Going into this past weekend, if you had told any BC hockey fan that the Eagles would take 2 out of 3 against BU, Maine, and Merrimack, they probably would have taken it. But they probably wouldn't have figured that the two wins would have come against the two teams on the right side of the NCAA tournament bubble.
Wednesday night, BC completed the successful weekend with a well-played 2-1 win over the Merrimack Warriors at Conte Forum.
BC played some of its most crisp hockey of the season, but Merrimack goaltender Rasmus Tirronen stood tall for much of the game. It wasn't until the second period that BC would finally manage to get on the board.
Boston College Goal #1: 1:15 of the 2nd period
Adam Gilmour (Noah Hanifin, Zach Sanford)
BC 1, MC 0
Merrimack plays a 1-3-1 style that really bottles up the neutral zone, so it was critical for BC to get some offensive zone time to stay away from the Warriors' defensive strength. Sure enough, early on in the 2nd period, BC managed to get the puck nicely set up in the Merrimack end.
Sanford wins the puck along the boards and gets it back to Hanifin who wastes no time in throwing the puck in through a crowd toward Tirronen. The puck takes a couple deflections over to Gilmour who is at the right place at the right time to score the first goal of the game on the far side.
BC played well, but Merrimack had its chances during the game. The best came late in the second period on a partial breakaway that ended up in the net—unfortunately for Merrimack, Thatcher Demko ended up in the net too, and the goal was waved off.
But the Warriors were awarded a penalty shot.
Merrimack Penalty Shot: 15:43 of the 2nd period
Kyle Singleton -- SAVED by Thatcher Demko
The penalty shot chance was denied by Demko's left shoulder, keeping the Eagles out front.
BC responded very well, and extended the lead just a couple short minutes later.
Boston College Goal #2 (GWG): 17:20 of the 2nd period
Chris Calnan (Scott Savage)
BC 2, MC 0
Merrimack gets totally burned in what has to be a bad line change or something, because there are hardly any Merrimack players in any important areas of the ice. One of them, #15 Jared Kolquist, is tasked with keeping Savage out of the Warrior end, but Savage gets by him (despite a pretty blatent hook).
Savage sends the puck over to Calnan who is able to corral it, wait, and shimmy it through the legs of Tirronen to put BC up by 2 going into the locker room.
But nothing's easy for this BC team, is it?
Merrimack Goal #1 (PPG): 2:05 of the 3rd period
Jace Hennig (Hampus Gustafsson, Dan Kolomatis)
BC 2, MC 1 -- FINAL
Believe it or not, that's Noah Hanifin getting roasted at the blue line by Gustafsson. Hanifin's problem isn't so much positioning as the fact that when Gustafsson comes in, he's completely stationary on the blue line and by the time he's able to get in stride, Gustafsson is by him.
With Hanifin unable to hold his man, McCoshen is left in kind of a no-man's-land trying to defend both the shooter and #9 Jace Hennig, who is able to enter the BC end with extra time and space. Gustafsson gets the puck over to him for a well-placed one timer and Demko has no shot at getting over in time to make a save.
BC locked down pretty well for the vast majority of the third period after this goal, but toward the end of the game, a combination of Merrimack attacking and BC somewhat laying back defending the one goal lead led to some hairy moments. Thatcher Demko kept BC ahead in the closing minutes, and the Eagles game away with the 2-1 win.
Now for BC, the focus goes ahead to UConn, who comes into Conte on Saturday. BC will look to avenge the incredibly disappointing 1-0 loss to the Huskies earlier in the season at UConn's big home opener.