Well that was a fun way to start the weekend.
In front of a packed crowd that was loud from well before the opening puck drop, the Boston College men’s hockey team took down their biggest rival in BU by a 4-1 score. The two teams played a mostly even game, but the Eagles got some big goals from their freshmen before two sophomores iced things with some late empty net goals to give BC the win in the first game of this home-and-home series. Four different players scored for BC and Jacob Fowler played a strong game in net while getting some help from his posts as the Eagles improved to 17-4-1 on the season.
The two teams skated to a scoreless first period but it was not for a lack of action. Fowler had to come up with a big save just a few shifts into the game and things didn’t calm down much from there, with both teams creating chances that tested the two goalies throughout the opening 20 minutes. BC killed an early power play chance from BU and then came up empty on one of their own, but much of the first period was played with a terrific pace at five-on-five. Will Smith had a great chance to open the scoring on another power play chance for BC at the very end of the period, but he couldn’t quite get a one-timer on net and the two teams went into the first intermission still tied at zero.
BU hit a post early on in the second period, but it was Ryan Leonard who started the scoring in this one just a few seconds later, scoring his 13th goal of the season to give BC a 1-0 lead. Leonard took a shot from the right circle that probably should have been stopped more often than not, but it hit the back of the net to put the Eagles up after just about three and a half minutes of play in the period. BC had a chance to extend their lead with a power play chance shortly after scoring, but BU killed it off and then started to carry play a bit themselves. The Terriers hit three posts in the second period and had some good chances to tie things up, but BC managed to capitalize after the third hit post with a goal in transition. It was the freshman line again this time, with Gabe Perreault firing home a perfect wrist shot to finish off a two-on-one rush with Will Smith to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead heading into the third period.
BC controlled most of the play for a good chunk to start the third period, but they were unable to put up a third goal and BU eventually made them pay. The Terriers finally got on the board with 6:37 left in regulation - finally beating Fowler on a great wrist shot through some traffic to cut the lead to 2-1. They continued to push for a tying goal over the next few shifts before pulling their goalie with just over two minutes remaining, but the Eagles made them pay quickly. Cutter Gauthier and Oskar Jellvik scored back-to-back empty net goals to give BC some insurance as they took this one by a 4-1 final.
This was as perfect a start to the home-and-home series as we could have asked for. The Eagles played played a pretty clean game in their defensive zone and were able to capitalized when they needed to before putting the game away late in the third. Their big names showed up on the scoresheet and Jacob Fowler was almost perfect in net. That’s a winning formula for this team and one they’ll try to replicate tomorrow when they travel down Comm Ave to take on BU once again.