Prowess of goaltenders
Thatcher Demko and UConn goalie Tanner Creel each faced 31 shots and let in three of them. Both played better than the .903 save percentage. BC’s sleepy defense resulted in an unusual number of high-quality looks for the Huskies. Demko was there to turn almost all of them away, as he is accustomed to do. Creel’s performance was less expected. The backup to the injured Rob Nichols, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound sophomore came up big in a huge spot.
“We buy equipment for him, he has a jersey, you gotta expect that he’s gonna play,” UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh said. “And, to his credit, [Nichols] is our No. 1 goaltender, but [Creel] works hard every day and prepares himself.”
Creel was prepared at the end of regulation, when he stoned two of the highest-octane threats BC could throw at a goalie. With the game tied at three, Creel gloved an Ian McCoshen clap bomb from the high slot before turning away Ryan Fitzgerald on a breakaway a couple of minutes later. He stopped all of BC’s other offerings in the third period and overtime and stole a point on the way back to Storrs, Conn.
“It’s always been [Nichols] that’s been the key to how well [UConn] has played defensively, but this kid’s pretty good,” BC head coach Jerry York said.
Before the season, BC captain Teddy Doherty said he was looking forward to being a full-time defenseman after jostling back and forth between forward and defense last year. In recent weeks, he got bumped up to forward, but had to jump back to the blue line on Saturday as BC’s defensive corps took another loss. Steve Santini joined Casey Fitzgerald in the injury brigade, leaving the game with a neck injury.
“We’re not sure yet,” York said of Santini’s ailment. “He kind of got a whiplash, his neck kind of went back a little bit. We’re hoping it’s a short [term] situation, but we’re not positive.”
York brought in Michael Kim midseason to help shore up the back end, thus freeing up Doherty’s move up front before Fitzgerald and Santini went down. If either injury lingers, freshman Josh Couturier, whom Kim knocked out of the lineup, may see more time than the BC brain trust anticipated (or hoped for).
Return of the transfer
Last season, former BC forward and current UConn junior Evan Richardson scored the only goal in UConn’s 1-0 win over BC. He hurt his old school again on Saturday with an assist on Patrick Kirkland’s goal, but it could have been so much sweeter. With the game tied late in the third, Miles Wood turned it over at the Huskies’ blue line, and Richardson picked it up and took off. Wood caught up in the Eagles’ zone, but Richardson put a vicious toe-drag move on the freshman and lost him. With revenge, and the game, on his stick, Richardson made his final foray toward Demko and proceeded to lose his edge and his chance at glory as he fell to the ice in remarkable fashion. The game went on, as will Richardson’s season, but he will never get that opportunity back.
Featured Image by Lucius Xuan / Heights Staff