Things felt pretty gloomy after 40 minutes of play at Matthews Arena on Sunday afternoon. BC had just completed their fourth consecutive lackluster period, with their only offense generated in 80 minutes of play coming from a pair of brilliant shorthanded goals - Colin White's on Saturday, and Ryan Fitzgerald's on Sunday. 5 on 5, BC had nothing going whatsoever.
I'm not sure what changed between the second and third periods but the BC team that came out for the final frame on Sunday looked like an entirely different team - a group possessed. Just 2:30 in to the period, Josh Couturier got it started with a bomb that rifled in and out of the net so fast that I thought, from my seats, that it would be reviewed to see if it actually went in or not.
Just over a minute later, Alex Tuch showed why he's such a valued prospect, charging like a bull in on goal, opting for the wraparound, and bringing it all the way around and in before Ryan Ruck could go post to post to stop him. New game.
At 8:52 of the third period, Matt Gaudreau finished off the comeback in style, tipping home a Scott Savage shot with a beautiful deflection from out front to give BC their first lead of the game. Northeastern was able to get the goalie out and push for a tying goal in the final minute but the Eagles held firm and escaped from St. Botolph Street with two points on the day and three points on the weekend - all things considered, a successful weekend for BC. Thanks to Lowell's sweep at the hands of UConn, BC now sits just two points back of the River Hawks for first place in the conference, with BC holding four games in hand.
This will go down as a pretty nice win when we look back on it; it was kind of a litmus test game for the Eagles after suffering the disappointment of a 3-3 tie on home ice Saturday night, squandering a late lead in the process. It became an even greater litmus test when BC had to revive themselves after a bad first 40 minutes. The Eagles once again showed great resiliency and fight in coming all the way back to take the lead - and then hanging on for the win.
Northeastern is finally on the verge of putting together a decent run of play, I think. Zach Aston-Reese and Lincoln Griffin in particular were all over the place, and obviously Eric Williams had a great game scoring a pair of goals. If NU can integrate a healthy Roy in to this lineup, they should have the weaponry necessary to at least score plenty of goals, even if their defense ensures that they'll still struggle to win games even if they're scoring 3-4 goals per game.
Ryan Fitzgerald had a phenomenal game for BC on Sunday. He had ***12 total shot attempts*** including 8 on net, one of which was his sweet shorthanded goal that threw BC a lifeline during a lackluster second period. He also was key in setting up BC's game winning goal, picking up the secondary assist. Fitzgerald seems to be making a big jump this year toward being the kind of elite goal scorer we always hoped he'd emerge in to - no doubt invigorated by the stellar play of both Colin White and Matt Gaudreau on his line.
Tuch-Sanford-Gilmour looked fine, with Tuch obviously exploding for a signature goal to tie the score. That's what you want to see from him. I'd still like to see Sanford show some dominance. I feel like he's the next player due to break out. Wood/Cangelosi/Brown were OK at 5 on 5, but not great. Wood was active and noticeable, particularly on the PK where he actually started the sequence that led to Fitzgerald's SHG. With Calnan out again on Sunday, BC pretty much didn't play the Jeke/McMullen/Dudek line (if they did play more than a couple quick shifts, I didn't notice them), so you got a hearty dose of BC's top three lines.
The biggest concern I have right now is that the defense is finally starting to look leaky in a way we feared they might at the start of the year - turnovers and blunders have allowed the opposition to put up some decent totals on BC over the past few weeks. They'll need to clean it up with a very good Notre Dame team coming to town next on Thursday night.