After Colby Ambrosio slid a shot past a sprawled out Maine goaltender Victor Ostman to put Boston College up 3-0 with 8:36 to go in tonight’s game, Ostman spent some extra time laying down on the ice in frustration and exhaustion.
You could hardly blame him. Ostman put up one of the best goaltending performances in recent memory at Kelley Rink, making an astonishing 56 saves and keeping Maine in a game that BC dominated from the word go, picking up a 3-0 win on a night when they outshot the Black Bears 59-24.
With the win, Boston College improves to 15-3-1 on the season.
Patrick Giles scored the game winner for the Eagles on a net-mouth scramble in the second period to finally break the scoreless tie after BC put Ostman under relentless pressure:
Alex Newhook added a cannon of a power play goal for the second consecutive night to give BC some breathing room with 9:09 to play in the third.
Ambrosio’s strike capped off the scoring and allowed the Eagles to finally ease up a little bit, after playing hair-on-fire hockey for 51 minutes.
Despite their early domination - BC outshot Mane 23-5 in the first period - the game was stressful for much of the early going.
After a scoreless first period, Harrison Roy was ejected on a hitting-from-behind penalty 6:42 into the second, putting BC on a 5 minute penalty kill. Just seconds into that kill, Nikita Nesterenko took a tripping penalty, forcing the Eagles into an extended 3-on-5 situation.
Maine had plenty of shots on their power play, but BC largely limited them to low-grade chances, with Marc McLaughlin and Patrick Giles both putting in impressive shifts as the lone forward on the kill, and Drew Helleson and Marshall Warren doing great work down low.
Not long after the kill, BC finally broke through to take the lead with another gritty shift by the third line, resulting in the Giles goal. Casey Carreau has made an impact since being slid onto that line, earning more ice time throughout the year thanks to his tenacity and strong two way game. For the second straight night, he helped create numerous scoring opportunities for his linemates, and they delivered.
While Maine didn’t really threaten for much of the third period, there’s an inherent fear that starts to creep in when you rip shot after shot on net and can’t pull away.
With 12:28 to go, Mike Hardman had a clean breakaway but was denied by Ostman, making one of his best stops of the night and energizing the Maine bench.
The Black Bears’ attempts to gain any momentum were squelched not long after when Dawson Bruneski took a hooking penalty at 10:28 of the third period to give BC the power play. This gave Alex Newhook yet another opportunity to show why this team is so different with him back on the ice.
BC’s power play struggled to help stretch out narrow leads for much of this year, but Newhook came up big again with another rocket that wouldn’t have been stopped if you had put a Victor Ostman behind another Victor Ostman and then with another Victor Ostman in front of him:
▶️ You leave him open and he'll keeping doing this pic.twitter.com/Ea0lwf4PI7— BC Hockey (@BCHockey) February 21, 2021
Ambrosio’s goal was of the greasy variety too, coming just 33 seconds after BC’s second goal and truly taking all the air out of Maine - and Ostman.
While Spencer Knight wasn’t too busy, he came up big when he needed to, especially on the penalty kill. He picked up his 8th career shutout.
▶️ Knighter has been the less busy goalie tonight, but this stop was a dandy pic.twitter.com/EPwl5zGp80— BC Hockey (@BCHockey) February 20, 2021
This was an encouraging performance and result for the Eagles, who grinded out a win last night but weren’t firing on all cylinders. Tonight, they were on fire from the word go and could have easily posted a giant number tonight if not for great Maine goaltending.
BC got some help on the out of town scoreboard tonight, too, as UConn forced overtime against BU before the Terriers won in the extra session. 3-on-3 OT wins count for much less than a regulation win in the Hockey East Power Index, so BC’s lead atop the standings was extended going into the final two weeks of the regular season.
We should find out on Tuesday who BC will play next weekend.