Usually there are good ties and bad ties and not much in between. Saturday night's 5-5 draw at Merrimack's Lawler Arena might have been one of those in between ties.
On the one hand, BC played a team that was sitting just above UMass for 2nd to last in the Hockey East standings, but on the other hand, the Eagles were forced to come back twice at a rink that has historically been a tough road game. In the end, Boston College did hold a late lead, but Merrimack scored with the extra attacker to earn the draw and left BC with an unsatisfying 5-5 tie on the road.
Boston College Goal #1: 2:23 of the 1st period
Austin Cangelosi (Miles Wood, Michael Kim)
BC 1, MC 0
Usually the key to taking a win at Lawler is scoring early and forcing the Warriors to open up, allowing you to pull away. BC did get the opening goal early, but that's not quite how the game played out.
A lot of BC's goals lately have come from players putting huge effort into going hard to the net and getting rewarded for it. That's just what happens here. Cangelos is on the right wing on this breakout play and blows around his defender past the blue line to get in position. He gets a stick on the goal for a nice deflection and BC is up 1-0.
Merrimack Goal #1: 14:38 of the 1st period
Brian Christie (Jace Hennig, Ben Bahe)
BC 1, MC 1
Neither team would ever pull away by more than a goal in this game. Merrimack scored next to tie things up before the end of the first period on a scramble out front that BC never could clear. Christie and his defender end up standing right out front for several seconds before the puck trickles over, and it's the yellow jersey that gets a stick on it first.
The first period was close and slow with only 15 combined shots on goal -- just the way you'd draw up a game at Lawler.
Boston College Goal #2: 0:46 of the 2nd period
Ryan Fitzgerald (Matty Gaudreau)
BC 2, MC 1
Just 46 seconds into the 2nd period, BC jumped back out in front as the Eagles caught Merrimack sleeping on a line change. Ryan Fitzgerald skated ahead at the blue line all on his own and Gaudreau found him up ice.
There's no play Fitzgerald can make other than to just shoot, and he rips off a snipe that beats Merrimack goalie Drew Vogler down low.
Merrimack Goal #2 (PPG): 9:20 of the 2nd period
Mathieu Foget (Brett Seney, Jared Kolquist)
BC 2, MC 2
Back and forth we go. BC finally gives up a power play goal, the first they've given up in weeks, to allow Merrimack to tie the score once again.
For the most part BC is defending the penalty kill well, with the middle sufficiently clogged up so that the Warriors can't center the puck. But a no-look pass behind the net finds Foget on a bad angle right on the goal line, and he somehow manages to find enough of a hole to beat Demko for the goal.
Merrimack Goal #3 (PPG): 11:56 of the 2nd period
Hampus Gustafsson (Brett Seney, Jared Kolquist)
MC 3, BC 2
Another BC penalty halfway through the game saw the Eagles give up their second consecutive PPG. BC nearly kills it, but Merrimack, sensing the impending end of the man advantage, just goes to the net and hopes for the best.
There's another bad angle shot, and in the traffic out front, Demko can't control the rebound. Gustafsson ends up in front of the net at the right time, and Merrimack has their first lead of the night.
Boston College Goal #3 (PPG): 15:54 of the 2nd period
Ryan Fitzgerald (Casey Fitzgerald, Scott Savage)
BC 3, MC 3
BC's penalty kill might have let them down, but the resurgent 2nd half power play was a big reason the Eagles were able to come away with a point.
Ryan Fitzgerald makes it all happen. FItzgerald The Younger sends the puck down to his brother and goes hard to the net looking for a pass, but it's not there and Casey heads back to his point.
Ryan makes a couple moves to shake the defender, and Casey going back to the point momentarily gives Ryan just a bit more space. Ryan takes advantage, takes another stride or two toward the net, and fires away to level the score at 3.
Merrimack Goal #4: 16:13 of the 2nd period
Mathieu Foget (Justin Hussar, Drew Vogler)
MC 4, BC 3
Just when you think BC is going to take control of the game, there's a Merrimack goal to set the Eagles back.
Seconds after BC tied the score, Merrimack went right down the ice to retake the lead. Goaltender Drew Vogler starts the breakout pass and BC goes for the play to keep the puck in the zone.
Unfortunately, they whiff, and the Warriors are off to the races with a 3 on 2. They execute on the centering pass, and by the time the shot is away, they're right on top of Demko and there's really nothing he can do.
Boston College Goal #4: 1:56 of the 3rd period
Adam Gilmour (Miles Wood, Austin Cangelosi)
BC 4, MC 4
Fresh out of the box after a 10 minute misconduct for mouthing off to the refs in the 2nd period, Adam GIlmour starts off the third period right with an early goal to once again tie up the game.
He doesn't do much, just takes the puck off the body of the Merrimack player who blocked the initial shot from Wood, and has another go at the net. The puck looks like it either takes a deflection or comes off Gilmour's stick weird, because it comes in like a changeup on Vogler and he's caught going the wrong way.
Boston College Goal #5 (PPG): 8:11 of the 3rd period
Casey Fitzgerald (Ryan Fitzgerald, Ian McCoshen)
BC 5, MC 4
BC's power play comes through again to give them the lead in the third period.
This is a pretty conventional power play chance, with a couple passes up top to open up space for the shot from the middle into traffic. Fitzgerald The Elder's backhand pass while skating in toward the faceoff circle is what makes this play happen, because the Merrimack defender is going in with him leaving a gaping hole up top for Fitzgerald The Younger to fire away.
He could actually skate in much father than he does if he wants to, but it doesn't matter -- the nasty wrist shot goes all the way through untouched to pop the water bottle for yet another lead change.
That power play is absolutely cruising in the second half at 33.3% since the start of the new year, good for #1 in the nation. Where in the world did that come from?
Merrimack Goal #5 (EAG): 19:05 of the 3rd period
Jonathan Lashyn (Marc Biega, Brett Seney)
BC 5, MC 5 -- FINAL (OT)
BC held the lead for almost the rest of the way before their inability to get an insurance goal finally bit them at the wrong time.
With the goalie pulled, the Warriors win the draw back to the point and throw what looks like a totally harmless shot from distance in on Demko. Lashyn, the defender who takes the shot, gets it through everything somehow to tie the game for good.
BC had a chance or two late in the overtime, but lost any chance of pulling out the win on a couple misplayed pucks that trickled out of their offensive zone just when the Eagles were starting to put together a play.
It was a frustrating toe for sure, but nonetheless it does extend BC's unbeaten streak to 12 games with an 8-0-4 record. 3 points and a series win is always nice, but you would have liked to have seen BC take all 4 and solidify their position atop the Hockey East standings.
BC has just four games left in the regular season with with a pair of games each against Vermont and Lowell (three of which are on the road). The Eagles dropped a point to Notre Dame on the weekend, so they'll need some help from the Irish's opponents over the next couple weekends to claim the Hockey East regular season title.