CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Yale outshot Boston College 48-22 on Friday night, but the teams ended up with a 3-3 tie. The Bulldogs held a 16-7 shot advantage in the first, but it was the Eagles who took a 1-0 lead into the break after Bill Arnold buried a rebound in front. BC added to its lead 5:31 into the second when Brendan Silk led a rush down the left wing and knocked in his own rebound. Colin Dueck cut the lead in half just 17 seconds later when he fired a shot trough traffic that found its way past Parker Milner.
The Bulldogs (7-4-3) tied the game six minutes after that when Ryan Obuchowski collected a BC (12-3-2) turnover and beat Milner from the point for his first career goal. Just 1:13 later, Andrew Miller gave Yale a 3-2 lead with a snipe from the left circle. Steven Whitney netted the equalizer with 3:27 left in the second when his one-timer deflected off a Yale defender and past Jeff Malcolm. Milner made a career-high 45 saves in the tie.
What I saw
-BC’s Michael Matheson was ejected for a hit to the head on Kenny Agostino at the end of the second period, giving Yale a five-minute power play to start the third. The Bulldogs failed to capitalize, though. They moved the puck well and generated a couple good chances, but for the most part there was a little too much passing and not enough shooting. The Bulldogs got another power play just a few minutes after Matheson’s major expired, but once again, they couldn’t do anything with it. They registered seven shots on goal on those two power plays, but only one or two of them really challenged Milner.
-With two of his top penalty-killing defensemen unavailable (Matheson because of the ejection and Patch Alber because of an injury), Jerry York moved forwards Steven Whitney and Kevin Hayes back to defense on those two penalty kills in the third. Freshman defensemen Colin Sullivan and Travis Jeke haven’t seen much time on the PK this season, so York elected to go with forwards who see regular PK time instead. Both Whitney and Hayes did well in the new roles, as they helped clean up rebounds and clear the zone.
What I thought
-The Bulldogs had a lot more shots and a lot more possession, and were certainly the better team for most of the night. But that said, the number of real quality scoring chances were actually pretty close. When the Eagles did get into the offensive zone, they were able to get to the net and make Malcolm work for his 19 saves. At the other end, BC’s defense bent, a lot, but it at least managed to keep most of Yale’s shots to the perimeter. In the end, Yale attempted 13 shots from the grade-A area and BC attempted 12.
-Since winning 10 straight from mid-October to late November, the Eagles have gone just 2-2-2 (with one of those wins coming against lowly Alabama-Huntsville) and haven’t looked very good at all for much of that stretch. There are certainly areas they need to improve — York said that refiguring the defense with Alber out and finding some scoring depth are both works in progress — but it’s not time to panic. Johnny Gaudreau is arguably the best player in the country, so the fact that the offense has taken a bit of a dip with him at World Juniors isn’t surprising. On defense, BC is now starting four freshmen with Alber out. They’re suddenly all being asked to play bigger roles. It’s only natural that some of them are struggling with it. They’ll get better. BC always gets better once the stretch run arrives. Next weekend’s series against New Hampshire should give us a better indication of where the Eagles are than any of their last three games have. They’ll have Gaudreau back, and the freshmen D will have another week of practice under their belt.
What they said
-Yale coach Keith Allain on his team battling back from 2-0: “I was really pleased with that, moreso because I thought we were playing pretty well and still not getting the results. That sometimes can be tougher on you mentally than just playing poorly and not getting the results. I thought we showed a lot of resolve. Getting that first goal very quickly after they scored their second was a big moment for us.”
-BC coach Jerry York: “We played Yale last year at Yale, and it was a close game, a one-goal game. It’s become a pretty good rivalry for us. I was very impressed with their club tonight, especially their power plays in the second period. We had to make some real adjustments because they were breaking us down pretty easily in the second period on their power plays. … If they keep playing the way they’re playing, they’ll be in one of the regionals. That’s our objective — to get to one of those regionals also.”
What else you should know
-BC was without Johnny Gaudreau (world juniors) and Patch Alber (torn meniscus). Isaac MacLeod (shoulder) returned to the lineup after missing the Mariucci Classic with a shoulder injury.