The Boston College men’s hockey team dropped their first game back from a long break on Friday night, losing 4-3 to New Hampshire in overtime. The Eagles were without Logan Hutsko for this game, but did get back Matt Boldy, Alex Newhook, and Drew Helleson from their World Juniors teams after their tournament ended earlier in the week. Spencer Knight also returned from his time with Team USA, but he did not play on Friday night.
BC was forced to kill off two early power plays early on before coming up empty on one of their own. Shortly after BC’s power play ended, UNH got on the board, scoring on a wrist shot that snuck past Wilder. It was probably a shot that Wilder would have wanted another chance at, but he made up for it with a few nice saves a few minutes later to keep the score at 1-0. The Eagles tied things up when Colby Ambrosio finished off a pretty passing play on the power play, but UNH jumped back ahead just nine seconds later with a breakaway goal off of a busted coverage in the neutral zone. That was all the scoring for the first, as BC had another chance on a later rush and UNH continued testing Wilder, but neither team found the back of the net. It was a sloppy period for BC at times, and they were a bit fortunate only to be down 2-1 after the first.
It was a quieter second period for almost the entire 20 minutes, with both teams picking up a few chances but not scoring. That changed with just about two minutes left, when Nikita Nesterenko took a brilliant cross ice pass from Drew Helleson and ripped a shot past UNH goalie Mike Robinson to tie the game. Nesterenko’s fourth goal of the season came at the end of a cleaner looking period for BC, and it sent the two sides into the third period tied 2-2.
The Eagles picked up right where they left off to start the third period, as Patrick Giles scored his first goal of the season less that 3 minutes in to give BC their first lead of the game. Giles slammed home a rebound off of an Eamon Powell shot into a wide open net to give the Eagles a 3-2 lead. The lead didn’t last that long, however, as UNH put home a shorthanded goal just a few minutes later to tie things up at three. That was all the scoring in regulation despite a few close calls at both ends, and the two teams went to overtime to try and settle things at 3-on-3.
BC had a few chances early on in overtime, but took a bad too many men penalty with 1:10 left that ended up costing them. With about 30 seconds left to go, UNH put home a loose puck in the crease for the game winner.
There were long stretches where BC looked like a team that hadn’t played in over a month and stretches where they looked closer to the team we saw back in November and December. This was also the first game on the blueline for a few different players, as Tom Lovell saw his first collegiate action after battling with an injury while Jack St. Ivany played for the first time as an Eagle after transferring from Yale. Both had solid if unspectacular debuts and both figure to be important parts of the defense as the season continues. Henry Wilder got the start in net as Jerry York chose to give Spencer Knight a the night off after playing in two games earlier this week for team USA. He figures to get the start on Sunday when these two teams finish their weekend series.