If it is not yet time to be concerned about the long-term fate of the Eagles this season, it will be coming soon.
In Orono, Maine on Saturday afternoon, the Maine Black Bears defeated the #4 Boston College Eagles men’s hockey team, 7-4. For Maine, it is a two-game sweep of the weekend series, and BC has fallen to 14-10-1. The Eagles are now tied for second place with Merrimack and are four points behind Boston University for first in Hockey East.
The latest defeat for Boston College, who are now 2-5-1 in their last eight games, started with the Eagles getting off to a fast start. Barry Almeida got Boston College on the scoreboard first just 2:21 into the game (Hayes and MacLeod assisted); you will hear that name again. About two minutes further into the game, freshman John Gaudreau doubled the BC lead, putting the Eagles ahead 2-0 (Cross and Alber assisted).
In the mid to late parts of the first, Isaac MacLeod went to the penalty box for holding, and Maine cashed in, scoring on a Joey Diamond power play goal to halve the BC lead at 13:14, just 13 seconds into the man-advantage (O’Neill and Abbott assisted). About a minute after the goal, Edwin Shea was called for interference, and again, Maine did not waste the opportunity. The Black Bears tied the game at 2-2 thanks to a Brian Flynn goal at 15:45 (Abbott assisted).
As the game proceeded into the second period, again there was a BC penalty — this time on Destry Straight for hooking — and Maine made the Eagles pay for a third-straight time. Matt Mangene scored his first goal of the game at 9:19, giving Maine a 3-2 lead (Abbott and O’Neill assisted).
One of the true blows the Eagles took in this game occurred in the middle to later part of the second. Maine’s Mike Cornell delivered a hit from behind, receiving a five-minute major and a game misconduct, but it was BC who at first paid the price. Just 11 seconds into the extended power play, Matt Mangene scored his second goal of the game, giving Maine a shorthanded goal and a 4-2 lead (Higgins assisted). Boston College did eventually get something from it, however, as Barry Almeida converted on the power play for his second goal of the game, and the Eagles’ deficit was cut to one (Whitney and Cross assisted).
Boston College made one last run at this game in the third, turning the tables on the Black Bears with a shorthanded score of their own. Patrick Wey was sent to the box almost half-way through the period for slashing, but Barry Almeida notched a hat trick with his third goal at 8:36, tying the game at 4-4.
For much of the rest of the period, it looked as though the Eagles might hold, but as fate would have it, they did not. Maine took a 5-4 lead as Connor Leen scored the game-winner with 2:59 remaining (Swavely assisted). Within the next two and a half minutes, Maine added two empty-net goals for their 7-4 victory: Joey Diamond’s (Flynn and Hegarty assisted) and Matt Mangene’s hat trick score (Hegarty assisted).
Sadly, Barry Almeida’s hat trick went by the boards for the Eagles, as Maine had a hat-tricker of their own, and they got the victory. Freshman goalie Brian Billett, who had recently been shelved in favor of Chris Venti, got the start, but he has fallen off. Billett allowed five goals and saved 28 shots in the loss, falling to 3-4-1 in his eight starts. Maine goalie Dan Sullivan allowed four goals and saved 31 shots.
Boston College’s penalty kill was terrible, stopping Maine on just two of their five power play opportunities. The Eagles converted on one of three power plays, also scoring and allowing a shorthanded goal.
There is little doubt now that this hockey team is in a bad stretch. STG will spend the next few days analyzing the recent decline and the main reasons for it.