CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – On a night that the power delayed the game for nearly 20 minutes in the middle of the first period, the Boston College Eagles struggled to get any offense going for nearly 59 minutes of gameplay. In the end it was two goals in 44 seconds that did the trick, as they defeated the Minutemen 2-1 at Conte Forum.
UMass needed nearly eight minutes to register their first shot in the first period but when they did they quickly found their legs and took the play on BC for the next 50 minutes of play. The big effort in the first two periods was wasted in just 44 seconds late in the second period as Boston College would score two quick goals. The first being a goal right off the faceoff by Pat Mullane and the second being a snipe shot from the high, left slot by Tommy Cross. Johnny Gaudreau assisted on both goals for the Eagles and it was the third line of the Eagles that proved to be the difference in the game.
In the third period the Minutemen made it a game by scoring a goal seven minutes in to make it a 2-1 game but it was not to be as the Eagles proceeded to take a 1-0 series lead over UMass. Boston College improves their record to 26-10-1, while the Minutemen fall to 13-17-5. Tomorrow night UMass will need a win to stay alive and Boston College can clinch the series with a win. The win kept Boston College in first place in the Pairwise rankings.
What I saw
-Umass stifled the potent Boston College offense to the tune 18 shots, including just eight in the final two periods. This defensive effort was fueled by a strong fore-check that kept Boston College from its normal transition game, in which they are so dangerous. It is unfortunate that this effort was for naught in just 44 seconds but thus is hockey. When Kevin Boyle saw the puck he stopped it and his effort should not be missed in the game despite the fact he saw very little action in the final two periods.
-Boston College could in get nothing going offensively for most of the game. It was the third line that proved to be the difference in the game and they had most of the quality opportunities for Boston College. The first and second lines were dormant for long periods of play. They were unable to create many solid opportunities for the Eagles but the Eagles found a way to win despite the lack of offense.
What I thought
-UMass did a great job of getting Boston College out of their game. The transition game that has become the staple of most Boston College wins over the years was a nonfactor in the game. It was on two faceoffs, in the offensive zone, that Boston College did the damage that was needed to win the game. The game was played at the pace that UMass would have liked they just had no finishing ability on the multiple chances they did have, nor could they solve Parker Milner in the Boston College net.
-Boston College received a great goaltending effort one more time by Parker Milner. His play in recent weeks has been nothing short of phenomenal and tonight was no different. The Minutemen controlled play for long stretches of the game but UMass was unable to solve him. He made glove save after pad save after stick save to keep BC in the game, and when BC receives such an effort they normally are able to take advantage of it, in which they did.
What they said
UMass coach Don Cahoon said, “It was commendable that we created as many opportunities than we did but it was frustrating that we couldn’t finish them off. We will pack up our stuff and come back tomorrow. I think we were hungry and it showed because we played hard.”
BC coach Jerry York said, It was playoff type hockey tonight and you could just feel the playoff type intensity from both teams. It is not very often during the season that there are so few penalties in a game. Both teams were disciplined and every shift was a battle out there. We had a good turn of events when the refs looked at the replay of the UMass goal, which nullified the goal. It gave us life and Johnny Gaudreau’s line got two goals in one shift with some outstanding play in a short duration and It held up.”
BC defenseman Tommy Cross said, “It was nothing more than typical playoff hockey.”
What they didn’t say
Danny Hobbs took a puck to the glove midway through the third period and never returned to the game. Tj Syner double shifted for the last few shifts. Hobbs is an important player for the Minutemen and his presence will surely be missed if he is unable to return. The value of a player in the top six forwards is one of importance for any team and any loss to a top six can hinder a team’s chances to score with all their lines, as it is a ripple down effect throughout the lineup.
What else you should know
Boston College won their 12th straight game, with Parker Milner in net. They can clinch a series victory with a win on Saturday night.
UMass needs a win to keep their season alive. Friday night they were able to compete with the Eagles on road ice, which is a positive going into Saturday night’s key tilt. The Minutemen have not won at Conte Forum since November of 2007. The tilt hangs their season in flux and they will just need a repeat of tonight’s performance to give them a great opportunity to win the game on Saturday night.