Boston College and Colorado College played to each other’s level for a while on Friday night, then both teams snapped back to reality. After 25 minutes of BC and CC mediocrity, capped by the Tigers knotting the score 1-1 early in the second period, the Eagles rose to their skill level and CC fell on its face. BC skated its guests off the ice for the rest of its home opener and pulled away with a 6-2 win.
“You only get one of those every year,” said BC men’s hockey head coach Jerry York. “Always a good way to start [with a win].”
BC took three penalties in the first and spent a lot of the initial period in its own end at even strength, too. But BC goalie Thatcher Demko held his teammates down, and senior forward Cam Spiro got a soft one past Tigers goalie Tyler Marble’s short side to take a 1-0 lead into the intermission.
Demko got a little greedy a few minutes into the second and cost himself a shot at a shutout with a botched clearing attempt that ended up in the back of his net. Two minutes after the Tigers tied it up, BC captain Michael Matheson coordinated a beautiful defensive zone exit and got it deep into CC’s right corner. Danny Linell retrieved it, gave it back to Destry Straight, who threw it on net. Quinn Smith beat the puck to the net, intercepting it before beating Marble to the back post and giving BC the lead.
Sophomore Ryan Fitzgerald played better than most BC skaters in the first and still improved throughout the night like rest of his team. He kept the puck in the CC zone all night and had especially free reign when he made it 3-1 later in the second. The transitioned center made his way around the perimeter of the offensive zone and then cut into the slot, fired, and picked up his rebound. He enticed Marble out of his crease and finessed the puck behind him like he was Ryan Hockey or something.
“Ryan’s made a big step up from last year, in all facets,” York said of Fitzgerald. “He was a dominant player for us tonight. I like to see that from Ryan. He’s still a young kid, but he knows how to handle the puck, how to make plays.”
Generally, teams try to put a body on a player who can do that, but the Tigers didn’t. It got worse. BC freshman phenom Noah Hanifin scored his first collegiate goal to make it 4-1, and a lot of people in Conte Forum—probably excluding the pack of NHL scouts—didn’t even see history in the making. Hanifin chased down a puck in the corner and tossed it toward the net, and it ended up behind the goaltender.
CC furthered its misery by granting the Eagles a free breakaway at the end of the second. The Tigers made Adam Gilmour give the puck up in the neutral zone but declined to cover Chris Calnan. The former third-round pick swooped in at the blue line, waltzed in on Marble and backhanded the dagger top shelf with five seconds left. A nice move, but way too easy for a player like that and for a team like BC.
After that, as is wont to happen in a blowout, the less skilled team picked a fight with the team that was up big. BC obliged, and both teams were assessed two roughing minors in the third. Soon after, the game was over, making a lot more sense at the end than the beginning.
Featured Image by Graham Beck / Heights Senior Staff