Despite trailing UMass in the third period yet again, the Eagles managed to score twice late to extend the winning streak to six games. Boston College defeated Massachusetts 3-2.
The game started off as we all might have expected with an early goal from Bill Arnold to put BC up 1-0 just 83 seconds in. The goal came on the power play as BC somehow increased its already nation-leading power play percentage on the night, going 1-2.
Unfortunately, things kind of went downhill from there. UMass's Steven Guzzo scored halfway through the first and the game stayed knotted -- both on the scoreboard and in terms of shots/time of possession/quality of play -- for quite some time.
Early in the third period, UMass took a 2-1 lead and suddenly, there we were again, in a too-tight matchup against an inferior opponent. Fortunately, superior talent won out.
Halfway through the third period, freshman Mike Matheson scored his first career goal (of many, we'd have to imagine) after getting control of the puck in the high slot and wristing one home. Then with just 3:37 left in the game, BC got the game winner from the fourth line off the stick of Patrick Brown to send everyone home happy.
The third period also featured one of the greatest things I have ever seen, ever, in the history of Earth, when Milner was caught out of his net and defenseman Isaac MacLeod knelt down in the crease and made three actual, legitimate, highlight-reel goalie saves: The first with his right leg, the second a kick save with his left leg, and the third with his left glove. The photo at the top of this article has a fantastic shot of what happened. Take a look at Milner... whoops. I'm sure they'll have to go over that one in the film room.
There seems to be a lot concern over the fact that BC has not been convincingly defeating its opponents. Allow me to try to put those concerns to rest:
1) Boston College is clearly not playing its best hockey right now. They are playing very good hockey, but not lights-out. Despite this, they are sitting at 6-1-0, at #1 in the country, with 12 valuable league points. All teams in Hockey East can match BC's loss, but BC has played more games in conference than anyone else and all other games were wins at two big points each.
2) This weekend alone, the #6 team in the country had a tie (to Colgate, of all teams), and teams ranked #2, #3, #4, #5, #7, #8, and #9 all came out of the weekend with at least a loss. All of these teams wish they could be in the enviable position of BC of having three consecutive perfect weekends. This season is shaping out to be just like last year, with a ton of teams that at any point would have an argument to be a "top 10" team, but with no one really taking the reins as the "team to beat." These early wins will play out huge later on when we do have our mid-season slump -- and we will, I promise.
3) We're not playing our best hockey, and winning hockey games. How good will everyone feel about having all these wins in the bank when we do start playing our best hockey?
BC has a hell of a weekend coming up, taking on #7 Notre Dame at home on Friday and #12 Boston University (IT HAS BEGUN!) at Agganis on Sunday. Needless to say, both of these games are absolutely enormous for Pairwise purposes and is our biggest weekend of the entire season (with the possible exception of the home and home against BU at the end of November).
Keep Calm And Jerry On, folks.