No matter where the Eagles go, the winning ways continue.
On Friday evening at Alfond Arena, a venue at which the national champion Boston College Eagles hockey team did not win last season, BC came away with a 4-2 victory over the hosting Maine Black Bears. With the win, the Eagles rise to 5-1 in both overall and Hockey East record, maintaining their grip on first place in the conference. Dating back to last season, Boston College has now won 24 of their last 25 games.
The first period featured plenty of action, but no scoring. Eagles goalie Parker Milner turned aside all 9 Maine shots, while Black Bears goalie Martin Ouellette stopped all 7 from BC. That deadlock was broken shortly after the start of the second period, however, as Kevin Hayes took advantage of a power play to score his fourth goal through the first six games of the season, giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead at the 54-second mark (assisted by Straight and Wey).
This middle frame would go back and forth between an Eagles lead and a tie a few times. Maine wasted little time answering Hayes’ goal, as less than a minute later (1:41), Will Merchant of the Black Bears got the puck past Parker Milner for his first goal of the season, tying the game at 1-1 (assisted by Shore and Lomberg). A long wait ensued, but the next strike came off of the stick of defenseman Isaac MacLeod. He scored his first of the season at 16:36 of the second period, putting Boston College back on top, 2-1 (assisted by Matheson and Arnold). As Maine did the first time, however, they would respond quickly again. At 17:03, just 27 seconds later, the Black Bears tied it up once more. Connor Leen did the honors for Maine, and the score was 2-2 thereafter (assisted by Swavely and Diamond).
What makes the Eagles’ hockey team so good is that they have leaders, and talent doesn’t hurt, either. Johnny Gaudreau again took the team on his back and did the damage, scoring a power play goal in the third period. This one came at the 4:52 mark and gave BC a 3-2 lead that they would not relinquish (assisted by Linell and Matheson). For a little added emphasis, following a Maine penalty for too many men on the ice, BC scored on the empty net while Maine needed the extra attacker for balance. Steven Whitney found it and iced the game for the Eagles at 4-2 with just seconds to play (assisted by Arnold).
Boston College did a good job on the power play, going 2-for-6 with the man-advantage, including Gaudreau’s game-winner. The Eagles, meanwhile, finished off all of Maine’s chances on the penalty kill, taking fewer penalties than in recent past games. Parker Milner faced 30 Black Bears shots and stopped 28 for the win, his fifth of the young season. Junior goalie Martin Ouellette saved just 19 shots en route to the loss, as Maine falls to a dismal 1-7 on the season so far.
Last year, a win in Maine would have been a very big deal. With the way they have played so far, it is perhaps less of one, but every win inches the Eagles closer to their goal. It also inches Jerry York closer to his, as the venerable head coach now stands at 918 wins, just 7 away from setting the all-time wins record.
Maine had a number of chances but Boston College held firm and picked up two more important points in Hockey East. They will look for two more on Sunday afternoon at Conte Forum as they host the UMass Minutemen.