Chestnut Hill, MA- The Boston College Eagles have written a weird story this season. They opened 1-5-1 in October, finished 0-7-3 out of Hockey East, and ended the Beanpot in last place. However, the Eagles still found a way to win the Hockey East Regular Season crown. On Friday night, the Eagles routed the University of Maine 6-3 to clinch the top seed. The teams concluded the regular season with a matchup at Conte Forum on Saturday night. The game was closer, more physical, and more competitive, but ultimately saw the same result as Friday night.
The game opened up slowly. The teams only traded six shots through the first half of the period. BC landed the first punch just after the halfway point of the period. David Cotton carried the puck from behind the net to the right doorstep and fired a puck through Maine’s freshman goalie, Jeremy Swayman. BC kept up the attack, outshooting Maine 10-5 for the period. Swayman stopped every other shot, but Maine could not generate the offense to get on the board before the intermission.
Early in the second period, Brady Keeper committed a holding penalty. Twenty four seconds into the power play, Christopher Brown played a puck with a baseball swing to put BC up 2-0. BC again continued the assault, outshooting the Black Bears 13-9. Maine did tilt the ice late in the period and took advantage of a BC penalty. In the waning moments of a Jesper Mattila induced power play, Rob Michel lasered one home to get Maine on the scoreboard. Maine could not get another by Joseph Woll, and the Eagles maintained a 2-1 lead entering the third period.
Maine produced the momentum and pounded Woll with 11 shots, including two power plays, but could not get a puck through the suddenly hot sophomore. Woll stopped every shot he faced, and Maine committed a few mistakes in the third period that stopped equalizing attempts. Graham McPhee decked Rob Michel into the boards and was called for a major penalty with 33.9 seconds left in the game. With the goalie pulled and on the power play, Maine did not generate a shot. Instead, they iced the puck late and failed to capitalize on the chance to tie the game. As the final buzzer sounded, Maine threw a puck toward the net, but as Woll covered it, some players traded punches and the band stopped the celebratory song as the officials sorted out the penalty. Afterward, the band resumed, closing BC’s 2-1 victory over Maine in the final regular season game of 2018.
Eagles Head Coach Jerry York was happy with his team after the game. “I like our team. I’ve been saying that for a while now. We’ve got a hot goalie entering the playoffs and we’re hoping for Julius Mattila to recover from Mono in time for the playoffs in two weeks.” The Eagles complete the regular season with an 18-13-3 overall record and an 18-6-0 Hockey East Record. They claim their 19th conference regular season championship and third consecutive. The Eagles host a Quarter Final series on March 9th-11th at Conte Forum.
The loss ends Maine’s regular season with a 16-14-4 overall record and a 10-11-3 Hockey East record. The Black Bears showed remarkable progression from last season, with point streaks of six and nine games at different points in the season, and striking gold with Jeremy Swayman in net. The season-ending three-game losing streak to Boston College drops Maine out of a first-round bye. Maine finishes sixth in the Hockey East standings and will host an opening-round playoff series against their ancient rivals, the New Hampshire Wildcats, at the Alfond Sports Arena in Orono.
The other first round Hockey East playoff matchups see Merrimack travel to Lowell and UMass Amherst host Vermont. Providence and Northeastern are the other two teams with byes and no opponents until further notice. Boston University and Connecticut have byes and will play at Agganis Arena in two weeks.