Let's just make this clear right out of the gate: Boston College absolutely dominated Harvard tonight. But if you look at the box score, aside from the 5-1 final, there are some things that will really make you scratch your head.
17-09-08--34 for BC.
03-15-17--35 for Harvard.
Those were the shot totals. But if there were ever a game where shots didn't tell the whole story, it was today.
The first period, however, went absolutely according to plan, with BC taking Harvard to the woodshed and just piling on the shots. And it didn't take long for one of them to find its way home.
Goal #1 -- 4:49 of the 1st period: Austin Cangelosi (John Gaudreau, Bill Arnold)
BC 1, HU 0
It's not too often that the secondary assist really makes a play, but that was the case here. Bill Arnold fights his way through a couple of Harvard defenders to get below the goal line before feeding Johnny Gaudreau, and Gaudreau knows what to do with it. He finds Cangelosi in the slot for the high-percentage shot and Cangelosi does not miss.
That would be the only scoring of the first period, and it would be the only period that the shots would tell an accurate story.
Period two was more BC, though Harvard did show a little bit more fight. A 15-9 second period shot advantage, however, was a complete mirage -- Harvard never really threatened. And in fact I'm not entirely sure where all of those shots came from. If memory serves they had a few multi-shot bursts here and there that really inflated the totals. Billett did a good job keeping the shutout (at least at the time) intact.
BC kept on keeping on, though.
Goal #2 (GWG) -- 8:34 of the 2nd period: Destry Straight (Kevin Hayes, Danny Linell)
BC 2, HU 0
Hoooo boy this is a thing of beauty. I'm just going to let the GIF do the talking on this one.
As an aside, Destry Straight really seems to be having a coming-out party this year.
Goal #3 -- 14:10 of the 2nd period: Johnny Gaudreau (Bill Arnold, Austin Cangelosi)
BC 3, HU 0
Stop me if you've heard this one before. Gaudreau breaks up ice, burns two Harvard defensemen, and then uses voodoo magic to open up a gaping hole to the side of the goaltender to slide the puck home.
We touched on it in a Banter earlier this year but Gaudreau seems to be converting on a ton of his breakaway opportunities right now. Hopefully he keeps it up because he is putting up some gaudy freaking numbers at the moment.
3-0 was the score after 2, and it was all BC. Then the third period happened and things started to get a little interesting. First, the goals.
Goal #4 -- 2:21 of the 3rd period: Johnny Gaudreau (Teddy Doherty, Ryan Fitzgerald)
BC 4, HU 0
More Gaudreau, but this is more just him being in the right place at the right time. The funniest thing to me, which I didn't notice until making the GIF, is that he's being shadowed by three Harvard players on this goal, and he still manages to get a clean shot off on the rebound.
I mean at that point you just kind of give up on trying to contain the kid if you're Harvard.
Goal #5 -- 4:22 of the 3rd period: Ryan Fitzgerald (Kevin Hayes, Teddy Doherty)
BC 5, HU 0
Ryan Fitzgerald is a freshman, but man, he is a hell of a hockey player. His play just feels so polished.
This play is all about him. He delays a bit to get the puck to Hayes and immediately cuts back and goes to the net. Harvard just completely forgets he exists and suddenly there he is in the slot for the return feed from Hayes. Fitzgerald would have had to try to not hit the back of the net on this shot.
That was all for BC's scoring, but then things got really interesting. The 17-8 shot advantage Harvard had in the third period was less a mirage and more a result of the chippiness at the end of the period.
There was plenty of pushing and shoving after the whistle for much of the game, and particularly in the third, but it really got heated after Harvard's Kevin Guiltinan gave Gaudreau a pretty bad hit in the corner.
Bill Arnold was having absolutely none of that nonsense. He came right over and gave Guiltinan a pop right up under the facemask, and both players looked like they were about to drop the gloves. Guiltinan might actually have dropped the gloves (you can't really see in the online feed all that well because the fans were standing) but the end result was that Guiltinan and Arnold were shown the door by the refs and were removed of the game.
The score of the game really dictated what happened here, but it's worth saying that in this game, in this situation, it was perfect timing for Arnold to go ripshit on a player who just took a perceived cheap shot on his line mate.
BC was up 5-0 and on a power play at the time, and Guiltinan was already being assessed a penalty for the hit on Gaudreau which would have made it a 5 on 3 for BC. But with 6 minutes to go and the game a foregone conclusion, who cares?
This is the kind of thing BC fans felt was lacking last season. Where was the physicality? The "gravel in the gut and the spit in the eye" of the Eagles? Santini is bringing it as a freshman, and Arnold has started to look a little bit like Brian Gibbons out there. It's fantastic.
Now, the end result was that Arnold's cross-check to Guiltinan negated the potential 5 on 3 for BC and Harvard started using Brian Billett for target practice after the fact. Those last 6 minutes were where a ton of the 3rd period Harvard shots came from, and they did put in a goal in garbage time to make it a 5-1 final.
But I don't care. Sure, I would have liked to see BC's bench get fired up and finish strong after Arnold's defense of Gaudreau, but I was just thrilled with the fact that it happened. Being up big and late, BC could afford the loss of a 5 on 3 and could weather the storm of a possible Harvard onslaught after the fact. It was well-timed and I'm proud of Bill Arnold's pissed off response.
So now we move on. BC will take on Maine up in Orono on Saturday evening at 7:30. Gaudreau is now all alone at the top of the scoring table averaging a goal per game and almost 2 PPG with 23 points in 12 games. He'll hope to continue his torrid pace to wrap up the weekend.