Anyone who was worried that BC would come off the two week break and have to shake off a bit of rust was quickly reassured. The Eagles came out sharp, with tape-to-tape passing and physical play, jumping out to a strong 4-0 lead and holding on for a solid 4-2 win over over the Catamounts at Conte Forum.
It was a crisp, very well executed first period for BC, but it was a beautiful individual effort that got the party started.
Boston College Goal #1: 9:38 of the 1st period
Noah Hanifin (Michael Matheson, Austin Cangelosi)
BC 1, UVM 0
Noah Hanifin is one hell of a hockey player. He just does it all on this goal.
He takes the initial pass from behind the blue line and goes coast to coast. First he burns past one Vermont defender and makes a little swim move past a second, skating deep into the corner. Nice work.
But what's really impressive is his eye for the play. He's way, way deep into the corner once he gets by the second Catamount, but instead of just skating around behind the net hoping for something to develop, he takes what Vermont gives him -- a vast expanse of open ice between him and Santaguida.
Hanifin roofs, and it's 1-0 Eagles.
Boston College Goal #2: 1:15 of the 2nd period
Zach Sanford (Unassisted)
BC 2, UVM 0
That was all the scoring in the first period, but it could have been much worse for the Catamounts. BC hit a couple posts and Santaguida was giving up some awful rebounds.
Once the puck dropped on the 2nd period, it was total chaos. Zach Sanford kicked things off right off his own faceoff. He wins it forward, essentially passing it up to himself. The one Vermont player who can do anything at all to stop him from going to the net instead has to deal with Tuch on the far side, so Sanford can just go to town.
Santaguida has the near post totally sealed off, so Sanford quickly wraps it right around him, scoring the goal to put BC up 2.
Boston College Goal #3: 3:20 of the 2nd period
Zach Sanford (Noah Hanifin, Michael Matheson)
BC 3, UVM 0
Two minutes later, it's Sanford again, this time taking the pass across the blue line from Hanifin.
This is a really, really well executed play by BC to get around Vermont standing up three men on the blue line. All three Catamounts are almost stationary, and the Eagles recognize that. Hanifin finds Sanford in stride and Sanford turns on the afterburners.
Vermont can't catch up to that from a standing start, and a 1 on 3 turns into a clean breakway, which Sanford finishes nicely.
Boston College Goal #4 (PPG): 4:08 of the 2nd period
Ryan Fitzgerald (Michael Matheson, Teddy Doherty)
BC 4, UVM 0
The goals are coming faster and faster! This time it's just 48 seconds from horn to horn, and BC gets the power play goal.
BC's power play tonight was the absolute best it's been all season. This goal does a great job of showing their quick passing, which the Catamounts just did not have an answer for. It winds up with Fitzgerald, and with Vermont admiring the passing, he has a chance to skate in from the half wall almost to the slot, where he fires off a goal that essentially puts the game away.
That's not to say it wouldn't get interesting, though.
Vermont Goal #1: 4:58 of the 2nd period
Brady Shaw (Alexxxxxxxxxx Privitera)
BC 4, UVM 1
Another quick goal, this time 50 seconds later, and this time it's Vermont finally getting one of their own.
This one's tough. It's hard to see in the GIF but I think the puck actually takes a funny bounce on its way in to Demko. Demko just flat out misses it, it hits up under his arm and barely trickles through into the net.
It may have been a garbage goal, but that, combined with Santaguida getting pulled for Hoffman, really seemed to breathe new life into the Catamounts.
Vermont Goal #2: 8:07 of the 2nd period
Brendan Bradley (Yvan Pattyn, Jake Fallon)
BC 4, UVM 2
This time, there's nothing at all Demko can do. BC has #15 Pattyn safely pinned along the boards where you wouldn't expect anything to happen. He throws it on net just for the hell of it right as Bradley, the eventual goal scorer, frees himself of a BC skater.
Bradley gets a stick on it -- it's close to a high stick, but I think it was okay -- which Demko is lucky to get a piece of in the first place. But he can't control the rebound on a deflection like that and Bradley isn't picked up by the BC defenders quickly enough to prevent him from throwing the puck behind Demko.
Things got a bit nervy there for the rest of the period. Vermont had a few more chances but Demko came up big. But despite the Catamounts cutting the BC lead in half in pretty short order, it never really did feel like heart attack time.
A big reason for that was the third period, where BC did a great job clamping down on Vermont's chances, and Sanford actually had few great shots at completing his hat trick. So nice work by BC to finish the game strong after the second period blip.
The teams will rest up tonight before going back at it tomorrow evening at 7pm back at Conte Forum. You can catch this one on NESN -- no need to drop another $10 for Hockey East's frustratingly mediocre stream.