The Boston College men’s hockey team started their season with a win on Saturday night, taking down #2 ranked Quinnipiac 2-1 on the road to spoil the defending champions banner night. Cutter Gauthier scored the game winner late in overtime to give the Eagles a win after a tightly checked, penalty filled game.
The Eagles had some opportunities early on, as Quinnipiac took a major penalty just about six minutes into the game, but BC was not able to capitalize on the extended man advantage. The two teams played a mostly solid defensive game after that, with neither able to generate much in terms of scoring chances while BC came up empty on another power play chance. Andre Gasseau did manage to get the scoring started with a shorthanded tally late in the period, when he intercepted a pass in the defensive zone and got moving to create a two-on-one. Gasseau made no mistake, firing a wrist shot past the goalie for his first of the season to give BC a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes of play.
The second period was a whole lot uglier than the first, as BC spent a lot of time playing shorthanded. The Eagles took three separate minor penalties across the period and as a result they weren’t able to generate much of anything on offensive. Quinnipiac had some stretches where their power play looked dangerous and they did create some good scoring chances, but BC came up with a few big blocks and Jacob Fowler was excellent in net to keep the 1-0 lead in tact heading into the third.
The Eagles stayed out of the box for a while in the third period and the game looked a lot more like it did in the first. It was a tightly checked game without many chances at either end, but the Eagles did eventually end up shorthanded for the seventh time on the night. They managed to kill off the penalty, but the ice tilted a bit in Quinnipiac’s favor and with under six minutes to play, the Bobcats finally managed to beat Fowler and tie things up at 1-1. BC probably played their best hockey of the night in the five minutes after Quinnipiac tied it, with Ryan Leonard and Cutter Gauthier both getting great looks on net, but they were unable to find a second goal and the two teams went to overtime.
Gauthier almost ended things about 15 seconds into overtime with a breakaway chance that came after a Quinnipiac shot went wide of Fowler’s net, but he’d have to wait a few more minutes to be the hero. After both sides had a few decent chances on net, BC got control of the puck with under 30 seconds to play. Ryan Leonard had the puck on his stick just over the blue line in the offensive zone when he held up play and made a cross ice pass to Gauthier. Gauthier ripped about as perfect a shot as you can imagine that beat Quinnipiac's goalie with 9.5 seconds left and gave BC a 2-1 win to start the season.
This wasn’t the prettiest game of all time and there’s certainly plenty that BC will want to clean up in the coming weeks, but you can’t start a season a whole lot better than taking down the defending champs in their building. The Eagles will host Long Island in their home opener on Friday night with a chance to move to 2-0 and really get their season started off on the right foot.
- BC’s power play units do not seem to be set in stone at all. The first unit on the major penalty was mostly the veteran skaters, but Will Smith and Ryan Leonard got a look with Cutter Gauthier when the team had their second man advantage. It will be interesting to see who Greg Brown settles on as the season continues.
- Jacob Fowler looked awesome in net. There were stretches in the second period where he had to come up with some big saves to keep Quinnipiac off the board and he came up big every time. The only goal he allowed came on a puck that he lost sight of when it deflected into the air after a shot from the point. The freshman made 29 saves on 30 shots to start his career.
- The all freshman line had some flashes, but they were kept off the scoresheet until Leonard assisted on Gauthier’s game winner. There wasn’t a ton of space available and Quinnipiac figures to be one of the best teams in the country, so it’s probably not a huge shock that they weren’t exactly able to hit the ground running. They’ll have a good chance to break out starting next week.
- What on Earth are you supposed to do about this if you’re a goalie?