On Friday night, the #1 Boston College Eagles men’s hockey team defeated the Vermont Catamounts, 5-1. The win was BC’s tenth in a row and gives them at least a share of the Hockey East regular season title. The Eagles can clinch it tomorrow night against these same Catamounts with a win or a tie, regardless of what Boston University does against Northeastern on Saturday. The Terriers defeated the Huskies on Friday, which blocked the Eagles from sealing the title.
Paul Carey got the scoring started for the Eagles early on one of the more improbable types of goals one will see. Vermont goalie Rob Madore thought he had Carey’s shot corralled, but it slowly kept sliding under him until it trickled into the net without his knowledge. This lucky 13th goal for Carey gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead at 4:45 of the first period (MacLeod and Mullane assisted).
About four minutes later at 8:28, freshman Danny Linell connected for the third goal of his Boston College career; BC took a 2-0 lead as a result (Smith assisted).
The Eagles, and particularly Parker Milner, had been looking good defensively for almost eight periods in holding their opponents scoreless. The Catamounts broke that streak late in the first period, however, as HT Lenz made it a 2-1 game at 17:31 of the first (White and Montagna assisted).
Boston College had their moments where they did not look their best, but they did not panic. Mid-way through the second period, not only did BC get that Vermont goal back, but they did it in style. Barry Almeida scored his twentieth goal of the year after an incredible spin move, during which he poked the puck into the net. This power play score gave the Eagles a 3-1 advantage at 11:31 (Arnold and Hayes assisted).
The Eagles did not score again until the third, but when they did, Almeida came through once more. The senior blasted a shot past Madore at 8:40 for his twenty-first goal of the year, pushing the Eagles ahead 4-1 (Alber and MacLeod assisted; MacLeod’s first multi-point game).
BC would have been perfectly content to sit on that lead, but Steven Whitney took advantage of an empty Vermont net at 18:49 of the final period for his 12th goal of the season (Arnold assisted). Boston College took that 5-1 lead to the closing horn.
In a matchup between the best team in the conference and the worst, one would expect a sold, relatively-effortless win for the Eagles. That is precisely what this game was, though that is not to say Vermont didn’t play adequately at times. Yet, just as they were in the first game these two teams played, the Catamounts were outclassed.
Special kudos must go to Barry Almeida, who had another great game and is having a tremendous season. He was the much-deserved #1 star of the contest after a two-goal performance — the first of which may end up on a highlight reel tonight.
Goalie Parker Milner didn’t pitch a shutout this time, but he did stop 29 of Vermont’s 30 shots en route to his 20th victory of the season.
Boston College and its fans will begin to find out if it will be trophy time at Conte Forum at 7pm Saturday night; this contest will also be televised on CBS Sports Network (the channel on which BC finally won).