If Friday night's tight win over the lowly Terriers made BC fans squirm, Saturday's game against Maine was just what the doctor ordered. Another monster game from the top line and extremely strong play with the man advantage lead the Eagles to a dominating 7-2 win over the Black Bears.
It was the usual suspects last night. And it didn't take very long to get things rolling.
Just a minute in and Johnny Gaudreau already has his point streak extended to 18 games. He didn't have to do much, but just the fact that he's Johnny Gaudreau may have factored into this goal.
Scott Savage finishes up a nice beakout by moving the puck forward to Gaudreau, and Maine's #10 Ben "Hobey" Hutton pretty much panics and sells out to go after Gaudreau. It was just a split second, but it was enough time for Gaudreau to dish to Hayes who suddenly has a ton of room to take the shot. Then it's just a matter of cleaning up the rebound, and it's 1-0 Birds.
The first period ended 1-0, except a scrum in Thatcher Demko's crease that wasn't blown dead after about 5 seconds of chaos saw the puck slip over the goal line just as time expired for Maine to tie the score at 1. It was so late that the Black Bears had already gone to the locker room and needed to send out 5 guys and a goalie to take a faceoff with less than a second remaining.
It wasn't BC's best period, so they probably didn't deserve the lead to begin with... but that was close as Maine would get to keeping this game competitive.
Early in the 2nd period, all hell broke loose.
Goal #2 -- 4:18 of the 2nd period: Bill Arnold (Scott Savage, Kevin Hayes)
BC 2, Maine 1
Look at Scotty Savage getting his second point of the night! Talk about activating your defense.
Nice work by Kevin Hayes to find him streaking in from the point to get behind Maine's D. Ben Hutton again gets drawn away from the eventual goal scorer which leaves Bill Arnold all alone in front. Martin Ouellette must have invited him to a barbecue because Arnold is all up in his grill.
A quick Maine penalty less than a minute later and BC is on the power play. Before the rink announcer can even announce it, BC capitalizes.
Goal #3 (PPG, GWG) -- 5:04 of the 2nd period: Patrick Brown (Johnny Gaudreau, Kevin Hayes)
BC 3, Maine 1
Well if it worked once, why not try it again? Same play as a minute earlier with Kevin Hayes finding a fellow Eagle down low (this time it's Johnny Hockey) and we've got another Eagle sitting at the top of the crease waiting for an easy tap-in.
Surely that's all the scoring for now, right?
Au contraire, mon frère.
Three goals in 1:38... That escalated quickly. I mean that really got out of hand fast.
McCoshen with the emphatic slam! I'm pretty sure Omelette just got dunked on. And that would be the last we would see of him as he got pulled for senior Dan Sullivan (he of Ice Princess Helmet fame) who had only seen action in one other game this year.
Maine's fortunes did not improve much with him in net. Even though Maine would get one back at the end of the second period, the third period was once again All BC, All The Time.
Goal #5 -- 1:16 of the 3rd period: Patrick Brown (Johnny Gaudreau, Bill Arnold)
BC 5, Maine 2
Oh hey another power play goal. And another assist for Gaudreau, who seemed to be just about everywhere last night.
It's kind of tough to tell in the video/GIF, but it seems like Gaudreau takes Arnold's long range pass here and intentionally one-times it off of Pat Brown. Whether Brown gets it off his stick or if it just deflects off him and in, the end result is that any hopes Maine had of a comeback were dashed with this dagger just a minute into the third period. That's how you do it.
That's not to say Maine wouldn't have a chance or two. In fact, after Maine's Eric Schurhamer took a hilarious unsportsmanlike conduct penalty where he threw a BC player's stick with his own (and right in front of the referee), BC needed freshman goaltender Thatcher Demko to save their bacon on this EPIC FAIL of a shorthanded 2 on 0...
First of all, holy defensive failure, Matheson. You're lucky Demko had your back.
Second... what a freaking save. And if that wasn't enough to completely demoralize the Black Bears, Demko got in on the offensive action later on to really put the game away.
Goal #6 -- 15:30 of the 3rd period: Kevin Hayes (Johnny Gaudreau, Thatcher Demko [!!])
BC 6, Maine 2
I think my favorite part about this goal (and really the first goal as well) is that a lot of us have been screaming at Kevin Hayes to be more selfish with the puck and take some more shots. It'd been a habit of his to make an unnecessary pass while already in a quality scoring area. For a guy with an NHL quality shot, giving up the puck is probably going to hurt our chances to score.
Maine's Jon Swavely pretty much hands him the opportunity to shoot, opting to focus on Bill Arnold, and just like on his first goal, Hayes takes the shot and it pays off.
Hopefully we'll see this more often out of him, because he finds himself in prime scoring locations pretty often.
Goal #7 (Hat Trick)-- 17:47 of the 3rd period: Kevin Hayes (Bill Arnold, Johnny Gaudreau)
BC 7, Maine 2 -- FINAL
See! I'm not making this stuff up, folks!
Hayes brings the puck in, again, and takes the shot, again, and scores, again. It's a hat trick goal for Kevin Hayes, and it is no coincidence that it comes on a night where he started taking some more shots.
And what a move this one was. He had so much wiggle-waggle going to the net that I'm surprised Sullivan didn't get motion sickness. He bit on the last waggle, though, and Hayes artfully wrapped the puck right around him and into the far corner to twist the knife and, mercifully, finish up the scoring in this game for BC.
With this offensive explosion, there are now three Eagles in the top 4 nationally in scoring.
Think about that for a second.
Johnny Gaudreau and Kevin Hayes each put together a 5 point night, with Bill Arnold adding a 'pedestrian' 3 points of his own. Gaudreau is starting to run away from the rest of the pack in the Hobey race, and the only one keeping up with him is is own linemate, Hayes, who is now all alone in second place in scoring. Arnold is all the way up to 4th, behind only Greg Carey of St. Lawrence.
In the goaltending race, with Brian Billet's less-than-perfect showing against BU, Thatcher Demko had an opportunity to put himself at the front of the tandem. I thought he had a pretty poor start to the game, giving up all kinds of rebounds (and on top of that he looked almost panicked on his first save) but he definitely improved as the game went on. His 2 on 0 save speaks for itself.
It might be a case of the lack of playing time catching up to him, and with more time you might see him start to separate himself. The next few games will be interesting to see what Jerry York does with the rotation, as we have Merrimack on Tuesday (yep, Tuesday) and then Penn State next weekend. My guess is you'll see the straight rotation continue for now with Billet on Tuesday and Demko Saturday.
And last, but certainly not least, the power play. Since changing up the power play after an 0 for 9 showing at Frozen Fenway, BC has converted nearly 50% of their opportunities -- 8 of their last 18. After leading all of college hockey in scoring by a ton with one of nation's worst power plays, a newly-lethal man advantage is going to make our offense even more unfair.
Highlights are below (sorry about the long blank section before the last goal). BC now has a short break before playing Merrimack at Lawler on Tuesday at 7pm. As always, we'll see you right back here for the game.