Hartford, CT — Boston College disappointed through the early season, but corrected course when the Hockey East schedule arrived, mirroring their performances from the last two seasons. The Eagles traveled to Hartford on Thursday night looking to jump to second place in the Hockey East standings after an “0-and-forever” start as Jerry York phrased it. Behind Julius Mattila and Joseph Woll, York’s squad rolled through the Connecticut Huskies.
UConn actually started the game well, controlling pace and outshooting the Eagles 14-8 for the first period. However, late in the period, BC flipped momentum. Junior Julius Mattila snaked around the Husky defense and ripped one through Adam Huska for a 1-0 lead with 5:07 left in the 1st. Woll held firm and sent the game to intermission with BC ahead.
The Eagles fully flipped the balance of power their way in the second with more shots, 8-5, and a pair of power play successes. First, Roman Kinal took a holding minor. Immediately following, Casey Fitzgerald whipped a pass to Logan Hutsko at the left circle, where the Tampa, FL, native lasered his third goal in as many games. Later in the frame, Justin Howell sat for a boarding minor that ended Connor Moore’s night with an ankle sprain. Thirty-five seconds into the power play, Mattila received a pass from David Cotton, went to a knee, and ballooned the Eagle’s lead to 3-0 before the second intermission.
The third period was an even contest. UConn got some chances but clanged shots off the post or found Joseph Woll’s glove or pad. The junior net minder from St. Louis, MO, recorded 30 saves for his second consecutive and fifth career. He’s not allowed a goal in 177:37 og game time in his last three outings. At the offensive end, after UConn went on the power play and pulled their goaltender from the net, Julius Mattila worked around the UConn skaters and casually deposited a backhander in the net for a hat trick, doubling his season goal output in one night. It was the first hat trick for the junior from Tempere, Finland, and closed the scoring at 4-0 for BC.
UConn drops to 5-10-1 overall and 2-8-1 in Hockey East. The Huskies have now lost six games consecutively and eight of their last ten. Head Coach Mike Cavanaugh was disappointed in the night, but still optimistic regarding his team’s potential.
“I’m not gonna get fooled by the shots,” Cavanaugh. “I still thought Boston College controlled the game for the most part. They were better. But I still like our team. We’re gonna grow and we’re gonna become better, but tonight they were better.”
BC improves to 5-6-2 overall and 5-1-2 in Hockey East play. The win vaults the Eagles into sole possession of second place in Hockey East, only behind #1 Massachusetts. Jerry York spoke highly of his team’s performance on special teams, particularly his goaltender.
“Clearly, Joe Woll was outstanding again,” York said. “The last five games, he’s been remarkable in goal. A lot of the credit goes to him, and we were excellent on special teams.” On his Eagles’ resillience through a poor start, “We talked about that. We thought we had a pretty good team. I liked the culutre of our team. But we had to battle through that. Losses are hard, but you can’t make that loss give you the next loss.”
The teams will rematch on Friday night at Conte Forum to conclude the first semester. Puck drops at 7 PM. Both teams return to the ice on New Year’s Eve with important road tilts. UConn faces in-state rival Yale at Ingalls rink in New Haven. Puck drops at 4 pm ET. Meanwhile, Boston College travels to South Bend, Indiana, to renew The Holy War against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Puck drops at Compton Family Ice Arena at 5 pm ET/4 pm CT