Where the heck did that come from?
After struggling to score goals for most of the first half of this season, the Boston College men’s hockey team exploded for eight goals on Friday night to defeat rivals BU 9-6 and head into the winter break on the highest of high notes. The Eagles got goals from eight different players and overcame some ugly moments in their defensive zone by capitalizing on just a few more ugly moments by BU in their own end.
BC jumped out to a 1-0 lead about 15 minutes into the first period. After a back and forth start to the game, BC found themselves on a power play after BU took a penalty due to a faceoff violation. BU managed to shut down the Eagles’ first unit, but the second unit came through when Lukas Gustafsson fired home a one-timer for his second goal of the season to give BC the lead. Charlie Leddy doubled that lead just a few seconds later, when a shot from the point snuck past BU’s goalie, giving Leddy the first goal of his college career and giving BC a 2-0 lead. The Terriers got a goal back on a power play of their own just a few minutes later, however, when a puck slipped past Mitch Benson and sat on the goal line until a BU player tapped it in to make it a 2-1 game. They tied things up with just 1:16 left in the period, when Leddy got beat to a loose puck and then outmuscled to set up a two-on-one in front that BU converted into an easy tap in to make it a 2-2 game headed into the first intermission.
The Terriers kept their momentum early on in the second period, scoring less than two minutes in to make it 3-2 with their third goal in about six minutes of in game action. The Eagles tied it up just a few shifts after that, when Liam Izyk finished off a great passing play between himself, Colby Ambrosio, and and Nikita Nesterenko with a tap in goal to make it a 3-3 game. That score lasted for about a shift before BU scored to take a 4-3 lead, but Cutter Gauthier scored on a laser of a wrist shot to tie it back up at four just a few shifts after that. That made it four goals in just over six minutes to start the second period, and both teams continued to look dangerous after that. The scoring did calm down for a few minutes, until Gauthier scored his second goal of the period with a shot through Commesso’s five-hole after working a nice give-and-go with Andre Gasseau to set up a semi-breakaway for the chance.
BC managed to hold that lead for an impressive four minutes before BU tied it on a wrist shot from the boards to make it a 5-5 game. Connor Joyce gave BC their lead back not too long after that, capitalizing on a turnover in the neutral zone and flying down the right wing before firing a puck under the crossbar for his second goal in as many games. It looked like that was finally going to be all the scoring for the second, but the Eagles got a power play with under two minutes left on the clock and they made it count. Trevor Kuntar jumped on a loose puck in the slot and took a shot on net that got deflected up in the air. It softly made its way on net and looked like an easy save, but Commesso didn’t pick it up until late. The puck went through his legs before he could react and BC took a 7-5 lead into intermission after the teams combined for an eight goal second period.
After a remarkable eight minutes of action without a goal to start the third period, BC found themselves on the power play for the third time of the night. Nikita Nesterenko made it three goals on three chances, when he jumped on a rebound and fired it into the net to give the Eagles a three-goal lead. From there, BC played a pretty solid defensive game to close things out. BU added a late goal to make it 8-6 with 90 seconds left after pulling their goalie, but Christian O’Neill put home an empty netter a few seconds later to give BC back their three-goal lead and avoid any late drama.
It’s genuinely hard to believe that we just watched this game. This BC team has played in a bunch of games that could charitably called hard to watch, including their two most recent outings where they were pushed around the ice for six periods by Providence. To come out like this and end the first half of the season with this kind of win has to have you feeling good. This was a ridiculously fun game to watch and hopefully we get a few more of these when the season picks back up. That won’t be until December 30, however, as the Eagles are off for a few weeks before they get back into action with two games at Arizona State to close out the calendar year.