It wasn’t always pretty, but the Boston College men’s hockey team grinded out a 4-2 win against Maine on Friday night. Matt Boldy scored two goals, Marc McLaughlin and Alex Newhook added one each, and the Eagles did just enough to knock off the Black Bears despite clearly not having their A-game for much of the night.
The two teams played a scoreless first period that had just a few good scoring chances but a bunch of penalties. BC had two power play chances negated early when they took penalties of their own and neither team was able to roll their lines in the way that they would have liked to. The Eagles did get a few decent looks on net thanks to Matt Boldy and Nikita Nesterenko, but they were unable to get anything past Maine goalie Matt Thiessen. Marshall Warren took a bad tripping penalty at the very end of the period while already shorthanded to give Maine some extended time at five-on-three to start the second period, but for the most part, it was an ugly first 20 minutes to start the weekend.
It was BC who took advantage of the special teams play, however, when Matt Boldy scored the team’s seventh shorthanded goal of the season to put the Eagles up 1-0. After killing off the first penalty to start the period, Boldy picked up the puck on the left wing in space and was able to skate it all the way into the offensive zone. He cut towards the middle before pulling out a spin move that ended with a backhanded shot that beat Thiessen for the first goal of the game. The lead didn’t last long, as Maine tied things up just a few shifts later on a goal off a bit of a busted odd man rush. A deflected pass took Spencer Knight out of position and gave the Black Bears a wide open net to shoot on. There was some contact with Knight on the goal, but the original call stood after a short review.
BC got their lead back with about 12 minutes to go when Marc McLaughlin put home a rebound for his ninth goal of the season. The play was started on a great forecheck by Casey Carreau, when he forced a turnover behind the Maine net before stepping out in front and putting a wrist shot on net. Thiessen made the original save, but McLaughlin was right by the crease to put it home for the 2-1 lead. That was it for the scoring in the second, despite a few scoring chances for both sides. Spencer Knight was forced to make a few nice saves, including one on a two-on-one rush from Maine, but he was up to the task and the Eagles took their one-goal lead into the third.
Maine tied things up just over eight minutes into the third period, taking advantage of consecutive BC penalties and scoring while on a 5-on-3 advantage. Knight was just a bit late moving across his crease and was beaten through his five-hole on a quick shot from the left circle. Alex Newhook got the lead back a few minutes later with a power play goal of his own, scoring on a rocket of a slap shot right off the faceoff to start the man advantage. Newhook’s shot was just about as perfectly placed as possible, getting past Thiessen right under the crossbar. Maine made a push following the goal and were looking to pull their goalie late, but Carreau made a great play on a forecheck to force a penalty with just 1:34 left. Maine did eventually get their goalie out, but Matt Boldy was able to flip the puck into the Black Bears net from his own zone for his second goal of the night to clinch the win for BC.
This was an ugly game for long stretches - particularly early on- but the Eagles were able to do enough to get the win. With the Hockey East standings being so close up at the top, that’s really the most important thing every night. They’ll look for a similar result tomorrow when they wrap up the weekend series with Maine at 5 PM.