Despite being dramatically outshot by Merrimack 31-16 through the first two period, BC turned it around and earned a crucial 2-1 overtime victory over the Warriors at Lawler Arena.
BC started the scoring early, just 6:32 into the game. Bill Arnold took a big hit to deliver a drop pass to Steven Whitney who used his trademark lethal wrist shot to rifle home a goal right into the top corner of Marotta's glove side.
Unfortunately BC would once again get into penalty trouble. Merrimack's Shawn Bates scored on a scrum around Milner in a crazy turn of events:
Gaudreau went in on a 1 on 1 and the Mack defender tried to jack him up. Gaudreau kept his balance and almost was able to put in the puck...— BC Interruption (@bcinterruption) February 24, 2013
...but the MC goalie appeared to poke it away (or something). MC came in on a 3 on 2 which was stopped but then scored on the ensuing scrum— BC Interruption (@bcinterruption) February 24, 2013
Merrimack outshot BC 20-7 in the first period, though it was probably more even than it seemed. BC had at least a few instances of decent possession in the period.
The second period was really a different story. No penalties and no goals were scored in the period but it felt like BC couldn't get anything going at all. Merrimack had much more possession. Maybe it was just a result of the millions whistles but it felt like an awful period for BC.
That changed in the third period as the Eagles were finally able to work the offensive zone and create some pressure. But of course, BC got in more penalty trouble and had to kill over a minute of a Merrimack 5 on 3. Fortunately, BC was successful, and jumped right back on the Warriors after the kill.
But nonetheless, the game would head to overtime.
Fortunately for the Eagles, BC was able to find the back of the net. In a goal that was eerily similar to Joe Whitney's regional-winning goal in 2008, Patrick Brown threw a puck low on Marotta hoping to draw a rebound, which Quinn Smith was able to put home for the huge, huge league Quinn. I mean league win. #SorryNotSorry
All I do is Quinn Quinn Quinn no matter what. #BCHockey— Adam M (@adamar108) February 24, 2013
Johnny Gaudreau was unfortunately kept off the scoresheet once again, but it wasn't for lack of chances -- in what has become a theme lately, Gaudreau created probably half our chances but none lead to a BC score.
In particular, Gaudreau needs to shoot the effing puck. At least three times, Johnny Hockey tried to make the unselfish play and dish the puck when he could have taken a Grade-A chance himself. I'd have to imagine he's probably getting a bit frustrated at this point.
Fortunately, BC was able to pull out the win without him tickling the twine. And the implications of this win were pretty far-reaching:
- The win put BC atop the Hockey East standings, tied with UNH and Providence but with a game in hand.
- Merrimack fell from being in first place in Hockey East to fourth (though also with a game in hand on UNH and PC).
- BC moved back up into a #1 seed, 4th overall, in the Pairwise Rankings. The win was absolutely critical -- a loss would have dropped BC down to 8th, mired among several teams very, very close to each other in RPI. If the season were to end today, BC would be the #1 seed in Manchester, NH.
- Merrimack fell from the Pairwise bubble town to Terrierville, 24th -- just two spots behind the puntable pups down the street (who had a horrific weekend, getting swept by Lowell).
BC only has two nights to celebrate before another big league matchup against Lowell, 5th in Hockey East and 11th in the Pairwise. The Riverhawks roll into town Tuesday night in the blizzard makeup game before a home-and-home with Providence next weekend.