The Boston College Eagles hockey team finds itself in an unfamiliar position in the final month of the regular season: outside of first place. The Merrimack Warriors defeated the Eagles, 2-1, in overtime on Friday night in North Andover, MA. The loss moved BC to 17-8-2 (12-7-1) on the season, snapping their three-game win streak, and putting them one point behind Merrimack. The Warriors are now in first place in the conference.
Only three goals were scored in the entire game, and all came in different periods. Boston College’s lone goal of the evening was the first one to get on the board: video review credited a goal to Quinn Smith at 8:58 of the period to put the Eagles on top (assists Straight, Jeke). Merrimack had many shots on goal but were quiet until fairly late in the third period, when John Heffernan tied the game with 7:03 to go in regulation (assists Bly, Bahe).
An interference penalty on Eagles captain Pat Mullane with 53 seconds remaining in overtime gave Merrimack the opportunity they were seeking. With just 31 seconds left in the game, Connor Toomey notched the game winner (assists Heywood, Collins). The call which resulted in the power play created some controversy, but one’s opinion on how “good” or “bad” it was probably depended on the team for whom they cheered.
From the perspective of Boston College, there were several things the team did wrong. For example, taking ten penalties over the course of the game is inexcusable; Merrimack had eight power plays in the game while BC had just three. Further, Johnny Gaudreau allegedly had several breakaway opportunities but did nothing with any of them en route to a rare zero-point game. Finally, the Eagles allowed far too many shots on goal, letting Merrimack take 42 cracks at Parker Milner, including the last one on that ill-timed Warriors power play at the end of the game.
This is a game that nobody could have watched on video, but from the sounds of it, this was nowhere near the sort of effort BC gave in their Beanpot victory earlier this week. Now they’ve lost first place, and they’re going to have to work hard to earn it back.
New Hampshire is BC’s next opponent at Conte Forum on Sunday.