A questionable start gave way to solid Eagles hockey as Boston College downed the University of Vermont.
A few minutes into this game Boston College fans were feeling all kinds of nervous.
Just 4:14 seconds into the game, the Catamounts got a greasy goal that just slipped through the defense and Milner to go up 1-0. Vermont was outshooting BC 9-1 at that point and after not being able to buy a goal the last few weeks, the game already felt out of reach.
A penalty on Travis Jeke didn't help our spirits much. Who knew that the penalty on Jeke would potentially become the turning point of the season?
BC put together a superb penalty kill featuring an incredible individual effort by Patrick Brown. Brown, stickless after getting disarmed by a Catamount player, did a baseball slide to the left to block a shot, another baseball slide to the right to block another shot, and then went bowling in the corner taking out two Vermont players and a ref allowing the puck to be cleared from the zone.
The effort brought Conte Forum to its feet, giving a standing ovation and putting new life into both the crowd and the Eagles.
It was a total and complete momentum shifter -- not just for the game, but who knows, maybe even for the entire season. Slowly, BC started to find its legs and #InYorkWeTrust's new lines started to get used to each other. The Eagles went into the locker room down 1-0 but feeling good.
The second period brought a similar effort but finally the results came. Pat Mullane scored halfway through the frame and was absolutely amped upon scoring the goal, giving multiple emphatic fist pumps and screaming encouragement to his linemates. It was a Captain's Reaction. Mullane knew how big of a goal it was and wanted to make damn sure the rest of the squad knew it too.
Just 47 seconds later (!) the Eagles miraculously completed the fierce comeback to take the lead with the kind of goal we wouldn't have been able to buy the last few weeks. Quinn Smith took a big hit from outside the right faceoff circle to get the puck in on Vermont goaltender Brody Hoffman. Hoffman misplayed the puck and it trickled about a foot outside the goal line. Two Vermont skaters came in and practically bowled over the goalie in an effort to keep the puck out of the net but managed to boot it right in. It all happened so fast that Smith was still flat out his back when he celebrated the goal.
Third period goals by The Usual Suspects put the game away. First up was Steve Whitney who scored a Sportscenter-Top-10-worthy goal from his knees in the high slot:
Later, Mr. #JohnnyHockey himself, John Gaudreau, put home a fierce roofshot while coming in on a 3 on 2 that just might break him out of his mini-slump.
And what a slump it's been. If you want to see an example of 'snakebitten' in hockey, just look to #GaudreaubeyBaker's last few weeks. Gaudreau's usual playmaking ability has been there in force, but he just hasn't been able to find the back of the net. This game started off feeling like more of the same, as he was stuffed by the goalie or missed the net on not one, not two, but three clean breakaway opportunities. His frustration really was starting to show. In the end, Gaudreau had a goal, an assist, a +2 rating, and a game high (for either team) 7 shots on goal.
The scoring ended there with Boston College taking back to their dorms a very well-deserved 4-1 win over the Catamounts. The performance from Gaudreau and the team itself just might have been exactly what was needed to break completely out of the slump. But only time will tell.
Now, all eyes turn to the Beanpot and Monday's matchup against Harvard. The Crimson have been more than struggling of late, and last night were beaten pretty soundly by a pretty mediocre RPI team, in which Harvard managed just 11 shots. Yikes.
BC takes on Harvard at the TD Garden Monday at 8pm.