Chestnut Hill, MA- Boston College was among the hottest teams in the nation at the Christmas break. The Eagles sported a nine game winning streak, including four wins over Top-10 opponents; toppling Providence, Harvard and Notre Dame twice. On Saturday afternoon, the Eagles welcomed Vermont to Conte Forum and worked off some rust to extend their winning streak to ten.
UVM broke the ice with a Vlad Dzhioshvili goal 4:59 into the game. It took a while for BC to get their first shot on Vermont goalie Stefanos Lekkas, but their first was a Ron Greco goal up and over Lekkas’ shoulder at the frame’s midpoint. The Eagles tacked on two more goals when Aapeli Rasanen and Marc McLaughlin scored 21 seconds apart with under three minutes left in the opener.
Vermont started the second period similarly to the first. Freshman Simon Boyko scored his first collegiate goal at the 5:01 mark. The Catamounts continued to pepper BC Senior goaltender Ryan Edquist, who made his first appearance in the Eagle net since a 33 save effort in a 7-2 defeat on January 16th, 2019, against Maine. The Lakeville, MN, native recorded 13 of his 26 saves in the second.
BC Head Coach Jerry York praised his netminder “The first three days of practice, in October, he got a high ankle sprain. He had only five practices all year prior to the game tonight. So not only hasn’t he played, but he hasn’t even practiced. Pretty gutty for him to come in like that.”
Edquist’s efforts allowed the BC attack time to wake back up. With 3:01 left, Ron Greco potted his second goal of the day to make the score 4-2 ahead of the second intermission.
The Eagle offense soared in the third. Jesper Mattila went first with his first goal of the season 1:09 in. On that play, Graham McPhee was flagged for a minor penalty and a 10-minute misconduct. On the ensuing UVM power play, the top BC line created a short handed transition that ended with Logan Hutsko potting his ninth goal of the year. Shortly thereafter, leading Catamount goal scorer Ace Cowans sat for a high stick on Edquist. David Cotton tallied his ninth goal of the year on a beautiful tip on the door step. Ace Cowans potted his sixth goal of the year to cut into the lead, but the Eagles had the last laugh. Philadelphia, PA, native Ron Greco ended the scoring with a power play goal and his first career hat trick. He added an assist on McLaughlin’s goal for a career high four points to power BC to an 8-3 victory.
UVM falls to 3-12-2 and 0-9-1 in HEA play.
Stefanos Lekkas stopped 31 of 39 shots, allowing a career high eight goals, surpassing his previous career high of seven from March 11th, 2017, also against BC.
“Congratulations to BC for paying well,” commented UVM Head Coach Kevin Sneddon. “We didn’t play well in front of Stef. We’ve gotta learn and move onto Yale.”
The Catamounts try to get Sneddon his 300th career win as a collegiate head coach against the Yale Bulldogs on Tuesday night. Puck drops at Gutterson Fieldhouse at 7 pm ET against the Elis.
BC improves to 12-4-0 and 6-2-0 in Hockey East play, climbing to a tie with Boston University at fifth in the HEA standings with three games in-hand on the Terriers.
“One of the things we stress in the practice leading up to this game is that we don’t accept ‘Holiday hockey’,” commented York. “So often when you get long breaks, you don’t play with the same intensity and same grit and drive. It’s there for all the teams that come back from break. We tried to address it early, and I think right from the start we didn’t show any of those signs. We played hard hockey.”
Fourteen different Eagles recorded points. Sophomore Marc McLaughlin recorded a career high three assists and four points. Senior Ben Finkelstein tied his career high in points and set a new career high in assists with three. Edquist recorded a win in his first game in almost a calendar year.
BC continues Hockey East play next weekend with a home-and-home series against the UMass Minutemen. Puck drops at 7 pm ET at both Conte Forum on Friday night and at Mullins Center on Saturday night.