For the second straight night, the Boston College Men’s Hockey Team was pushed to the brink by Merrimack, but managed to come out on top with a win. On Sunday, the Eagles were forced to come from behind late in the third period, but their big guns came through in the clutch as the team completed their weekend sweep of their two game series.
After a back and forth first half of the period, Trevor Kuntar got the Eagles on the board first, burying a pass from behind the net from Mike McLaughlin just a few seconds after Jack McBain had been denied of an A+ scoring chance. Kuntar was called for a major penalty on Saturday night that could have changed the entire game, so it was nice to see him jump right back in with his fifth goal of the season. Merrimack tied things up with just 13 seconds left in the period, however, putting a rebound past Spencer Knight while on a five-on-three advantage after BC took a pair of penalties back to back.
BC started the second period still shorthanded, but it was Nikita Nesterenko who got on the board for the Eagles just about a minute in. Nesterenko took a drop pass from Jack St. Ivany, who drove the net to give Nesterenko the space to get off a wrist shot to beat the goalie. The 2-1 lead lasted all of a minute, as Merrimack tied the game after the remainder of their power play expired, scoring another goal from in close off of a rush. BC spent the next several minutes continuing to take and kill penalties, not falling behind but failing to get into much of a rhythm or threaten Merrimack with any offense of their own. The Eagles did get a power play chance of their own late in the period, but it went by without BC threatening much, Merrimack took one more penalty with about 20 seconds left, and the two teams went into the third period still tied at two.
BC came up empty on two power plays to start the third, including one that came after Marshall Warren took a big hit on the boards and came up injured. The officials reviewed the hit for a potential major penalty, but kept it at just two minutes and BC was unable to capitalize. Warren missed the next few shifts, but eventually returned with about 11 minutes left in the game. Merrimack took their first lead of the game a few minutes after Warren return, when a loose puck skipped past Eamon Powell in the neutral zone, leading to a breakaway chance the Spencer Knight couldn’t stop. Logan Hutsko tied things up just a minute later, when he took the puck off an offensive zone faceoff win and fired a perfect wrist shot just under the crossbar.
With 4:01 left to play, Marc McLaughlin finally cashed in on a BC power play opportunity, firing a tough angled shot into the net just before Merrimack’s penalty expired. That stood up as the game winner, as the Eagles managed to withstand a late push and Matt Boldy tacked on an empty net goal with 0.3 seconds left to ice things.
For the second straight game, Merrimack gave BC pretty much everything they could handle, and it took the Eagles finding their game late to get out with a weekend sweep. As it stands now, these two teams are slated to play each other again next weekend, but as we’ve seen, these things can change quickly. For now, BC is sitting on a three game winning streak after dropping two in a row, so it’s nice to see some winning results even when the team doesn’t have its A game.