BOSTON – Matthews Arena was full to capacity on Saturday night as the top-ranked Boston College Eagles stormed in with hopes of earning their second Hockey East win of the weekend and the game – in front of a sold-out crowd of 4,746 – sure lived up to the hype, coming down to the waning stages.
Last season, the teams met head-to-head in five grueling games with Northeastern winning just one of them in their home rink (a 2-1 victory on Feb. 19) and this time around, Bill Arnold tipped in a Patch Alber shot from the point for a 4-3 overtime victory.
“I feel like we were confident the whole time,” the Needham, Mass. native and Eagles forward said after the game. “Even when we were down 3-1, we never got down and stayed positive…We just kept getting more and more confident. It was a good win.”
“The game reflected really well on our team,” said Boston College head coach Jerry York whose team improved to 5-1-0 on the season, including a perfect 3-for-3 in Hockey East play. “We just found a way to win a hockey game that we found slipping away from us…The ability to sustain that energy level impressed myself as a coach.”
The Eagles took a 1-0 lead very early on in the contest as Kevin Hayes turned defense into offense with a wrist shot from the right circle at the 1:55 mark of the first period. Senior Chris Kreider found Hayes for an open look on cage and he clearly beat Chris Rawlings for the game’s first score.
After BC freshman Destry Straight was called for roughing, Northeastern responded quickly to tie the game at 4:50 as the Huskies barraged Parker Milner with several chances before Steve Quailer pounced on a loose puck on the right post.
Matthews Arena erupted as the Huskies took a 2-1 lead with 2:04 left in the first period on a great play by the Northeastern offense. Freshman Ludwig Karlsson slipped while leading the rush into the zone, but classmate Joseph Manno picked up the puck and beat Milner five-hole for the go-ahead score.
“Joe Manno comes with some intensity,” Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan said. “He’s strong on the puck, a toughness to his game…He just drives to the net, but we’re working on him with his discipline [on the ice in general.”
Despite closing the first period with a 2-1 deficit, the Eagles held a total advantage of 30-13 in the stanza, including 13-10 in shots on net.
The Huskies upped their lead to two goals at the 8:21 mark of the second period as Karlsson found Manno for his second goal of the season and his career. As Karlsson entered the zone, he found the Montreal, Quebec native in between the circles, beating Milner at the top of his crease.
Madigan said that they key to that play is simple, saying “good things happen when you drive to the net…” and that was evident as the line generated two goals on the evening in their first contest together.
Rawlings had a strong stanza, turning aside all 22 total chances that the Eagles threw his way. BC held the advantage by a 17-8 clip in shots on goal.
The Eagles cut their deficit to 3-2 at the 8:04 mark of the final period as Barry Almeida took a pass from Paul Carey and beat Rawlings on the five-hole.
“We played well for two periods,” added Madigan. “We got pucks down low…and our guys did a real good job that way.”
“In the third period, we got a couple power plays and we could not capitalize on our chances…I thought a little bit of the momentum, for them, shifted when they scored that second goal. Then, they started coming a little bit stronger.”
At 11:09, BC squared the score at 3-3 as Brian Dumoulin cashed in for his second goal of the season on a scrum in front. The Biddeford, Maine native took a pass from Pat Mullane and drove to the net for the score.
The Eagles dominated the overtime period with four shots on goal and Arnold’s tip-in was his fifth goal of the season and third in two games.
“We talk a lot about going to the net and getting bodies to the net,” Arnold said. “So, I went to the net and Patch got the puck down there. When you do that good things happen.”
Overall, BC held a 45-22 shots advantage in the contest and a 75-44 total chances edge in the game. Chris Rawlings made 39 saves between the pipes for the Huskies, while Milner stopped 19.
“Obviously, there are no moral victories in here,” Madigan said. “I thought we played well as a team and did some of the things we talked about last night’s game. Losing a two-goal lead in your own building is never a good thing.”
The Huskies return to the ice next Saturday for a road contest at New Hampshire.
When asked about the mental toll a situation such as this takes on a team, Madigan said that his team is “resilient.”
“It’s a tough loss, a game that we obviously wanted after last night’s loss which was not up to our standards…That’s the good thing about this league – every game is tough.”
The Eagles will finish their two-game road swing as they take on new head coach Norm Bazin and the UMass-Lowell River Hawks in the first half of a home-and-home series on Friday at the Tsongas Center.