One of the interesting aspects of the new Hockey East schedule, where teams play each other just twice in the regular season in league play rather than three times, is that some matchups can be over very early on.
For example, No. 7-ranked Boston College wrapped up its two-game set against Northeastern at the beginning of this month.
The Eagles’ next possible date with the Huskies would be in the Beanpot or the league playoffs.
On Friday night, BC (7-2-2, 4-0-1) wrapped up its season series with Massachusetts (3-7-2, 1-4-2) with a 2-2 overtime tie in front of 6,248 at Kelley Rink. The team remains unbeaten this month (5-0-1).
On Thursday night, out in Amherst, the Eagles earned a controversial 2-1 win. A UMass goal scored by Troy Power during a power play with 16:12 remaining in the third period that would’ve tied the game was disallowed when a review revealed one of the players was offside. However, video review was not supposed to be used in that instance since the contest was not on television.
The NCAA issued a clarification of the rule on Friday.
“We were very happy with the resolve we showed,’’ said UMass coach John Micheletto. “Especially the final 20 to stay the course and not cut any corners. To believe in the system and believe in each other was a nice way to finish what was a rather trying weekend.’’
The teams’ second meeting wasn’t without its controversies. It started when BC had a goal disallowed after a review.
Just 10 minutes, 11 seconds into the action, it appeared the Eagles had taken a 1-0 lead during a power play. Sophomore defenseman Michael Matheson fired a shot from the left point that beat freshman netminder Mac Haight (26 saves).
But when the officials looked at the tape, they deemed that Haight had been interfered with and the tally was nullified.
Ray Pignozzi put the Minutemen up, 1-0, at 13:15 when he beat junior goalie Brian Billett (32 saves) from just beneath the left circle.
The next two scores were by BC. At 14:42, freshman left wing Ryan Fitzgerald potted his fifth of the season when he scored from the slot.
Just under three minutes later, another rookie gave the Eagles the lead.
Left wing Austin Cangelosi also got his fifth when he beat Haight from the right circle at 17:37.
The Minutemen fought back late in regulation. At 17:26, BC freshman defenseman Steve Santini was assessed a five-minute major penalty and game disqualification for excessive roughness stemming from a collision with UMass junior left wing Steven Guzzo.
“I thought the collision was a good collision. We just watched it on tape. It was shoulder on shoulder,’’ said BC coach Jerry York. “Their player had the puck. I thought it was just a good hard hit.’’
During the power play, Guzzo’s linemate, center Branden Gracel, pulled the Minutemen even on the power play with 1:26 left.
Quinn Smith, Destry Straight, and Johnny Gaudreau, who saw his goal-scoring streak end at five games, had chances to win it in overtime but couldn’t get anything more past Haight.
“Clearly we’ve got to bury our chances more, be a little more gritty around the crease area,’’ said York. “But we had cycles, good offensive zone play. I thought we had a chance to seal the game, especially in the first period. They held us at two goals. The young kid [Haight] played well for them as did our goaltender. I like the way we played, but in retrospect, at home with that many chances, we’ve got to get that thing closer to five goals. We did a good job actually killing the five-minute major. They scored late to tie it. Quinn, Destry Straight and Johnny Gaudreau had three good chances shorthanded to maybe win this thing for us.’’