The third time was the charm for the Massachusetts Minutemen hockey team.
After two previous games this season in which UMass blew third-period leads — and they did so again tonight — they finally found a way to pull their heads from their posteriors and beat the Boston College Eagles.
UMass defeated Boston College 5-2 on Friday night at Conte Forum; BC is 2-3-2 in their last seven games dating back to the collapse at Providence which resulted in a tie. The victory by the Minutemen at Conte Forum was their first win on BC’s home ice since November 2007.
UMass started the game with a flurry of penalties, giving Boston College several key opportunities to take the early lead, but it was the Minutemen who got on the board first. A bad play by the Eagles led to a Steve Guzzo shorthanded goal at 6:35 of the period (assisted by Carzo). To add insult to injury, even though BC outshot UMass 12-4 in the period, the visitors would strike again with less than a minute to go in the first. Brendan Gracel did those honors on the power play at 19:05 and UMass took a 2-0 lead into the intermission (assisted by Rowe, Sheary).
In the second, the Eagles were badly outplayed by the Minutemen, but in another ironic twist, it was BC that netted the period’s only goal. Freshman Travis Jeke sniped his first collegiate goal at the 18:44 mark to put his team’s deficit back to one (assisted by Hayes, Straight).
Going into the third, confidence abounded because of what BC had done in the previous two meetings, and it seemed justified early on. Steven Whitney found the back of the net at 4:08, tying the game at 2-2 and giving BC a needed boost to get over the finish line (assisted by Gaudreau). That was not to be, however: Parker Milner and the Eagles would then allow three goals in the last seven minutes of the game to give UMass a deceptively comfortable win. Michael Pereira notched the game-winner at 13:03 (Gracel, Shea), KJ Tiefenwerth doubled the lead at 14:11 (Walsh, Czepiel), and Gracel scored again at 16:26 to polish off a bad night for BC (Sheary, Shea).
There is no doubt now that Boston College hockey is in its annual mid-season slump. It is impossible to tell people not to be concerned, because even though most Eagles observers know that this happens every year, someone is still going to freak out. If you aren’t freaking out, don’t. Of course, if you’re a Boston College hockey fan, you want to see them win every game, but this is the time of year where they start racking up losses and fall in the polls. None of it matters until February and the Beanpot begin, anyway.
For now, though there is not much joy to derive from watching this team play, keep perspective that better times are quite possibly ahead.
BC returns to action tomorrow night at Northeastern.