The Boston College men’s hockey team scored three goals in within five minutes and hung on late to knock off New Hampshire 3-2 in a quarterfinal matchup of the Hockey East Tournament. New Hampshire continued their recent trend of playing some incredibly tense games against BC, but the Eagles were able to make their strong start hold up in the end to advance to the semifinals.
Alex Newhook opened the scoring for BC after about five and a half minutes of play. While the two teams were skating at four-on-four, Matt Boldy tried to hit Newhook with a long stretch pass off a set play. The pass just missed Newhook’s stick, but Newhook was able to win the foot race to the puck after it bounced off the boards behind the goal and found himself all alone. He fired a quick shot past UNH goalie Mike Robinson for his fifth of the season to give BC a 1-0 lead. Mike Hardman doubled the lead just a few minutes later when he slammed home a rebound off of an Eamon Powell shot from the blue line for his ninth of the year.
Nikita Nesternko made it 3-0 less than a minutes after that off of a great pass from Colby Ambrosio. Ambrosio slid a pass from the corner to a wide open Nesterenko out front, who fired a quick one timer past Robinson to give BC a three-goal lead less than 10 minutes into the game. The Eagles continued to dominate in terms of possession and scoring chances throughout the rest of the period, but they had to settle for their 3-0 lead after 20 minutes of play. Considering how well New Hampshire has matched up against BC in recent seasons, it was about as good a start as they could have hoped for.
A lot of that good start was undone, however, after New Hampshire put together a fairly dominant period of their own. UNH cut the lead to 3-1 after killing off a BC penalty early in the second when a wrist shot from a distance got through a number of players and beat a screened Spencer Knight. They cut it to a one-goal game just a few minutes later after an attempted stretch pass by Jack St. Ivany was picked off at center ice and gave New Hampshire an entry into the offensive zone. Knight was beaten by another wrist shot, this time by an unscreened UNH player who was uncovered in the high slot. New Hampshire continued to push for the tying goal and came close to finding it, but BC was able to hold on and take a slim 3-2 lead headed into the third.
The two teams skated to a much more even third period, and BC was able to keep New Hampshire from tying the game to escape with a win. UNH hit a couple of posts early in the period and pulled their goalie late, but Knight and the defense proved up to the task for the full 20 minutes.
Matt Boldy picked up two assists and Spencer Knight came up big with 35 saves to lead the way for Boston College, who will now advance to play UMass Lowell in the semifinals of the Hockey East Tournament on Wednesday. The Eagles took the previous two matchups against the Riverhawks from earlier this season, but Lowell just came away with an impressive win over #2 seed BU earlier on Sunday, so this should be another close game.