If Boston College hockey was looking to halt their mini-slump before it started and get a hugely-important Hockey East win in the process, it’s safe to say they accomplished it on Friday night.
At a not-quite-full Conte Forum, the #2 Boston College Eagles defeated the visiting #4 New Hampshire Wildcats, 5-2. The win gives BC their first victory since Jerry York’s 925th win on December 29; BC’s venerable coach was not in attendance as he recovers from outpatient eye surgery. Nevertheless, the victory counts as York’s 926th career win and gives BC two crucial points against their main conference rival at this point. Boston College now owns a record of 13-3-2 (10-2-1, 21 points).
The early flow of the game favored nobody, but the Wildcats found good fortune first. At the 8:54 mark of the first period, Jay Camper got New Hampshire on the board with his second goal of the season (assisted by Willows). Just 22 seconds later, Patrick Wey went to the box for tripping, but the Eagles killed off UNH’s chance to put a stamp on this game early.
As it turns out, they could have used it: Boston College dominated for most of the remainder of the game from then on. At 13:29 in the opening frame, Kevin Hayes found the back of the net for the sixth time this year to tie the game, 1-1 (assists Arnold, Straight). A few minutes later, at 17:42, team captain Pat Mullane got in on the fun, hooking up with Steven Whitney and the returning Johnny Gaudreau for the go-ahead goal after some terrific puck movement.
The second period was all Boston College. Gaudreau, who just won a gold medal with the United States at the World Juniors, picked up exactly where he left off at BC by burying his 12th goal of the season at 5:01 (assists Straight, Milner). New Hampshire got another chance in this period to use their highly-rated penalty kill unit, but the Eagles did their damage on even strength. BC struck twice late in the period, getting goals from Mullane (15:43; assists Gaudreau, Whitney) and Bill Arnold (19:45; assisted by Hayes) to put the game out of reach before the second intermission.
New Hampshire got a reviewed-and-upheld Kevin Goumas goal (0:37; assists Pesce, Henrion) very early in the third to try to make a game of it, but Boston College’s defense remained far too disruptive and the hole was too deep for the Wildcats. Boston College successfully tamed the team that, coming into this contest, had the top-rated scoring offense and defense in Hockey East. In reality, even though the Eagles posted a very solid win, it was close to being much worse for UNH than it already was. There were several near-goals that could have made this game a real laugher, but as it stands, BC has once again put the rest of the conference on notice that there will be no slump here.
These two teams face off again on Saturday night in Durham, NH.