It wasn't the most thrilling victory of the year, but in an arena that routinely gives the Eagles trouble, Boston College went on cruise control and took down Merrimack by a final score of 4-1.
No GIFs from tonight as Merrimack doesn't allow access to their video archives unless you pay an ungodly $100 fee. They do usually put up video highlights on YouTube. We'll link you if they do.
EDIT: Here you go:
The game got off to a good start as the Eagles scored just 1:23 into the game. Kevin Hayes took a shot that was saved by Merrimack goalie Rasmus Tirronen, but as Merrimack tried to gather in the puck to start a breakout, they managed to deflect the puck right into their own net. Hayes was credited with the score, and Gaudreau was given an assist to extend his point streak to 19(!) games.
Merrimack answered three minutes later on a goal that was a rather soft one for Demko to give up. But he settled down and wouldn't allow another puck past him all night.
Despite a dominant first period in which the Eagles got 5 power plays, it seemed as though the game would go into the locker room tied at 1. That changed with 42 seconds to go in the period as Adam Gilmour deflected a Teddy Doherty shot from the point into the net for a power play goal and the 2-1 lead.
After the dominant first, the Eagles seemed to go into cruise control. Merrimack outshot BC 14-10 in the second period, but it was the Eagles who would extend their lead on an absolute snipe by Patrick Brown 8:31 in. The Warriors did a good job of responding, but Thatcher Demko was equal to the task, picking up the slack and shutting down Merrimack while BC coasted for a bit.
The third period was... not entertaining. At all. BC short-shifted for much of the period and opted to sit back and give Merrimack a taste of their own medicine, stifling any scoring chances for both Merrimack and themselves, and as Joe put it, "taking the air out of the game entirely."
That was pretty accurate, as the shots in the third period were just 5-4 in favor of Boston College. But Austin Cangelosi would score an empty net goal with 52 seconds left to put the game away, and suddenly the Eagles would walk away with a surprisingly easy 4-1 victory in a very difficult arena.
The power play wasn't as good as it had been in the last few games, especially early, but with enough opportunities (5, in fact, in the first period alone) it was just a matter of time before they would score.
Demko, as mentioned earlier, started out giving up a goal he probably should have had, but locked down the rest of the way and really came up big on a few instances where Merrimack was putting on the pressure, shutting out the Warriors the rest of the game.
It's not often you score 4 goals and lower your goals per game average, but that's the kind of season BC is having. They'll take the two league points and move on, happy that they won't have to play at Lawler Arena again until next season.
BC takes on Penn State on Saturday at 7pm on the road in their only game of the weekend. The Nittany Lions have an embarrassing one win in their last twelve games, the only victory coming in a tight 3-2 game against Robert Morris, ranked 54th out of 59 teams in the Pairwise. In that stretch was a tough 8-2 loss to Boston College in Pittsburgh.
Rumor has it that a live stream of the game may be available on the B1G Network's online website -- if that's the case, we'll be sure to confirm once we find out.
We'll see you later in the week for the Banter.