Red-Hot Eagles Soar Back into National Polls
By: JD Biagioni
After an early season slate which featured 6 of their first 7 games against teams in the current 10 top of the USCHO polls, the Eagles savored the opportunity to take out their frustration on some unranked Hockey East foes. To begin November, they racked up a 5-0-0 record against Merrimack, UCONN, and Vermont. Thanksgiving season brings a return to action against ranked opponents, with the Eagles traveling #11 UNH and #12 Northeastern and returning home to face #20 Harvard (all rankings are from the date BC faced the respective team).
Who: New Hampshire
Where: Whittemore Center, Durham, NH
When: Friday, November 17
Result: BC wins 3-2
In one of the most action-packed games of the season, the Eagles prevailed 3-2 in Durham, New Hampshire. Characteristically, the Eagles surrendered the first goal of the game. BC stopped a New Hampshire entrance, but Connor Moore couldn’t corral the bouncing puck and turned it over to Ara Nazarian. Jesper Mattila tried for another clear, but the puck landed on Chris Miller’s stick and Miller promptly beat Joe Woll.
BC evened the score early in the second with David Cotton’s first goal of the season. Julius Mattila entered the zone and dropped the puck to off to Jacob Tortora. Tortora cycled around the net and threw the puck in front. The puck bounced around and Cotton slashed at the puck until it found its way into the back of the net.
UNH was back on top a few minutes later. The Wildcats found themselves in a two-on-one opportunity. Eric MacAdams faked a pass to his line-mate, toe-dragged around a diving Connor Moore, and finished past Joe Woll.
The Eagles knotted the score at 2 on the power play. J.D. Dudek possessed the puck by the left point. He shoveled it along to Casey Fitzgerald who cycled the puck to Michael Kim. Kim ripped a rocket over Daniel Tirone’s left shoulder.
The teams went to the locker room with the game tied at 2. Just under halfway through the third, Michael Kim scored the game-winner, his second goal of the evening. Christopher Grando won a face-off at the right point to Logan Hutsko. Hutsko one-timed a shot, which deflected off Tirone to the left point. Kim was waiting there to net the game-winning goal before Tirone could cross the crease.
The Eagles killed off a 5-on-3 in the final few minutes of the game. With around 5 minutes remaining, Joe Woll made a strong bid for save of the year. A UNH player dumped the puck in and Woll circled behind the net to retrieve it. Unfortunately, the puck caromed out in front of the net. Woll dove around in front of the net and gloved a UNH shot before paddling the puck away so that Eagles fans could breath easy.
Number to know: 10-BC is now unbeaten in its last 10 games versus the Wildcats
Where: Matthews Arena, Boston, MA
When: Saturday, November 18
Result: BC wins 4-1
BC visited the oldest hockey rink in America for a weekend showdown with the Northeastern Huskies.
The Eagles jumped on the board first just before the end of the first. Jesper Mattila got credit for a goal when he bounced the puck off of an NEU defender and past goalie Cayden Primeau.
Not much action occurred in the second. The Huskies outshot the Eagles 13-3, but both goalies turned away all scoring chances.
BC lit up Northeastern in the third, netting three goals in the first 12 minutes of the final frame. Graham McPhee scored off of nice puck movement on the power play at 9:16 of the period. Thirty-five seconds later Ron Greco backhanded the puck off Primeau and into the net to give BC a 3-0 advantage. Two minutes after the third goal, Julius Mattila flung one on net. The puck deflected off a Northeastern defender and past Primeau.
The Huskies got on the board with a few minutes remaining, but BC had too big of a lead and won 4-1 for their 7th straight victory.
Number to know: 4-the Eagles have won four straight true road games for the first time since the 2009-2010 season.
Where: Conte Forum
When: Friday, November 24
Result: 4-4 tie
BC’s winning streak came to an end at 7 in this post-Thanksgiving matinee at Conte against the Harvard Crimson. The streak did, however, convert into a new one: an eight-game unbeaten streak. This matchup of two of the top goalies in the nation surprisingly unfolded as a high-scoring affair.
The Eagles were on the board first. Jacob Tortora entered in the left half of the Harvard zone. He sped past the Crimson defenders and flipped one past Merrick Madsen’s glove shoulder.
Harvard evened the score at one, with an Adam Baughman slapper past a screened Joe Woll. The Crimson then took a 2-1 advantage despite Joe Woll’s best efforts. Ryan Donato bodied his defender and crossed Woll’s crease, but Woll stoned him. Michael Floodstrand came away with the puck and circled the net. He tried to pot a backhander, but Woll dove back across the crease to deny him. The puck bounced back out to Floodstrand and he beat a sprawling Woll.
Nine seconds later, off the opening draw, BC pulled even. Julius Mattila battled for the face-off. The puck bounced around to some Crimson defenders before finding David Cotton’s stick at the blue line. Cotton fed a streaking Mattila who wrong-footed Madsen.
The Eagles took a 3-2 lead on a beautiful give-and-go courtesy of Julius Mattila and David Cotton. Cotton passed to Mattila as the Eagles entered the zone. Cotton then split the Crimson defenders and Mattila threw the puck in front of the net, where Cotton tipped it in before Madsen could get a glove on it.
Another tie. The Crimson made the score 3-3 early in the third. Harvard somehow found itself with a 4-on-2 advantage as they entered the zone. The two BC defenders played the puck and didn’t notice Benjamin Solin on the opposite end of the attacking zone. The Crimson cycled the puck to him and he put the puck in the net.
With five minutes left, BC put what appeared to be the finishing touch on a victory, when Tortora and Jul. Mattila combined to give the Eagles a 4-3 lead. Tortora fed Mattila who found the open part of the net as Madsen crossed the crease. Jack Badini wouldn’t let Harvard leave Conte without salvaging a point, however. He beat three BC defenders and Joe Woll to even the score once again. He put the puck over Woll’s shoulder with two minutes remaining. No more goals were scored and the game ended in a tie.
Number to know: 39-the number of goals BC has scored this season. Also the number of goals the Eagles have allowed.