. Desperate for an equalizer, Merrimack sacrificed an empty net for another attacker in an attempt to blitz BC and force overtime. Lashyn exploited a crowded crease and wristed a deep shot through traffic that found the back of the net. Demko never saw it coming.

The Eagles will travel to Burlington next weekend for a series against Vermont before closing the regular season with a pair of games against UMass Lowell. Postseason play is right around the corner, and while high-scoring affairs may be exciting, BC will certainly need to reemphasize its work on the blue line if it wants to add to its trophy collection.

Jerry York Becomes First College Hockey Coach to Win 1,000 Games

AMHERST, Mass. — It came a little later in the year than many expected, but for Boston College men’s hockey head coach Jerry York, it was a moment he never saw coming.  

York has reached many coaching milestones in his career. Despite leaving more than 20 years ago, he is the all-time leading winner at Bowling Green State University. Last season, he surpassed John ‘Snooks’ Kelley as the leading winner at BC, his alma mater. On Dec. 29, 2012, York became the all-time wins leader in the history of college hockey. With a 5-2 win over the University of Alabama-Huntsville, the 925th of his career, York put the legendary Ron Mason in the rearview mirror.

In this, his 44th year at the helm of a Division I program, York has reached a milestone once thought unthinkable. Following an 8-0 win by the Eagles (16-4-3, 9-1-3 Hockey East) over the University of Massachusetts (7-13-4, 2-8-4) at the Mullins Center, York has become the first head coach in the history of college hockey to win 1,000 games. He joins nine-time Stanley Cup winner Scotty Bowman as the only hockey coaches, amateur or professional, to reach this milestone.

BC got off to a hot start, scoring five goals in the first, each one prettier than the last. Just like in last Friday’s game against BU, Ian McCoshen sparked the Eagles, this time with the first goal instead of the final one. The defenseman blasted a rocket from the blue line for his sixth of the season and third in the past week, unassisted, high over UMass goaltender Nic Reynard.

The Eagles kept the pressure on a depleted UMass defense that was missing star defenseman William Lagesson. Alex Tuch quickly followed McCoshen’s goal with a snipe off a steal from Steve Santini, rattling the twine for a top-shelf shot, his ninth of the season. Chris Calnan soon added a third goal, a quick wrister to Reynard’s left that sent the goaltender mercifully to the bench.

But his replacement, Alex Wakaluk, didn’t help the Minutemen much.

Colin White made a great move on the 5-foot-9 netminder for his 13th goal of the season. The freshman was called for a penalty not too long after, but it didn’t matter much. Miles Wood reeled in a shorthanded goal to make it 5-0. With that, UMass coach John Micheletto put Reynard back in, hoping the rest would help.

(It didn’t.)

Early in the second, Austin Cangelosi had perhaps the most impressive goal of the game. During a UMass power play, the center picked the pocket of a defender at the point. He skated all the way down the ice before dishing the puck to Wood, who waited just enough for Cangelosi to join him by Reynard’s left pad.

Captain Teddy Doherty got on the scoreboard during a power play, knocking a shot through Reynard’s five-hole. It was an incredibly patient play for the BC swingman, who has shown his excellence as both a defenseman and a forward throughout his career on the Heights. Not to be outdone, Ryan Fitzgerald regained his team lead for goals, with 14, by tipping in a long pass from first semester freshman Michael Kim to make it 8-0. The third period was quiet, only delaying an inevitable seventh shutout by BC goaltender Thatcher Demko, who is now four away from the team record for shutouts in a single season.

With the game in hand, the focus turned back to #JY1K.

Instead of the battles he has had over the year with the likes of Boston University, Notre Dame, North Dakota, and other longstanding rivals, the win was just another typical game against the Minutemen. York’s Eagles have dominated them throughout his tenure in Chestnut Hill. Since York took over, BC is 52-12-4 against the Minutemen since his first season back in 1994-95, including a 7-0 win earlier this season at Kelley Rink.

But the blowouts just seem to come in milestones for York. This one looked fairly similar to his first career victory, a 13-0 win over the University of Queens while still at Clarkson.

Naturally, the coach refused any applause for this milestone accomplishment.

“It’s not part of my fabric, it’s not part of my makeup,” York said. “You leave your ego at the door, you’re a family.”

York, who is now 1,000-595-108 in his illustrious career, gave many thanks to his former players and coaches, as well as to his current staff of Mike Ayers, Greg Brown, and Marty McInnis. He also thanked his captain, Teddy Doherty, for helping keep the focus on the team instead of on his achievements.  

That doesn’t mean Doherty let him forget it. The captain grabbed York the game puck before skating off the ice. He gave a speech to the team in the locker room, with many, including ESPN’s John Buccigross, a close friend of the head coach, and York’s wife, Bobbie, looking on with cheers. His only regret?

“Just wish we could’ve done it earlier,” Doherty said.

York isn’t one for praise, he never has been. The humble gentleman behind the BC bench just wants to get another win—and down the road, another trophy—for his beloved alma mater. He’s looking forward to the next 1,000, a feat that a close friend told him to go out and get now that the first 1,000 are over with.

He prefers not to look at the old games, only forward to the next ones, like Saturday’s slate against his old assistant, Mike Cavanaugh, and the University of Connecticut. After all, York, ever the sage, had some wise words for what happens when you keep taking a peek at what’s behind you.

“Otherwise I’d crash the car pretty quickly,” York said.

Now that focus can be taken off his personal accomplishments—at long last, for his sake—we can turn our attention solely back to the Eagles and their success on the ice. And with UMass Lowell’s 4-2 loss to Providence today, York would prefer to be reminded of only one thing.

BC is back in first place.  

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor

Terriers And Eagles Tie As York Sits On No. 999

BOSTON — Jack Parker wasn’t on the bench Saturday night, but he sure would be proud of his Terriers.

The former head coach of Boston University constantly reminded his players of one goal during his 40-year tenure: beat Boston College. Throughout his career, he did just that. The Terriers outplayed the Eagles for much of Parker’s time at BU, winning two national titles in 1978 and 1995 while then-BC head coach Len Ceglarski couldn’t muster one. With Parker’s help, the Terriers took a commanding lead in the rivalry between the two schools.

That is, until Jerry York rolled into town. Since then, he leads in three main categories.

Entering Saturday, the Eagles are 42-39-7 against their adversaries from down Commonwealth Ave. since York has taken the reins. York has also brought four championships to BC, compared to only three by Parker. But on a more personal level, York’s success has pushed him far ahead of Parker on the all-time coaching wins list. Parker sits at third with 894, while York is at 999 and actively searching for No. 1,000.

It wouldn’t happen on Saturday night. The No. 10 Terriers (11-7-4, 5-4-3 Hockey East) prevented the longtime Eagles coach from celebrating at Agganis Arena, on the ice that bears Parker’s name. Yet the No. 4 Eagles (15-4-3, 8-1-3) still earned a huge point in the conference standings, clinching a 1-1 tie thanks to Ryan Fitzgerald’s goal with 2:05 remaining in the third period.

But they were fortunate to get even that. Throughout the game, BU goaltender Sean Maguire stoned the Eagles, saving 38 shots, often sprawling out to do so. Terriers head coach David Quinn felt that this was, without question, Maguire’s best game of the season.

“From our end of it, we’ve gotten elite goaltending,” Quinn said. “It certainly bodes well moving forward.”

The Eagles and Terriers showed their hatred right from the game’s outset. On a rush to the net, forward Jordan Greenway collided with Thatcher Demko. Inspired by their goalie, the Eagles played tough in the opening 20 minutes—almost too tough. Demko was often forced to stop BU with a man down—back-to-back penalties by Matthew Gaudreau and Ian McCoshen made sure of that—but he made several great saves, including one using his right pad to stuff Ahti Oksanen on a redirection from Greenway.

On the other end, BC had trouble taking advantage of its early power plays. After Greenway was called for roughing with eight to go, the Eagles played too hesitantly with the advantage. BC’s defensemen spent too much time waiting for the forwards to get in position in front of the net for a deflection, instead of chucking the puck up at the net and hoping for some craziness. Even when they did get a good look, as Adam Gilmour often did, Maguire was there to stop it.

The Terriers broke through after clumsy play caused several breakaways on both sides. Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson started the attack by splitting Teddy Doherty and Scott Savage to put up a shot on Demko. After clanking the puck off the boards, the Terriers sent it out to Danny O’Regan, who found team captain Matt Grzelcyk for the easy goal. York placed the blame on overall sloppiness rather than his stalwart goalie, who finished with an impressive 30 saves.

“It was a very shinny game for a few minutes, but they were the ones who got the red light on,” York said.

Maguire continued to stuff the Eagles until late in the third. Zach Sanford led a rush down to the BU end of the ice, allowing Gaudreau to show his creativity. He took the feed from McCoshen before passing it to a wide open Fitzgerald in between the circles. Fitzgerald blasted it above Maguire’s shoulders to force the game into overtime, which would turn out to be an uneventful five minutes.

Despite not getting his 1,000th win, York was pleased with the fighting effort from his team, which has now earned four out of a possible six points against two conference foes (the other being Providence College). “It’s a tie, but it’s a late tie,” York said. “I think it’s good for our team that we can stay patient and hang in a game.”

On the Terriers’ end, there weren’t as many good vibes. They came away with only one point, but came a combined four minutes away from getting three. Still, there was one positive to come away with: preventing York from getting No. 1,000. Captain Matt Grzelyck was asked about if that’s something the Terriers should be happy about after the game. Though he mentioned he had all the respect in the world for what York has done at BC, he still eked out a small smile.

“We definitely didn’t want to give that to them, especially at Agganis,” Grzelyck said.

Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Editor

Men’s Hockey Drops Game To Last Place Ohio State

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

Eagles Can’t Hold Leads In Frustrating Tie With Northeastern

Whether or not you walked over to Kelley Rink on Saturday night to watch Boston College men’s hockey, you could guess what happened.

Pessimists milling around the Million Dollar Stairs may immediately think the Eagles lost, judging from the famed hockey rink’s silence during the first 40 minutes of BC’s tilt against crosstown rival, Northeastern University. More positive people who stood in the cold waiting for the Comm. Ave. bus around the time the third period rolled around may be refreshing their social media accounts, excitedly expecting @BCHockeyNews to tweet out aGIF celebrating head coach Jerry York’s path toward his 1,000th career win.

The truth is that this game ended in the dreaded place in between, the no man’s land where all those in attendance cringe to end up. It’s a place where no one walks away happy or angry, just with overwhelming disappointment, Yes, there was a tie.

After 65 minutes of hard play between the No. 2-ranked Eagles (12-1-1, 5-0-1 Hockey East) and Huskies (2-11-3, 0-7-3), neither could edge out its opponent in a 3-3 final.

The Eagles dominated throughout the first ten minutes of the first period. Miles Wood got BC on the board at 4:25, slotting the puck through the five-hole of Northeastern goaltender Ryan Ruck after receiving a deflection off his pads. BC’s forwards kept the heat on the freshman goalie, launching several great chances shortly following Wood’s seventh goal of the season.

Alex Tuch, BC’s leading scorer from last season—who has yet to get on a hot streak of his own this year—was the only one who made through on those shots. The Minnesota Wild prospect took an excellent cross-ice pass from linemate Adam Gilmour, deking a couple of times in front of Ruck before slamming the puck home at the top of the crease for his fourth of the year. Just like that, 10 minutes into the game, the Eagles had a commanding 2-0 lead.

But Northeastern answered a mere 34 seconds later. Left wing Nolan Stevens took the feed from his brother, John (who would later leave the game with an undisclosed lower body injury), driving in his sixth goal of the year to cut BC’s lead in half.

At that point, Kelley Rink halted to a still silence for about 30 minutes. BC lost its stroke on offense, allowing Northeastern to put up a lot of excellent shots on goaltender Thatcher Demko. The best came from NU right wing Zach Aston-Reese, who held the puck on his stick a bit too long. That extra second of waiting allowed Demko to come around to the other side of the net to deflect the puck with his arm, keeping BC in front.

The second period remained uneventful for the first 15 minutes, until a foolish mistake almost killed the Eagles. After getting hit from behind from a NU defender, Wood, a freshman, retaliated by cross-checking his head. Wood’s play earned him a five-minute major, plus a game misconduct which caused him to be ejected—he will, however, be available for Sunday’s game at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena. Following the game, York believed that the call was borderline, but his freshman superstar received it because his hit came as a retaliatory measure.

“He’ll learn a pretty valuable lesson,” York said with a smile.

But both Demko and the Eagles’ penalty kill stood on their heads. The defense, led by Ian McCoshen and Casey Fitzgerald, prevented Northeastern from taking any good chances throughout those five minutes.

When the clock turned to the final 20, that same unit had to face much better shots. Tuch and Scott Savage each earned tripping penalties in the first four minutes of the period, but McCoshen blocked several shots with his body. Whatever he couldn’t stop, Demko was there waiting for it.

“I thought the only reason we got one point out here tonight was because of Thatcher’s saves,” York said.

Then, at around 8:40 in the period, came the screams and shouts. Northeastern freshman Lincoln Griffin, a Walpole, Mass. native, launched the equalizer through traffic and caused Demko to slam over the net in frustration. Immediately after the goal, Josh Couturier got called for a hard board on an NU player, sending him to the box.

This led BC’s Matthew Gaudreau to explode with his own anger. Gaudreau had gotten pushed from behind shortly before Griffin’s goal, one that usually leads to a penalty. Unable to believe his teammate went to the box for a similar play, Gaudreau slammed his stick against the boards several times and lunged at the refs, earning his own 10-minute game misconduct. And the onslaught didn’t stop there, as 43 seconds later, Ryan Fitzgerald was called for a trip on Ruck, which replays showed did not actually occur.

Yet all of that energized both the crowd and the Eagles. And Colin White, BC’s leading scorer, would make NU—and the referees—pay. He brilliantly stole the puck away from the NU defender, dashing down the ice for a shorthanded goal, giving BC a 3-2 lead and sending the crowd roaring so loudly you would think that the Eagles were playing in a packed Alumni Stadium.

Unlike previous games in which they’ve overcome penalties, the Beacon Street Bullies couldn’t hold the lead. Northeastern won a late faceoff and, at 17:46, Stevens scored his second of the game, knotting the game up at 3-3. The fire from the Eagles ended after that—BC couldn’t get any shots off in the overtime period.

NU head coach Jim Madigan lauded his team for its ability to come back from early deficits to keep up with a team that is widely considered the fastest in all of college hockey.

“It’s not a win, and that’s what we’re measured by, but we’re also measured by points in this league,” Madigan said.“This was a good tie.”

But while Northeastern may come away content with this neutral and satisfactory outcome, that same unsatisfied feeling is not shared by BC after a game against an opponent that the Eagles, one of the country’s best teams, should have beaten.

“It’s just so hard to look at records to predict how a team will play,” York said, alluding to the Huskies’ streak last year in which they lost eight of their first games before finishing 16-8-3 for the remainder of the season. “They’re going to be a dangerous team down the stretch.”

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor

 

Eagles Avenge Huskies At XL Center, Notch 10th Straight Win

Less than 20 minutes into the game, Boston College essentially defeated the University of Connecticut. Quick goals from Austin Cangelosi, Colin White, Josh Couturier, and Miles Wood flattened the Huskies in the first period, resulting in a struggle to even the score for the rest of the game. The Huskies flailed as the Eagles soared, notching their 10th straight win this season and giving head coach Jerry York his best program start in a season where he is approaching 1,000 victories.

BC’s (11-1-0, 5-0-0 Hockey East) play in its November 24 matchup against UConn (3-10-0, 1-7-0 Hockey East) was radically different compared to its 1-0 loss in its first Hockey East game at the XL Center last year. This can be attributed in part to the Eagles’ elevated offensive skill, proving they have a lot to be thankful for this year, especially their freshmen forwards.

The Eagles came into the first period full of energy, taking control of the puck and sending shots toward UConn goalie Rob Nichols. The loss of Chris Calnan to injury led to freshman Christopher Brown stepping up to Calnan’s place on the offensive line with Cangelosi and Matty Gaudreau, but this did not mean the line generated fewer scoring chances. Less than three minutes into the period, a centering pass gave sophomore Cangelosi the puck, which he sent toward the Huskies’ goaltender. Nichols could not control the puck as it was sent towards him, causing the score to turn in BC’s favor.

Less than a minute later, Colin White put another point on the board for BC. Off a turnover by the Huskies, Ryan Fitzgerald brought the puck into the UConn zone. On a 3-on-1 rush, Fitzgerald passed to White, who sent the puck past Nichols from close in on the net.

Throughout the period, the Eagles took advantage of turnovers from the Huskies and generated scoring opportunities, outshooting the Huskies 10-1 seven minutes into the game. On the rebound from a blocked shot, Couturier whipped a snapshot from far out, causing Nichols to topple over in an attempt to stop the puck. Despite his efforts, the puck made it into the back of the net, giving Couturier his first career goal and bringing the score to 3-0.

At about the halfway point into the first, Wood increased BC’s lead. Immediately after a faceoff at the right dot in the UConn zone, Wood directed a wrist shot toward the Huskies’ net. The puck went past Nichols’ stick side, hitting the inside of the net just underneath the crossbar. Despite the Huskies going on the power-play twice in the second half of the period, the Eagles continued to dominate the play and prevented the Huskies from creating scoring chances.

The second period was slower paced for both BC and UConn, but the Huskies took advantage of the Eagles’ sleepiness, outshooting them 13-9. The Huskies’ attempts to score, however, did not yield any results in the second, due to BC’s solid defense and goaltender. The third period finally gave the Huskies a point on the scoreboard because of the Eagles’ sloppy stick handling. Teddy Doherty lost the puck in the BC zone, allowing Tage Thompson to rocket a shot towards Demko, and Spencer Naas delivered on the rebound. Late penalties by both BC and UConn gave way to 4-on-4 play, and an empty net gave the Huskies a one man advantage. Gaudreau, thanks to a pass from White, used the absence of Nichols to give the Eagles an empty-netter goal, bringing the final score to 5-1.

While the Eagles won against the Huskies on Tuesday, their third period disorganization is revealing. Due to the loss of Calnan, senior Peter McMullen was added to the game roster onto the line with Travis Jeke and JD Dudek. McMullen, Jeke, and Dudek, however, were rarely seen on the ice during the game. Reducing offensive play to three lines could prove difficult for BC in its game against the Rochester Institute of Technology this coming Saturday, but if its freshmen forwards continue to play the way they are, the Eagles have the ability to prolong their winning streak.

Featured Image by Lucius Xuan / Heights Staff