Chestnut Hill, Mass – Boston College began their quest to win a fourth consecutive Hockey East tournament title against seventh seeded Vermont. The Eagles jumped out to a lead at 14 minutes, 47 seconds as Brooks Dyroff took the puck into the zone, beat a defender and scored on the second shot. The 1-0 lead would hold through the intermission, as the Eagles and Catamounts played a defensive neutral zone game through 20 minutes. BC would score halfway through the second period, as Michael Matheson sent a bomb right into the back of the net to make it 2-0 for the Eagles. The Eagles would add another from Cam Spiro to take a 3-0 lead into the second intermission.
Vermont made it interesting in the third period, as Ben Albertson received a puck all alone in front at 4:56 of the third period to make it a 3-1 game. The Catamounts would score again, shorthanded, as Matt White converted a BC turnover to bring UVM within a goal, with just 7:23 remaining in the game.But it was not to be, as Johnny Gaudreau would seal the game for the Eagles on an empty net goal. BC defeated Vermont 4-2 and the Eagles take a 1-0 series lead into tomorrow night’s tilt at Conte Forum. The win moves BC into fifth in the Pairwise rankings.
What I Saw
- Vermont actually played a really good road first period. They held BC well in the neutral zone, but as is usually the case with Boston College they are masters of finishing their opportunities thus the Catamounts left the first down by one. The second period started off just as good, but then the Eagles used their speed and skill to their advantage, while Vermont seemed to not have an answer.
- Boston College was sloppy in their own zone for most of the game. But fortunately Vermont had trouble finishing their opportunities. The defensive zone play was uncharacteristically something to be desired, as Milner was forced to make a few great saves in the early going. If Vermont could have finished any opportunities it could have been a much different game. When they did take advantage it was much too late.
What I Thought
- Vermont needed to be more aggressive with Boston College in the first 40 minutes, as they had their chances but they were unable to find the back of the net. Credit the Eagles for getting in front of the shots but UVM only helped Boston College in missing the net and playing a complacent game in the first two periods. It was a game of missed opportunities for UVM and passed chances almost always mean losses against the Eagles.
- Boston College did a great job getting around Vermont defenders, as both the Dyroff and Spiro goals were on practically the same play. Dyroff and Spiro both went around Vermont defenders sent a shot onto Hoffman and followed up on rebounds. Both plays were great examples of why BC is so good at winning, as they just stay with it for the full 60 minutes and through the entirety of a single play.
- The Catamounts made an attempt in the third period to come back in the contest, but the effort was not enough. Midway through the third period, the Catamounts were given a golden opportunity on the 5 on 3. At the time, the game was 3-1 in favor of BC, but Vermont has struggled on the specialty teams all season and did again in this contest. They were unable to capitalize on the opportunity and they went 0-7 on the power-play in the contest. To say the power-play was a difference in the game is an understatement, in the case of Vermont.
What They Said
UVM coach Kevin Sneddon said,
“Quite often you see the top two lines of Boston College beat you, but tonight I feel like we were just ouwilled by the BC third and fourth lines. I thought we did a great job handling Gaudreau, Mullane and Arnold. But you can’t give a team a three goal. I dont think we played with enough heart and passion in the first 40 minutes.”
“It would have been a different game if we would have capitalized on our early opportunities. Parker did a great job for them, not letting any of those in. It certainly could have been a different game, but they capitalized and we did not.”
BC coach Jerry York said,
“Always a different type of atmosphere in the playoffs. It is always difficult to knock a team out in the playoffs. Vermont never quit and slowly got back in the game. We were able to weather the storm after the shorthanded goal.”
“Parker (Milner) played really well for us tonight in goal and we got two big goals from guys that haven’t scored a lot this season.”
What Else You Should Know
Boston College and Vermont will play game two tomorrow night at Conte Forum. Boston College will be looking to sweep the series, while Vermont will look to capitalize better and send the series to a decisive game three, on Sunday.
BC has now won nine games in a row in the Hockey East tournament. The current BC seniors have not lost a game in the conference tournament.
Vermont has scored two shorthanded goals this season and both of them have been by Matt White.