After Saturday’s 30-0 thumping in football, the BC men’s hockey team was looking to continue Eagle over Husky dominance Tuesday evening with a mid-week road matchup at the XL Center in Hartford.
Despite falling behind 1-0, the Eagles stormed back to make it a no-doubter, with a JD Dudek hat trick leading the way for a 5-2 Boston College win against UConn.
Quick aside: There might have been BC dominance on the ice (and football field), but UConn corners the market on most adorable live mascots. LOOK AT THIS GUY!
Good for you, UConn. Jonathan is a beauty.
UConn Goal #1: 19:36 of the 1st period
Max Kalter (Kasperi Ojantakanen, Joseph Masonius)
UC 1, BC 0
BC shot out of a cannon in the first period, racking up the game’s first 5 shots and forcing UConn goalie Adam Huska to stand on his head. But the great first period ended in disappointment.
As the first twenty minutes would down, one lost battle put the Eagles behind. Obvious anagram Kasperi Ojantakanen (seriously?) does a blue collar job of keeping possession along the boards before dishing over to Max Kalter.
Kalter beats Ron Greco across the blue line after a change, and fires it in for the goal.
Boston College Goal #1: 4:34 of the 2nd period
Ryan Fitzgerald (Christopher Brown, Austin Cangelosi)
BC 1, UC 1
There are a lot of really, really nice goals for BC so strap yourself in.
One thing BC seemed to be particularly good at in this game was crossing the blue line with speed while staying onside. Staying onside wasn’t much of a problem on this goal, but the Eagles consistently flew (see what I did there?) into the offensive zone, putting a lot of pressure on the UConn defenders.
Great example here. Christopher Brown is the puck carrier across the blue line and by coming in with such a head of steam he inadvertently sets a bit of a pick while making his drop pass. Cangelosi receives the pass and slams on the brakes which opens up all kinds of space for him.
He wrists a shot-pass in on net that Fitzgerald The Elder gets his stick on, and that’s a great goal for the Eagles to get things going.
Boston College Goal #2: 11:51 of the 2nd period
JD Dudek (Ryan Fitzgerald, Scott Savage)
BC 2, UC 1
Dudek catches UConn napping on the long change with this breakaway goal.
This is good timing but Dudek does a good job selling it, too. With UConn coasting in for the change, Dudek comes off the bench and takes a stride or two toward BC’s defensive zone where Ryan Fitzgerald is looking to set up a play.
But BC’s bench is right on the edge of the offensive zone, and so as soon as the last UConn defender in his path commits to coming onto the bench, Dudek books it for the blue line. Fitzgerald goes tape to tape, and from there Dudek’s on his own.
He puts in a nice finish, and BC has the lead.
Boston College Goal #3 (PPG, GWG): 10:28 of the 3rd period
JD Dudek (Connor Moore, Julius Mattila)
BC 3, UC 1
You wouldn’t know it by looking at the box score and seeing 5 goals allowed, but UConn’s Adam Huska played pretty amazing for the Huskies. It was only goals like this that were able to sneak through.
This is just vicious for a goalie. Connor Moore fires a blast from up top, and Dudek gets solid contact right at the top of the crease for the deflection. The puck slams down into the ice to bounce through... and there is just no stopping that.
It was a power play goal, and Dudek’s second of the night. We haven’t seen the last of him.
Boston College Goal #4: 11:20 of the 3rd period
Julius Mattila (Chris Calnan, Matty Gaudreau)
BC 4, UC 1
Things looked a little dicey for a little while there in the third period for BC. Halfway through, the Eagles were only up one, and while they were still playing well, UConn was getting their chances. Fortunately, the two quick goals for BC put the game out of reach.
Just a minute after Dudek’s second, Julius Mattila grabbed his first. The play sets up pretty similarly to BC’s first — Calnan receives Matty Gaudreau’s pass as he approaches the blue line, and he’s coming in with a full head of steam. The puck bounces off his stick, but because he’s coming in so hard, the UConn defenseman’s “press coverage” of sorts leads to him getting pushed back a bit into his own end.
Calnan doesn’t shy away from the contact, and it allows Mattila, trailing the play, to take possession of the puck. One quick move to his forehand at the hashmarks puts him in a great scoring area, and all he needs to do is find an opening an send the puck through to give BC the commanding lead.
UConn Goal #2: 15:38 of the 3rd period
Miles Gendron (Corey Ronan, Max Kalter)
BC 4, UC 2
This is a bad combination of BC coasting and UConn turning on the afterburners.
Yikes. Just watch the BC legs not moving on this play until it’s too late. UConn explodes through the neutral zone and into the BC end, and half a second later they’re on a 2 on 0. Connor Moore and Luke McInnis — two freshmen — are the defensemen on this play, and they both get totally taken for a ride.
In the scheme of things, this goal didn’t matter, but that was one hell of a combination of lethary and explosiveness that leads to a pretty sick UConn goal out of absolutely nowhere.
Boston College Goal #5 (HT): 17:52 of the 3rd period
JD Dudek (Ryan Fitzgerald, Jesper Mattila)
BC 5, UC 2 — FINAL
Despite getting a goal to cut the lead back to two, UConn never really used it to spark anything resembling a comeback. Two minutes later, it was their turn to be caught on their heels.
JD Dudek has Ryan Fitzgerald to thank for his hat track. Fitzgerald The Elder had the primary assist on two of Dudek’s goals, and they were both right on the money.
On this goal, BC just moves the puck along the boards, and too many Huskies come in to collapse on the play. Dudek recognizes it and starts to break for the blue line, and Fitzgerald bloops one right out in front of him. There’s no one around to defend, and poor Huska, who really did deserve better than what he ended up with in the box score, just got completely hung out to dry.
That was that, and aside from a few moments where UConn got some things going, this was a pretty complete effort from the Eagles. UConn isn’t completely awful (they did just smoke BU 4-0 this weekend, after all) and with the game in front of another excellent crowd at the XL Center, this was a game BC wouldn’t have had much trouble dropping. But it’s another two league points, and it puts the Eagles at 6-0-1 in conference.
Things will get tougher for the Eagles this weekend. Minnesota rolls into town on Sunday afternoon in one of the most highly anticipated games of the season, and while the Gophers aren’t as scary as they have been in the past, they’re still in position to claim an NCAA tournament spot. BC will need to play at least as well as they did against the Huskies to come away with the win.