This is why they’re the national champions.
In a thrilling game on Friday night in Amherst, MA, the #3 Boston College Eagles defeated the Massachusetts Minutemen, 5-4 in overtime. It is BC’s first win of the season, and comes just a day before they raise their championship banner at Conte Forum.
The Minutemen went without Joel Hanley just minutes into the game because of a major penalty and a game misconduct, but they still struck first. UMass notched a goal at 8:46 of the first period from Rocco Carzo (assists Busillo and Yevenko). That held up throughout the first period, and got doubled in the second as Connor Allen slipped one past Parker Milner on the power play to give UMass a 2-0 lead at 3:43 (assists Power and Sheary).
UMass was not done there, scoring later in the middle frame to give the Minutemen a comfortable 3-0 lead. It was Carzo again at 13:20 for UMass in his second goal of the game (assisted by Guzzo). They rode that 3-goal lead into the final period.
Then came the Eagles.
Just 1:11 into the final period of regulation, Bill Arnold got the Eagles on the board with his first of the year to make it a 3-1 game (assisted by Hayes). It took about seven more minutes, but at 8:26, Boston College found the back of the net again as sophomore Destry Straight scored his first goal of the season (unassisted), and all of a sudden, it was a 3-2 contest.
Boston College’s fans were surely deflated at the 9:35 mark of the third, as UMass got that goal right back. Darren Rowe notched his second goal of the season to restore the Minutemen’s two-goal lead and give them much-needed breathing room (assisted by Czepiel).
The fans might have been deflated, but the team was not.
With only minutes to go on the clock, the defending champion Eagles woke up and tied the game in a flash of lightning. At 16:44, senior captain Pat Mullane scored his first goal of the season to make it a 4-3 game, keeping his team in it late (assisted by Alber). Then, like any good captain does, Mullane took the team on his back again and, at 17:54, scored the game-tying goal (assisted by Gaudreau). BC goalie Parker Milner and his counterpart, Steve Mastalerz, would both hold on for overtime.
This final period only lasts a maximum of five minutes, but with all of their forward momentum, the Eagles did not need all five. Sophomore sensation Johnny Gaudreau picked a fine time for his first goal of the year: at 3:37 of overtime (assisted by Mullane). The game-winner was reviewed for possible high-sticking but the goal was upheld, and Boston College was rewarded with a big comeback victory on the road.
BC can be proud of themselves tonight for a great win, one that looked pretty grim with a few minutes to go. Though Johnny Gaudreau scored the winner, major credit has to go to Pat Mullane, who was in on all of BC’s last three goals, either scoring them or assisting. If I got a vote, I’d make him my #1 star of the game. Give credit also to the Eagles as a whole, who remained resilient in the face of a 3-goal deficit in the third period. A team takes on the personality of its coach, and once again, a Jerry York-coached team stays focused in the face of adversity and finds a way to win.
It was not Parker Milner’s best night, as he saved just 20 of 24 UMass shots, but Boston College’s defense tightened up as the game went on. UMass shots on-goal went down from one period to the next, until BC outshot the Minutemen 16-5 in the game-changing third period. In overtime, the Eagles had a 5-1 shot advantage. UMass goalie Steve Mastalerz was under assault by BC, particularly as the game progressed. He managed 37 saves, but it’s the five he didn’t record that did the damage.
For Boston College, the most thrilling hockey usually comes in the later part of the schedule, but this was a nice October treat for the fans. The Eagles come home on Saturday night to raise their banner with Northeastern in the house.