Coming off easily their worst performance of the season, the Eagles desperately needed a win on Saturday to keep pace with Boston University atop the Hockey East standings. Boston College got just that with a 2-1 victory over Northeastern at Fenway Park yesterday afternoon.
After a scoreless first period, junior center Pat Mullane put the Eagles on the board just 4:55 into the middle period on a feed from Steven Whitney. Northeastern goaltender Chris Rawlings misplayed a loose puck behind the boards, and Whitney fed Mullane for an easy one-timer.
Northeastern evened it up at 1-1 as junior center Garrett Vermeesch knocked home a rebound past BC netminder Chris Venti.
Finally, just 4:02 into the third frame, Chris Kreider scored the eventual game winner, flying into the offensive zone and putting the puck past Rawlings on the penalty kill. After a lengthy review to determine whether the net came off its moorings before the puck crossed the line, the goal stood and Kreider had tallied his second shorthanded goal of the season (and sixth for the team).
In a page out of Jerry York's motivational handbook, senior Chris Venti got his first start of the year in net for the Eagles after Brian Billett gave up three goals in the second period of Friday's 4-0 loss to UMass. Venti responded on the big stage, stopping 14 of 15 shots in only his third career start.
York's decision to go with the hot hand in net ultimately paid off in a big way.
"Chris Venti got action last night up at UMass, and I just had a thought process after the game that I had to roll the dice and come right back with Chris," York said. "And he really played well in his first start at Boston College. I think that was one of the keys to our game, solid goaltending."
The victory gave the Eagles a regular season sweep of the Huskies, the first since the 2004-05 season. All three games with Northeastern were decided by one goal -- a 4-3 overtime winner on October 22 at Matthews, a 2-1 win on November 11 at Conte and a 2-1 victory at Fenway Park yesterday.
More importantly, Boston College rejoins Boston University atop the Hockey East standings with 21 points, though the Terriers have a game-in-hand. Third place Merrimack (19 points) has two games-in-hand on the Eagles and one on the Terriers.
Overall, York was pleased with the result, especially after the performance on Friday night.
"I thought it was a good game. I enjoyed the game. I thought our team played well, coming off perhaps our worst game of the season last night up at UMass Amherst, where we did absolutely nothing offensively and we were poor defensively, to come back tonight and play a solid 2-1 game."
The Eagles (14-8-1, 10-5-1 Hockey East) are back in action on Friday night as they travel to Alfond Arena for a two game set against the Maine Black Bears (10-8-3, 7-7-2 Hockey East). Saturday afternoon's game will be televised on NESN. The Black Bears are coming off a one-point weekend against Merrimack.
Post-game press conference below: