Boston College entered Friday afternoon’s game against Harvard with momentum and a seven-game winning streak. But the Eagles met their match as the Crimson snapped a four-game losing streak in playing to a 4-4 tie in a nonconference game.
The 14th-ranked Eagles (8-5-2) appeared to be on the way to another victory before freshman Jack Badini equalized at 17:18 of the third period, the third time Harvard (2-5-1) had rallied from a deficit in the game. The Crimson then squandered a chance with a power play in overtime.
“I would have liked to have generated a lot more shots on goal, but Harvard is stingy in that respect, in trying to get shots on goal,” said BC coach Jerry York after his team was outshot, 32-21. “When you give up a power play in overtime, you’re walking a very thin line. But we had good chances at the end and bounced back from a late goal and a penalty in overtime. That showed good resiliency from our team.”
The Eagles, who host Boston University next Friday, have recovered from a slow start, finishing the month of November with a 7-0-1 record.
The Eagles’ first line made the difference with a strong display, all three players producing career highs for points. Julius Mattila led the way with two goals and two assists, and David Cotton added a goal and three assists and Jacob Tortora a goal and two assists.
“The past two weeks we’ve been clicking more, it was a matter of time before it went in the net,” Cotton said.
This was the first time this season BC has scored the first goal in two successive games. Tortora opened the scoring, finishing glove-side of Merrick Madsen from the left circle at 16:48 of the first period, his third goal of the season.
Harvard had late first-period opportunities thwarted by Joseph Woll. In the final minute of the period, Cotton hit the post, the play turning into a Harvard breakaway, but freshman Benjamin Solin was stopped by Woll in the final seconds.
Harvard outshot BC, 10-3, in the second period, but the period concluded with the Eagles in front, 3-2.
Adam Baughman’s one-timer from the left point off a Nathan Krusko (three assists) feed equalized at 1:21 of the second period. The Crimson broke the deadlock shorthanded as Michael Floodstrand scored his first goal of the season. Woll stopped Floodstrand’s wrap-around attempt, but could not recover as Floodstrand followed from the right circle at 7:51. Nine seconds after the faceoff, the Eagles equalized on a Mattila finish from the right circle. Cotton then gave BC a 3-2 lead, exchanging passes with Mattila and tucking a finish inside the right post at 10:50, his third goal of the season. In the final minutes of the period, Woll stopped a point-blank one-timer from Badini.
“We made a lot of problems for ourselves, some crazy turnovers and bad selections, as to when to make a play and when to keep it simple,” said Harvard coach Ted Donato after his team extended its winless streak to five games (0-4-1). “We have to understand when there is a play and when to not make a play, and we can’t keep both teams in the game by making some poor decisions.”
BC squandered the lead twice in the third period.
“We went down earlier and bounced back,” Cotton said. “That’s the game of hockey, you’re not always going to get the first goal, not always going to be in the lead. It’s always having that happy medium.”
Solin tied the score with his first collegiate goal, a back-door finish from Krusko at 4:11 of the third period. Mattila’s second goal (fourth of the season) made it 4-3 at 14:25. Cotton started the play, finding Tortora in the neutral zone, and Mattila backhanded past Madsen. That gave BC’s first line four goals and 11 points.
Badini then tied the score, speeding past the BC defense and going in alone on Woll for his second goal of the season.
“I thought we did a lot of good things and we’ve played well here for a few games but haven’t gotten the results that we wanted,” Donato said. “We’re never happy with the tie but down, 4-3, we’ll take it. Hopefully, this will be something to look at and say, hey, this was the first step in the right direction as a team.”