On Friday night, eighth-ranked Boston College received key offensive contributions from forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Kevin Hayes on the way to a victory over Northeastern at Kelley Rink.
On Saturday, play shifted to sold-out Matthews Arena where the Huskies had an enormous student turnout to root for the home team to earn a split against the rival Eagles.
Everything looked good for the Huskies until the eighth minute of the third period when BC rallied from a 3-1 deficit to force overtime.
Freshman right wing Adam Gilmour, a native of Hanover, picked an opportune time to earn his first goal when he fired a shot from the inside edge of the left circle that beat Clay Witt at 1:36 of the extra frame, which gave BC a 4-3 win and weekend sweep.
“Those are two pretty hard-fought games,’’ said BC coach Jerry York, whose team improved to 4-2-1 overall and 2-0-0 in Hockey East. “I think tonight was a real goaltending battle. They kind of stole the game. I thought our ability to withstand back-to-back goals in the third period, we were looking at 3-1 down before a pretty raucous crowd and a good team in the Huskies, I feel very, very good about our club responding to that.’’
Witt (36 saves) had a strong game for the Huskies (5-3-0, 0-2-0). He was tested early and often by the speedy BC forwards but held the fort for the first 40-plus minutes.
The first real threat came just 1:04 into the action when sophomore defenseman Michael Matheson had a bid from the middle of the slot but Witt made the save.
The Huskies took the lead at 7:57 when junior right wing Torin Snydeman raced up the left side of the ice and flung a backhander on net that trickled through BC junior netminder Brian Billett. It was NU’s first shot of the game.
The Eagles pulled even just over three minutes later when Hayes dished a pass from the left circle across the slot for freshman left wing Ryan Fitzgerald, who one-timed his shot from the right circle past Witt.
Just 11 seconds into the third, freshman right wing Chris Calnan was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for a check to the head of NU freshman defenseman Matt Benning.
Junior left wing Adam Reid had a chance right on the doorstep but couldn’t put it past Billett (31 saves).
At 2:08, the power play was nullified when sophomore defenseman Colton Saucerman was whistled off for slashing.
But it didn’t matter because NU took a 2-1 lead during the four-on-four situation when sophomore right wing Kevin Roy made an excellent pass to spring freshman center Mike Szmatula behind the BC defense.
Saucerman made it a two-goal lead at 6:22 with a laser from the left point that redirected off a BC stick in front and blew by Billett.
But the Eagles rallied to tie it. Matheson made a deft pass to senior center Patrick Brown, throwing a fake at the goalie, for a shorthanded goal at 7:50, BC’s second of the weekend. Gaudreau made it all square when he faked a wraparound shot and then banked the puck off Witt and into the net at 12:51, setting the stage for OT.
When asked how many people could make the play Gaudreau did, Brown smiled.
“Not too many,’’ he said. “He sees the ice better than any player I’ve ever played with. It’s pretty cool.’’
For the Huskies, it proved to be a disappointing weekend but there were positives on which to build.
“We battled hard for most of the game,’’ said coach Jim Madigan. “I told our guys, ‘I know this one hurts and it stings, as well it should, based on how hard they worked this weekend and how hard they worked today, we’re going to learn from it and we will.’ We’ll get back to the drawing board on Monday and build off the weekend because there were a lot of good things. We’re going to have to learn with a young club how to manage a game a little bit better and we’ll attack that on Monday.’’Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Elle1027.