BC hockey's unbeaten streak continues. Despite never truly controlling the game, the Eagles held off an energized Penn State team looking for revenge to take a 3-2 win down in Happy Valley.
Penn State came out strong, and it seemed like one of those games where BC would have to weather the storm for a little while before going off on their opponent. That was not to be -- the Nittany Lions played strong the entire game, and really put a scare into the Eagles, despite never holding a lead.
Not much scoring for the Eagles in this one -- BC hadn't scored fewer goals than this since December 7th.
Goal #1 -- 7:40 of the 1st period: Kevin Hayes (Bill Arnold, John Gaudreau)
BC 1, PSU 0
Just the way you drew it up, right? After getting dominated early (Penn State held a 6-0 lead in shots at the time of this goal), BC managed to get on the board first with a mess of a goal eventually credited to Kevin Hayes.
Bill Arnold was, once again, everywhere tonight. He very nearly gets around the PSU defender, but somehow the ball starts pinballing all over the place, eventually going off Hayes, I guess, and barely trickling over the line.
That was the only scoring in the first period, and BC was pretty lucky to get out of it with the lead. Shots were 11-7 in favor of Penn State.
Early in the second, the Nittany Lions would knot the score up at 1, and that's the way it would stay for quite a while. BC fans were getting a bit anxious. But then Gaudreau happened.
Goal #2 -- 16:04 of the 2nd period: Johnny Gaudreau (Bill Arnold)
BC 2, PSU 1
There's Bill Arnold again.
You can't see it in the GIF -- it doesn't go back far enough, though the highlights below have it -- but Gaudreau starts this breakout with a pass of his own up to Arnold. His defender doesn't really do too bad of a job, but Arnold dishes over to Gaudreau who makes an absolutely nasty move to dangle the puck around the outstretched leg of Penn State goaltender Eamon McAdam.
Gaudreau now has 50 points on the season (last year's leading scorer had just 53 points over the course of the entire year), and has been on the scoresheet for 20 consecutive games and 24 out of 25. BC is also 15-0-1 when he scores a goal.
To the third period we went with BC clinging to a 2-1 lead, when Penn State's Jonathan Milley took a 5 minute boarding penalty. Just seconds later, BC would capitalize.
Goal #3 (PPG, GWG) -- 4:28 of the 3rd period: Kevin Hayes (Bill Arnold, Patrick Brown)
BC 3, PSU 1
Oh hey Bill Arnold making plays again.
I'm not sure if Jerry York and women's hockey Coach Crowley have been sharing notes, but this is exactly the kind of play BC women's hockey has been setting up on the power play for a while now (they had a similar goal this afternoon doing the same thing).
Arnold wins a quick battle below the goal line and throws it out front for the one timer. It's a high-percentage play, and Hayes converts with a blast from point blank range. Nice satisfying "ping" of the crossbar on the way in, too.
It seemed like all would be well, with BC up by a pair of goals against a low-ranked team, and another 4 and change of power play remaining. But no, we couldn't do it the easy way.
Teddy Doherty took a shot and put his arms up to celebrate a goal, and in the ensuing couple of seconds, Penn State came in on a breakaway. Doherty was forced to trip up the shooter which resulted in a penalty shot.
Demko denied the chance, but just two minutes later -- still shorthanded -- Penn State would score on a 2 on 1 to get back within 1.
Penn State would pull their goalie and make it interesting, the 3-2 would be the final. Not the best of wins, but really a result of the Nittany Lions playing very, very hard for the entire game.
Thatcher Demko played an excellent game. His save on the penalty shot was a result of his size and how much of the net he takes up. He certainly didn't do anything to lose what might now be his role as top goaltender, and might have even solidified it.
That's it for the men's hockey team this weekend, as they get the rest of the weekend off to prepare for their upcoming road game at Providence, followed by the Beanpot. BC is now 10-0-1 in its last 11 games.
Highlights below from tonight's game. We'll see you next week.