Jerry York’s youth movement showed promise, but Boston College’s inexperience proved costly as the Eagles lost, 5-2, in a nonconference game on Friday night.
Wisconsin (3-1-0) capitalized on a strong second period to take a 3-1 lead, the Eagles struggling to overcome five minors. No. 13 BC (0-1-1), which opens the Hockey East season at Providence on Sunday, went with a senior-less roster, getting a late goal from an all-freshman line.
The 10th-ranked Badgers also relied on several freshmen, plus graduate student goalie Kyle Hayton.
“Faceoffs we were outstanding, that’s why there are more opportunities,” York said. “We won a majority of faceoffs [38-23], a pretty good indicator you’re ready to play and involved.
“This was a good indicator for me we’re going to have a really good club. From my vantage point we’re going to just get better and better. Optimistic.”
Both teams squandered breakouts in the first period. Wisconsin captain Jake Linhart missed high and wide in the opening seconds. BC’s Logan Hutsko went in alone on Hayton five minutes later. Then, BC freshman Aapeli Rasanen’s point-blank attempt was stuffed off a breakaway started by Christopher Grando. Seconds later, Graham McPhee’s redirection went just wide of an open net at the back post as BC seemed on the verge of breaking through.
Instead, Badger sophomore Trent Frederic opened the scoring off a Linus Weissbach assist at 17:17. The Eagles equalized on a power play following a clash behind the Wisconsin net, McPhee scoring from the left circle at 18:51.
Wisconsin coach Tony Granato said the Badgers were very disciplined, allowing only one BC power play.
“One power play on the road, against a team with that much speed is a big factor in the game,” Granato said. “That’s a team that causes turnovers because of their speed and quickness.
“There’s going to be turnovers, especially how hard and the pace both these teams play with. BC skates really well. At the end of the game, our goalie made some good saves for us.”
The second period was decisive, the Eagles ending the period with a two-man disadvantage.
Tim Davison broke the deadlock with a one-timer off a faceoff at 1:13 of the second.
BC regained its composure, nearly capitalizing on a turnover as Julius Mattila found JD Dudek, whose point-blank attempt was stopped. The Eagles’ fourth line then threatened, Zach Walker’s breakout blocked by Hayton.
The Badgers increased the advantage when Seamus Malone finished a centering pass from Will Johnson on a breakout at 12:04.
Wisconsin concluded the second period with a 5-on-3 power play over the final 1:52, BC’s Luke McInnis penalized for cross checking (17:18) and goalie Joseph Woll for roughing (18:08).
BC held off the Badgers’ power play, but struggled to generate offense until late in the final period. Matthew Freytag scored from the right circle for a 4-1 advantage at 5:12 of the third. The Eagles’ all-freshmen line helped rally the team, Grando scoring the Eagles’ first even-strength goal of the season, finishing at the back post off a feed from Hutsko at 10:59.
The Eagles pulled Woll late, surrendering a Tarek Baker open-net goal at 19:10.
“One of the things we were concerned about was where’s our offense going to come from?” York said. “Lot of young forwards. We moved pucks, created a lot of chances. I liked our offense, I thought it was dynamic. We had a lot of Grade A opportunities [but] didn’t go up on the board. You’ve got to finish.”
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Freshman Shane Bowers scored twice but Minnesota State broke open a tie game by scoring three straight goals in the second period to skate off with a 6-3 upset of No. 2-ranked Boston University at Agannis Arena.
Bowers’s second goal at 17:10 of the second period cut the Minnsota State lead to 5-3, but the Mavericks (1-1) dominated the third period, sealing the win on Jared Spooner’s goal at 9:31.
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Omaha scored the game’s first four goals and held on to stun No. 12 UMass Lowell, 4-2, at Tsongas Center. The loss dropped the River Hawks to 0-3. Tommy Panico and Tyler Mueller scored for Lowell.