The Boston College men’s hockey team dropped their first game of the season on Saturday night, falling to Denver 4-3. It was a very winnable game for the Eagles, who had the lead at the start of the third period, but some bad penalties late in the game came back to bite them as they fell to 3-1 on the season.
There was a great pace for most of the first period, with both teams playing a clean game without any penalties or very many stoppages. The Eagles had some good chances throughout the period while Jacob Fowler had to come up with a few big saves to keep Denver off the board, but it took a bit for the scoring to begin. With just over four minutes left in the period, Will Smith grabbed a loose puck after Ryan Leonard made a great rush to set BC up in the offensive zone. Smith fired a shot from the half wall that managed to avoid three different players in front of the net and beat the Denver goalie through the five-hole to give BC a 1-0 lead. Smith’s second goal in as many games held up as the only tally in the opening 20 minutes, and the Eagles took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
BC had some great chances to extend their lead early in the second, but it was Denver got on the board next, taking advantage of a few unlucky bounces to create an odd man rush that ended with a rebound being put past a down-and-out Fowler to make it a 1-1 game. Oskar Jellvik gave BC their lead back with about seven minutes to play in the period, after being denied on a shorthanded breakaway opportunity a few minutes earlier. After a long shift that included two icing penalties from BC’s freshman line, Jellvik took a pass in the offensive zone from linemate Will Vote and fired a shot from the slot that went off the post and in to give the Eagles a 2-1 lead after two periods of play.
BC killed off an early penalty to stay in the lead for a bit, but Denver tied the game at two just a few minutes later when they poked home a loose puck in Fowler’s crease. Denver took a 3-2 lead when they converted on another power play chance after BC took an ugly too-many-men penalty about halfway through the third. The Eagles tied things up with 6:39 left in regulation, however, when they converted on a power play chance with all of their big guns on the ice. Will Smith fired a one-timer off a pass from Eamon Powell that deflected off of a Denver player and into the net to make it a 3-3 game. Unfortunately, the Eagles lost some of their discipline late, and took two penalties with under six minutes to play. While they killed the first one, Denver managed to convert on the second, scoring from in close to make it a 4-3 game.
The Eagles had every chance to win this one, but they really shot themselves in the foot throughout the third period. The too-many-men penalty was about as obvious as it gets and the final penalty that lead to Denver’s game winning goal was just as unnecessary. It wasn’t a bad effort on the whole for BC, but the result certainly could have been better if they were just a bit more disciplined. They’ll have a chance to bounce back quickly when they host Michigan State for two games on Thursday and Friday.