The Boston College men’s hockey team returned to action over the weekend, brining and end to their long midseason break with a home-and-home series against Providence. The Eagles hit the ground running with a 7-1 blowout win on Friday before being edged out by the Friars by a 4-3 score on Saturday night. It had been a while since we’ve seen BC in action and there’s plenty to talk about from these two games, so let’s dive in to some of what stood out from the Eagles’ return to action.
TWO PERIODS DETERMINE THE WEEKEND
Let’s start with the good stuff, the second period of Friday’s game was a whole lot of fun.
After jumping out to a 1-0 lead on the first shift of the night, BC and Providence looked pretty even for a good chunk of the game, with the score remaining the same until a few minutes into the second period. With 6:40 gone in the second, Jamie Armstrong scored his first goal as an Eagle to give BC an insurance goal that, at the time, felt like it could be a key moment in a low scoring game. Over the next seven and a half minutes, BC scored four more goals and turned an evenly matched, tense conference game into a 6-0 laugher. The goals came from four different players on three different lines and perfectly highlighted the kind of relentless offensive push that BC can put together when they’re at their most dangerous. With most of the team playing in their first meaningful game in over a month, it would have been easy to expect some rust leading to a lower scoring game. Instead, BC took a highly ranked conference opponent and blew them out of the building in a truly impressive fashion.
Things weren’t so great on Saturday, however. This one looked like it was going to be the low scoring game through two periods, with BC hanging on to a slim 2-1 lead heading into the third. Providence had other ideas, however, as the Friars scored three times in the final period to ruin BC’s plans of a weekend sweep. That marked just the second time this season that BC has lost a game that they were leading heading into the third period, with the first coming all the way back in October when the Eagles lost to Denver by a similar 4-3 score after leading 2-1 after two period. It also means that in their four losses on the season, BC has now allowed 11 third period goals, including three games where they have allowed three in the final 20 minutes. This one was a team effort too, just like on Friday night, with three different lines being on the ice for the three goals against, including most of the top line for the eventual game winner from Providence. Again, Providence is a good team and a weekend split isn’t the worst result in the world, but this could have been a much better weekend for BC if not for those last 20 minutes on Saturday.
OSKAR JELLVIK STAYS RED HOT
Hey so Oskar Jellvik is already one goal away from tripling his goal output from last season and we’re only in mid January. The sophomore winger apparently loves playing against Providence, as he scored a goal in each game over the weekend to make it three in four games against the Friars on the season and 11 overall. And to be absolutely clear, some of this is Jellvik getting some good luck. Cutter Gauthier, the team’s leading goal scorer who might have the best shot in college hockey has 14 goals on 102 shots, good for a 13.7 shooting percentage. Jellvik is at just under 24 percent, having scored his 11 goals on 46 shots. That’s almost certainly not a pace that he’s going to keep up over the course of the season.
But saying that his scoring touch has been just been a hot stretch where he’s gotten some bounces isn’t fair either. He’s a noticeably better player than he was just a year ago and it’s showing in his game all over the ice. Jellvik looks a step faster than he did as a freshman and that’s allowed him to create a whole bunch of odd-man opportunities that he’s been able to finish. Just take a look at his goal from Saturday night and how quickly he goes from his own zone to scoring.
He gets into high gear in the neutral zone and the forward that is supposed to pick him up, #15, can’t do anything but wave at him with his stick as he blows past him. The finish in close is pretty to watch, but this goal started at the defensive blue line for Jellvik and he really made the whole thing happen. It’s nice to see him really breaking out after a solid freshman season, and it’s exciting to think of what he might look like if he continues with this kind of development.
A PAIR OF FIRSTS
Jamie Armstrong and Will Vote were the third line wingers this weekend and it’s hard to pick out two players on the roster who are at more different parts of their college career. Armstrong is a grad transfer from BU with more than 100 games played at this level while Vote is a freshman forward who is probably a bit overlooked in a class with some great freshman forward. Armstrong is 25 and fully accustomed to the college game, Vote is 18 and still has some filling out to do.
And yet, on Friday night, they both hit some big milestones as Eagles. Both Armstrong and Vote scored their first goals at BC on Friday and both also picked up their first multi point games, with each picking up an assist on the other one’s goal. The depth scoring is always nice, but it’s also good to see some guys get off to a hot start in the second half, especially if this can get the third line going as the season rolls on.