Chestnut Hill, MA — The full college hockey schedule is underway and few games boasted the talent and attention that the Wisconsin and Boston College matchup could. Six first-round draft picks, five of them from the 2019 draft, and the fifth overall pick (Alex Turcotte) took to the ice in front of an energetic crowd to open their season. The Badgers had their chances, but the Eagles got the better end of a dazzling contest.
While the rookies drew much of the attention, BC leaned into their veterans to open the scoring. Julius Mattila played his 100th career game for the Eagles and drove up the right-wing and wired a shot home for a lead 7:15 into the game. The Badger special teams knotted the game with perfect passing and a Cole Caulfield laser 13:07 into the period, but the game didn’t stay even for long. Eight seconds later, David Cotton fed Mattila for his second goal of the frame. The Tampere, Finland, native almost had a natural hat trick a few different times, but could not extend the lead. BC lead 2-1 after the first.
The Eagle offense soared out of the gate in the second on their freshmen’s backs. First, defenseman Marshall Warren landed a wraparound for his first collegiate point and goal 2:43 in. Less than two minutes later, Matt Boldy joined the scoring party with a shot from the slot to balloon the lead to 4-1 4:22 into the second. The game took a more physical turn twenty seconds after the goal when Badger defenseman Ty Emberson blasted Colorado Avalanche draft pick (16th overall in 2019) Alex Newhook. The sophomore defender and Arizona draft pick (third round in 2018, 73rd overall) got a five minute major and a game misconduct.
On the ensuing penalty kill, the Badge special teams cut into the deficit thanks to their skilled freshmen. First, Owen Lindmark tallied his first collegiate goal with a beautiful shorthanded drive through the BC defense. Then, 2019 first-rounder Cole Caulfield (15th, Montreal) added a second power-play goal to reduce the deficit to just 4-3. Eagle goalie Spencer Knight made some dazzling saves in his first collegiate game to keep BC in the lead into the second intermission.
The Eagles’ top line jumped on the Badgers early in the third for the final goal of the game. Julius Mattila and Logan Hutsko set up David Cotton for his first goal of the season in his 117th game as an Eagle. For the remaining 19:25, BC limited Wisconsin to only six shots and Knight stopped them all, totaling 23 saves on 26 shots for a 5-3 Boston College victory.
“We played an experienced team,” Wisconsin Head Coach Tony Granato said. “They came after us hard, skated better than us. They outplayed us tonight. I thought their jump was really good. We’ve had some success against them in the last few years. They were ready for this game tonight.”
Daniel Lebedeff stopped 23 of 28 shots in the Wisconsin net.
Fifth overall pick Alex Turcotte only tallied one point on the night, a secondary assist on Cole Caulfield’s first power-play goal. 2018 first rounder K’Andre Miller (22nd, Islanders) played after being suspended from practices and scrimmages last weekend for breaking team rules.
The 0-1 Badgers look for their first win of the season on Saturday night against the Merrimack College Warriors. Puck drops at 7 PM ET at Lawler Arena in North Andover, MA.
“We played a pretty solid, strong game in all three zones,” observed BC Head Coach Jerry York. “We’re just better than we were last year. I feel good about our club. I think Wisconsin’s got an excellent team. I talked to Tony after the game and said to him, ‘If we both play like this, we may see each other later in March.”
Highly touted freshman Spencer Knight (13th pick in the 2019 Draft by Florida) will be the Eagle goaltender for the foreseeable future. Senior Ryan Edquist is out four to six weeks with a high ankle sprain.
Eagle Captain David Cotton showed maturity in his approach to the season after the game. “One big motto we have here is ‘The Next Game’. I think this will be big for us later in the year. We treated this game as Objective One. We can enjoy it tonight, but tomorrow we wake up and we’re onto Colgate.”
BC takes their 1-0 record to Hamilton, New York, to face the Colgate Raiders on Sunday afternoon. Puck drops at 4 PM ET at Class of 1965 Arena.