NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - Boston College and Merrimack College entered Friday night’s tilt at Lawler Arena in North Andover, MA at No. 1 and 2 in Hockey East respectively. The winner of the battle would either retain first place, in Boston College’s case, or take over first in Merrimack’s case. Boston College is coming off their fourth straight Beanpot title, while Merrimack is on a four game home win streak.
Prior to the game, Boston College released an official statement about Kevin Hayes. The team has suspended the junior forward indefinitely, due to violating a team rule. Hayes had played in all 26 games this season, tallying 24 points (6g, 18a). This suspension leaves a big whole in the offense for Boston College, both on the stat sheet and on the ice. Hayes currently sits at fourth on the team in points.
After a slow scoreless first period, Boston College was the first to get on the board at 8:58 in the second period. The initial shot trickled into the net, however needed to be reviewed by the officials. After a lengthy review, the goal stood and Boston College took the lead, 1-0. Through the first two periods, both teams had about even chances. Merrimack College had the slight advantage, 46-44.
Sam Marotta and Parker Milner both looked outstanding through the first two periods, however Milner had the slight end, as Boston College lead, 1-0. Seven minutes into the third period, Merrimack forward, John Heffernan netted the game equalizer and his fourth goal on the season. Rhett Bly sent a pass across the ice and Heffernan lifted the puck past Milner’s glove side shoulder. With 2:57 remaining in regulation, Heffernan was whistled for slashing, but embellishing the call was Boston College’s Johnny Gaudreau. With both teams getting matching penalties, the ice was wide open, giving the teams the opportunity to put a goal on the board and skate away with the victory.
Sixty minutes passed and neither team was able to net the game winner and were forced to skate in overtime. After four minutes of back and forth hockey, Boston College’s Pat Mullane fell on Marotta and up went the referee’s arm, sending Merrimack College on the power play. After going 0-for-7 on the power play through the first three periods, Merrimack looked to net the game-winning-goal with the extra attacker in OT. 22 seconds into the Merrimack PP, Connor Toomey tallied the game-winning-goal on a pass from Mike Collins and Jordan Heywood. With the victory, Merrimack College moved into sole possession of first place in Hockey East.
Merrimack College has no taken points in eight of the last nine games and five straight victories at home. The Warriors now sit one point ahead of Boston College.