Eagles Rebound to Split Weekend Series with UMass

Friday night’s home matchup against Massachusetts proved to be a rather frustrating night for Boston College men’s hockey, as it snapped the second best winning streak across the nation at a 10-game stretch. Its typically fierce offense only mustered one goal on an astounding 41 shots in the first half of a weekend series between two potential playoff opponents.

The No. 4 Eagles (13-5-0, 7-3-0 Hockey East) had the chance to redeem themselves for the second half of the home-and-home series on Saturday night, however, and they did just that with an impressive final score of 6-3. 

The first frame of play seemed to be a repeat of the last contest, as No. 10 UMass (14-7-1, 7-4-1) wasted no time carrying over the momentum from the previous night. Mitchell Chaffee lit the first lamp after tapping in a back door pass from Jack Suter. That lone goal was only one of the 18 shots that BC goaltender Spencer Knight allowed past him during this first frame alone.

Following his return from the IIHF World Junior Championships, Knight’s stingy performance between the pipes proved crucial in BC’s victory as he held his ground waiting for BC’s fast-paced offense to get things going. He finished the night with 28 saves, good for his 12th win of the season. 

BC responded quickly through none other than captain David Cotton as he netted his 10th tally of the season with a quick shot through Minutemen goaltender Filip Lindberg. Just three minutes later, Mike Hardman extended the lead after netting a one-time finish from Alex Newhook after the two caught their opponent in transition. 

The Eagles’ first lead carried momentum into the second period as Marshall Warren tallied a goal just two minutes in. Matt Boldy sent a pass across the ice on an odd-man rush into the right circle, where Warren found the puck and fired a quick shot glove side. Before the Minutemen could develop a response, BC had put three unanswered goals past Lindberg, a netminder who posted a near perfect 41-save performance just the night before.

Four minutes later, Logan Hutsko and Julius Mattila’s nifty passing near the right post set up Ben Finklestein’s hard one-timer that rang off the left post and past Lindberg. That was enough to earn Finklestein his second three-point performance in the last three games, Hutsko a multi-point game, and Mattila a three-assist effort. 

The squads traded back-and-forth goals thereafter––Marc Del Gaizo for the Minutemen and Newhook for the Eagles––to close out the second frame. The majority of the period, however, was characterized by BC’s dominance on both ends of the ice, and their three-goal cushion remained intact. 

The Minutemen scored a much needed goal within the opening minute of the final period, but another response from Hutsko later on was enough to ice the game in favor of the Eagles, earning BC a split on the weekend series. 

The Eagles brought back their usual display of offensive firepower that seemed to vanish during their previous contest. The team moved the puck around freely throughout the entire contest, as all six of its tallies came from different goal scorers. With five players registering multi-point performances, Jerry York’s squad made the top-ranked defense in the Hockey East look mortal.

The crux of that success came on the special teams battle, as the Eagles’ near perfect performance in that category seemed to be the deciding factor in the contest. Half of the Eagles’ goals came on the man advantage, while the penalty kill units matched that with a perfect 4-for-4 performance. 

Featured Image by Leo Wang / Heights Staff