The Boston College Eagles and Harvard University Crimson entered Friday afternoon with stomachs full of turkey and equally full desires for victory. Harvard was riding a four-game losing streak and BC was on a seven-game winning streak. While going in opposite directions, the teams looked to close out November the right way. They played hard, but neither came out victorious.
The first period took some time to ramp up. Both sides looked sluggish to open. Midway through the period, the pace picked up with someone one on one chances and wicked shots. Merrick Madsen and Joseph Woll were up to the task in their respective nets. Madsen did break on one BC shot before the end of the first though, a Jacob Tortora left circle shot with 3:12 left. BC took that lead into intermission.
Harvard controlled the pace of the second period, but not the scoreboard. Adam Baughman opened the frame with a slapshot that beat Woll for his first collegiate goal and a 1-1 tie only 1:21 into the period. BC drew a penalty when Baughman was called for holding and looked to untie the game. Instead, Harvard claimed momentary momentum. Ryan Donato lugged the puck into the BC end on a penalty kill, fired it on Woll, and Michael Floodstrand put in a rebound for a 2-1 Harvard lead. Casey Fitzgerald also committed a holding penalty on the play, so Harvard took the lead and promised themselves time on the power play after killing the remainder of Baughman’s infraction. Alas, the momentum was merely temporary.
Nine seconds after the Floodstrand goal, David Cotton carried the puck into the Harvard zone, found Julius Mattila, and the puck got by Madsen for a tie game. 2:50 after that, the Cotton, Mattila, Tortora line struck again with a Cotton put back off a Madsen save. BC was outshot 10-4 in the period but took a 3-2 lead into the second intermission.
The third period was just as eventful as the second. Chris Grando drew the only penalty of the period on a boarding call 3:03 into the frame. Harvard made the Eagles pay with a goal by Benjamin Solin, the first of his collegiate career.
BC evened up the pace, only outshooting the Crimson 8-7 for the period. They looked to land the killing blow with a more impressive play from the top line. This time, Tortora carried the puck to the slot, found an open Mattila, and the Finnish Sophomore beat Madsen for a 4-3 lead with 5:35 left in the game.
Harvard did not scare easily and fought back. Jack Badini snuck by three BC defenders and beat Woll with a backhander to tie the game with 2:42 left in regulation. Both teams had some great chances to win in regulation, but neither did. Overtime was needed.
Harvard controlled most of the five-minute extra session, outshooting the Eagles 6-3 and play two of the five minutes on a power play. Luke McInnis was called for a slashing call at 1:39 of the OT, and Harvard made Woll sweat.
The St. Louis native made 6 of his 28 saves in the extra session and helped to kill off the penalty. Casey Fitzgerald almost ended the game on a shorthanded rush, but Merrick Madsen diffused the chance with a great save. BC got some chances in the final seconds, but could not get another goal. The game ended in a 4-4 tie, ending both team’s streaks.
— BC Men's Hockey (@BC_MHockey) November 25, 2017
Crimson Coach Ted Donato was complimentary of his team’s effort, but not overly pleased.
“You’re never happy with a tie. But when you’re down 4-3 late, we’ll take the tie. I like the resilience our guys have shown. We’ve been playing pretty well and just didn’t get the bounces. It seems like we created a lot of our own problems and Joseph Woll stole two great shots for us tonight.”
Freshman Jack Badini had a goal and two assists for three points and his linemate, Nathan Krusko, had three assists, tying his career high in points for a game and setting his career high for assists in a game. Badini spoke highly of his line and play after the game.
“Each game I’ve played I’ve felt more confident and O certainly felt well physically. It’s nice to get on the scoresheet but it’s a result of the hard work. The results will come. We’ve played well together. I’ve played with Krusko all season and (Ty) Pelton-Byce jumped on with us recently. We bring a lot to the table, in terms of being a two-way line.”
Harvard ends their four-game losing streak, running their record to 2-5-1 overall. The Crimson open the month of December with a weekend trip to ECAC foes Quinnipiac and Princeton. Puck drops on both Friday and Saturday night at 7 pm.
Like Donato, Eagles Coach Jerry York was satisfied after the game, but not wildly happy.
“I thought that was a solid college hockey game. I would’ve liked to generate more shots, but that was a good effort, especially by our top line.”
David Cotton had a goal and three assists on the game, a career high for points in a game and tied for the most assists in a game. He spoke about the mentality of a back and forth game and how well his line has played.
“I think we’ve been clicking the last two weeks. It was only a matter of time before the puck went in the net. You have to keep a level head playing this game.”
Boston College’s winning streak ends and their record now stands at 8-5-2. They still do not have an out of conference victory. The Eagles will play a home and home next weekend against their archrivals, the Boston University Terriers. Puck drops on both nights at 7 pm.