A Beanpot Beating and Hutsko’s Heroics
By JD Biagioni
Who: UConn Huskies
Where: XL Center, Hartford, CT
When: Friday, February 2
Result: 5-3 UConn
Julius Mattila netted two goals for the Eagles, but it wasn’t enough as they fell 5-3 to the UConn Huskies in Hartford.
Early in the first, BC had a solid minute of a 5-on-3 advantage but they weren’t able to capitalize. Kasperi Ojantakanen exited the box and was able to sneak behind the play and come away with the puck. He charged on Joe Woll and fired a shot high-and-tight on the BC goalie. The puck bounced off Woll, right to Corey Ronan for the easy finish on the shorty.
Just over 30 seconds later, in a 4-on-4 situation, UConn took a 2-0 lead. Benjamin Freeman crashed the net and created an odd-man rush for the Huskies. He dumped the puck off to Spencer Naas, who wristed one past Woll.
There was a third goal scored in this hectic minute of play, bu this time by the Eagles. Off the ensuing faceoff, Michael Karow sent the puck to Chris Grando in the neutral zone. He fed Julius Mattila, who was onsides by a hair. Mattila skated into the attacking zone and fired one on net. The puck found its way through traffic past UConn goaltender Tanner Creel.
After 3 goals in one minute, the teams went just under 20 minutes before another goal was scored. At 6:27 of the second Julius Matilla scored his second to even the score at 2. The Eagles were awarded another 5-on-3 advantage and again came up empty. Mattila, however, wouldn’t let another power play go to waste. Before the second penalty expired, Logan Hutsko, Michael Kim, and Mattila played catch with the puck before Mattila sniped the puck into the back of the net.
The Huskies regained the lead in the waning minutes of the second on a Max Letunov tip-in and stretched the lead to 2 earning in the third, with a Corey Ronan slapper that beat Woll short side.
JD Dudek cut the deficit to 1 on a glove-side rocket at 13:29. But it was ultimately too little too late for BC, as they surrendered and empty netter and fell 5-3.
Number to know: 10 – number of times an Eagle has had a two-goal game this season, counting Mattila’s two tallies tonight.
Who: Northeastern Huskies
Where: TD Garden
When: Monday, February 5
Result: 3-0 Northeastern
The Eagles faced off against another set of Huskies on Monday night, but this time the stakes were much higher. This Beanpot semifinal matchup pitted arguably the top two Boston hockey schools against one another. The Huskies, led by the best line in the NCAA (Sikura-Stevens-Gaudette), blanked BC 3-0 to advance to the finals against BU.
Dylan Sikura was the first of the trio to get on the board. While JD Dudek was in the pox for tripping, Sakura flung one on net. The puck deflected off of Casey Fitzgerald’s stick and snuck past Joe Woll.
Nolan Stevens was the next one to net a goal, at 15:21 of the second. Sikura fired one from the blue line. The puck rebounded off Woll to Stevens’ stick. Stevens easily tapped the puck in.
Adam Gaudette, a frontrunner for the Honey Baker award, put the nail in the BC coffin at 15:21 of the third. Stevens split two BC defenders with a wrist-shot. The puck hit Woll in the jersey crest. Woll couldn’t corral the puck and Gaudette punched it home.
Gaudetter, Sakura, and Stevens sit at 1, 2, and 4 in points among Hockey East players, respectively. BC’s focus should be on containing the power trio should the two teams meet again this season.
Number to know: 7 – number of points for Northeastern’s first line in the game.
Who: UMass Lowell Riverhawks
Where: Conte Forum
When: Friday, February 9
Result: 3-2 BC (OT)
In a game that seemed destined to end in a tie, Logan Hutsko proved to be the hero in one of the most thrilling finishes this season.
Fans had to wait until almost the midway point in regulation to see the first goal of the game. Nick Master received a five-minute major and game misconduct for boarding, and the Eagles’ power play went to work. JD Dudek captained the power play along the boards. He found Connor Moore at the right dot. Moore teed up a slapper that crashed into Graham McPhee’s stick. It caromed out to Aapeli Räsänen, who snuck the puck by UMass Lowell goalie Christoffer Hernberg.
While BC got on the board first, it was the Riverhawks who led after 40 minutes, thanks to two second period goals in the final minutes of the frame. At 17:04, a Ryan Dmowski snapper evened the score. Ninety seconds later, UML took the lead on a power play tally. After Moore received a hooking penalty, Charlie Levesque slipped the puck across the crease to Tommy Panico, who did not hesitate to bury the one-timer.
Just as the third was getting underway, Hutsko knotted the game at two, showing fans a little glimpse into the magic that was to come. Hutsko shook off the defense and found himself alone in prime scoring position. He smashed his stick on the ice to call for the puck. David Cotton looked up and zipped the puck to Hutsko for the snap-shot goal.
The score remained tied at 2 for the rest of the third and deep into overtime. On what figured to be the last BC rush of the game, Cotton won a puck battle in the corner. He threw the puck to Hutsko in front of the net and Hutsko went top-shelf to secure an extra point for the Eagles with 6.8 seconds remaining.
It wasn’t the prettiest week for BC hockey, as the team dropped out of the top 16 after the UConn loss. This win kept the Eagles atop the Hockey East and will hopefully serve as motivation for the final weeks of the season.
Number to know: 2 – BC’s lead in the Hockey East. They are chased by the upstart Providence Friars and the powerhouse Northeastern Huskies.