BURLINGTON, Vt. — Sophomore Johnny Gaudreau collected two goals and four assists but Boston College fell a point short of winning the Hockey East regular-season championship despite defeating Vermont, 7-2, Saturday evening at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
The Eagles finished second to UMass-Lowell, which defeated Providence, 4-1, to secure first place. BC (20-10-4, 15-9-3) will host the Catamounts in a best-of-three quarterfinal series next weekend.
Gaudreau, whose father Guy played at Gutterson while in high school and at Norwich University, combined with center Bill Arnold (two goals, assist) and Destry Straight (goal) for 10 points as BC turned a 1-0 game into a rout with four second-period goals.
“It’s a good feeling,” said Gaudreau of his performance, adding, “but it’s more of a better feeling that we got the win.”
BC coach Jerry York cited Arnold’s line as a principal reason the Eagles rebounded from Friday’s 4-4 tie with Vermont to win impressively.
“Right from the get-go, they were creating a lot of offense and scoring goals,” York said. “I thought we played well [Friday] but we were a little sloppy defensively. We were a little tighter defensively but Billy Arnold’s play was just outstanding tonight.”
Arnold scored the only goal of the first. In the second, Gaudreau and Steven Whitney converted power-play opportunities. Arnold and Gaudreau each added a goal before the period ended.
Vermont’s Connor Brickley and Chris McCarthy scored in the third against BC goalie Parker Milner (26 saves), but Straight and Travis Jeke completed the scoring for the Eagles.
Of meeting up with Vermont again, York said, “I haven’t even thought about that.”
“We set our mind for the regular season. We’re a little disappointed because our objective was to win it with 4 points this weekend,” York said. “We got 3 and now we reset Monday and start thinking about playoffs.”
“It’s going to be tough. It’s always tough to play a team on a back-to-back,” said Gaudreau. “We’re really going to have to come out flying next weekend because a 7-2 win, they’re not going to be too happy, so we’ve got to be ready to go next week.”
Vermont (11-17-6, 8-13-6) locked up seventh place when Maine and New Hampshire tied, 4-4, Saturday afternoon.
“I don’t know what happened, whether it was an emotional letdown from [Friday] a little bit. I don’t really have any excuses,” said UVM coach Kevin Sneddon.
“It wasn’t the team we’ve been for the last month,” he said. “Am I concerned? Yeah, a little bit. I don’t know why we decided to turn it off but our job right now is to flush it. We’re in a new season. The guys are well aware we can’t play like that and have success.”
Vermont freshman goaltender Brody Hoffman, who started all 34 regular-season games, made 16 saves before departing after the Eagles’ fourth goal.