As a young Boston College fan, I unfortunately don’t have nearly as many memories of Jerry York’s hockey teams as other writers and fans that have gotten to see his run of excellence in its entirety. But I can say that I’ve seen at least a fair share of exciting games, and nothing for me tops the Hockey East quarterfinals series against Providence in 2019.
Boston College’s 2018-19 season, in short, was disappointing. They’d only mustered a 7-seed in the Hockey East playoffs after finishing the season on a terrible 1-7-1 run, including a loss in the Beanpot final to Northeastern. Joe Woll’s final season as BC’s goaltender was going just like much of his collegiate career did: exceeding expectations personally, but suffering behind a middling roster. So when entering the Hockey East playoffs against #2 seed Providence, expectations were low.
What followed was magic. It became the hardest fought series of that season as the Eagles fought for their lives in Schneider Arena. 2 of the 3 games went into OT, and all 3 match-ups were decided by just one goal. Every fan in that building got their money’s worth for the kind of hockey that was being played.
The first game opened up with a slew of scoring. PC struck first, but it was a 3-1 BC lead by the end of the opening frame. Then 3 unanswered goals by the Friars in the 2nd and 3rd periods put them back up as time was winding down. But with just about a minute and a half left, Julius Mattila put one in the back of the net in a scrum in front of the goal, sending the game to OT. PC made quick work of the extra frame, though, taking game 1 after just 1:31 of OT. Highlights here.
Game 2 was more of the same story as BC went up early, but Providence fought back to take a 1 goal lead as time began to wind down. This time it was Marc McLaughlin on the powerplay that scored Boston College’s tying goal, then Logan Hutsko who ended OT in a very quick 23 seconds. Just electric hockey being played in Providence. Highlights here.
Game 3 is when it was all on the line. Providence, desperately fighting for advancement and positioning in the NCAA tourney, was up against a BC team with nothing to lose. This game was much tougher and physical from what I remember, and the score reflected it. A pair of powerplay goals to make it a 1-1 game were the only scores on the board for a while, until BC found itself saved by Logan Hutsko once again. Hutsko put the puck exactly where he needed to in order to give the Eagles a lead in what ended up being his swan song series. That concluded the scoring for the day as the Eagles pulled off the miraculous series comeback and upset. Highlights here.
What fired me up about this series in large part was the energy from BC fans in the building and the Boston College Pep Band. I was a member of the band in Schneider Arena that weekend, and boy did we get loud. Providence has a bit of a reputation for its fans being a bit on the older side, and that was very evident during that playoff series as the home crowd barely even got into it. The BC Band, on the other hand, was relentless with its positive chants for the Eagles, so much so that a Providence player even made a quiet-down gesture at the band after scoring a goal. It’s rare to see players acknowledge opposing fans in that way, especially at a home game. That shows just how high the energy was for that series on both sidelines, in what should’ve been a much quieter #2-#7 match-up. The Pep Band for BC rarely gets to travel to away games, so injecting themselves into a playoff atmosphere made a significant difference in the energy around the series. Even the hockey team’s social media accounts made it a point to thank the Pep Band for bringing energy that weekend, something they don’t do very often. It shifted the entire dynamic.
Boston College went on to defeat eventual national runners-up UMass in the Hockey East semis at TD Garden, before eventually falling to Northeastern in the Hockey East championship game, ending their season. Despite all of the struggles that team faced that year, Jerry York & crew proved just how much grit and talent they had in them to close out the season strong. You could never count out a Jerry York team for that exact reason. Combine that with it being the last truly stellar performance by Logan Hutsko, and it makes for an amazing BC hockey memory.