The Boston College men’s hockey team extended their season by a few days at least on Wednesday night, shaking off a late collapse to bounce back and defeat New Hampshire 4-3 in overtime. The Eagles got big nights from their big names and picked up their fourth straight win to advance to the quarterfinals of the Hockey East Tournament on Saturday night.
BC came out pretty strong early on, putting a few decent chances on net in the first handful of shifts before eventually starting the scoring after six minutes of play. Jack McBain took a drop pass from Marc McLaughlin and fired a perfect shot high and off the far post and in for his 19th goal of the season. The Eagles continued their strong play for most of the period after that, but they came up empty on a power play chance and weren’t able to add onto their lead. UNH didn’t get many chances until late in the period, but they were able to tie things up with just 1:43 left, scoring on a rebound in the slot after Eric Dop was forced to make a tough save on a low shot. BC was definitely the stronger team in the first 20 minutes, but were forced to head into intermission tied at one.
UNH had a power play chance early on in the second period, but it was BC who took advantage. Nikita Nesterenko made a phenomenal individual effort starting in his own zone and ending with a shorthanded breakaway that he put through the goalie’s five-hole for his seventh goal of the season to give the Eagles a 2-1 lead. BC spent the next portion of the game shorthanded, killing off three consecutive penalties before finally getting a power play chance of their own with a little over six minutes left in the period. Marc McLaughlin didn't waste any time on that opportunity, picking up a loose puck in the slot after a few passes were broken up and firing it into the net for his 20th of the season. The Eagles almost added to their lead a few minutes later when Colby Ambrosio hit the post with a shot off of a rush, but had to settle for a 3-1 lead after two periods of play.
UNH cut the lead to one just under nine minutes into the third period, converting on a power play after Patrick Giles took a really bad high sticking penalty 200 feet from his own net. They scored on another power play with 4:49 left after BC took another penalty in the offensive zone to tie things at three. UNH continued to push after that and BC struggled immensely to create chances or even get much in terms of possession. Dop made a few stops to keep things tied up and BC did draw a penalty with 35 seconds left though, and the two sides headed into overtime.
BC survived a scare when UNH hit the post a few minutes into the extra period, but found the eventual game winner with just over nine minutes remaining. Marshall Warren took the puck near the blue line and moved through several UNH defenders before sliding a pass to a wide open McLaughlin at the side of the net. It was a hard angle shot for McLaughlin, but he buried it for his second goal of the night to give BC a 4-3 overtime victory.
It wasn’t pretty, and it certainly took longer than it should have, but the Eagles got the result they needed to keep their season alive. There’s still a plenty of reasons to be skeptical going forward, but BC has won their last four games so who knows, maybe they’re peaking at the perfect time. They’ll play Northeastern in their quarterfinal matchup on Saturday night with a trip to the TD Garden for the semifinals on the line.