Chestnut Hill, MA – 18 days off due to COVID-19 Protocols only slowed the Boston College Eagles for about two periods against the Brown University Bears on Tuesday night at Conte Forum. The Eagles pulled away for a 5-2 win over Brown in the third period. It wasn’t all rust that kept the Eagles grounded through forty minutes of play. First-year goalie Mathieu Caron kept the Bears within striking distance until the three-goal outburst in the final twenty minutes.
Caron, and the Bears, came into the game riding a two-game unbeaten streak in which they shut out Harvard and Dartmouth this past weekend. Marc McLaughlin put that streak to bed at 4:54 of the first period when he redirected a Patrick Giles prayer past Caron for his 10th goal of the season. Giles carried into the Bears zone and flung the puck towards the Bears net as McLaughlin streaked in and got his stick on the bouncing puck.
His counterpart Eric Dop looked shaky at times in the opening period. A big save on a Jonny Russell breakaway seemed to settle the graduate transfer student around the halfway mark. Russell tipped the puck away from a BC defenseman at the Bears’ blue line and raced in alone on Dop. Dop came out past his crease to thwart Russell.
Brown tied the game at 14:48 of the second period when Justin Jallen‘s wrist shot from the slot deflected off BC’s Jack McBain and beat Dop glove-side high. Tristan Crozier assisted on Jallen’s third goal of the season.
The tie didn’t last long as the Eagles pulled ahead at 16:43. Giles fired a shot from the slot that beat Caron through the legs. McLaughlin was initially credited with the goal as he set a screen in front of the Bears goalie. It was McLaughlin’s goal until post-game when the official scorer reviewed it and determined it was a Brown stick that tipped the puck and not the Eagles senior center. The score would become Giles’ seventh of the year.
At 2:56 of the third period, the Eagles pulled away for good when Colby Ambrosio finished off a nifty tic-tac-toe passing display at the side of the Bears’ net to make it 3-1. Casey Carreau carried into the Brown zone and dropped a pass back to Sam Sternschein as he came across the left circle. Sternschein quickly fired a pass down low for Ambrosio to chip past a diving Caron.
Just two minutes later, Nikita Nesterenko one-timed a Brandon Kruse pass past Caron to make it 4-1 Eagles. Nesterenko skated into the slot where he snapped Kruse’s pass from the left corner past a sprawling Russell and beat Caron at the far post. Kruse and McBain assisted on Nesterenko’s fourth of the season.
McLaughlin would make it 5-1 at 13:35 when he corralled a Trevor Kuntar pass from the neutral zone and skated in alone on Caron. McLaughlin would beat Caron five-hole for his eleventh goal of the year. Giles had the secondary helper on the goal.
Brown didn’t quit as they pulled back a goal nine seconds later. Michael Maloney toe-dragged on Dop right-to-left in front of the BC net and roofed a wrist shot high at the near side post to make it 5-2. Wyatt Schlaht and Luke Krys assisted Maloney’s fourth goal of the campaign.
Eagles coach Jerry York touched on all the bases during his post-game press conference.
“We were talking to our guys a few different times over the last week that it’s going to be 18 days between games. There’s a certain amount of rust that is there for us as a coaching staff, and for the players, it’s a long time. Now throw in the fact that the COVID was restricting guys to their dorms for ten days. I thought, with that as a background, we had tons of energy. And beat a pretty good Brown team. They shut out Harvard. They shut out Dartmouth. I’m very pleased with our overall game.”
“Even though Eric (Dop) only had 16 saves, he had some dandies,” said York in praise of his starting goalie. “One was a complete breakaway. He was one of my “stars of the game.”
“Marc (McLaughlin) had two goals, (Patrick) Giles with one. I thought that line (along with Trevor Kuntar) was very good tonight.”
The Eagles wrap up the first half of their season on Friday night with a Hockey East showdown at rival Boston University. The Eagles will then be off until December 30 when they face Mercyhurst in the Ledyard Classic at Dartmouth’s Thompson Arena.
Brown will face-off against Yale in New Haven, CT, to conclude their first half on Friday. They will then host Boston U. on December 31 at 2 pm. EST at Meehan Auditorium in Providence, RI.