MADISON, WIS. — Boston College managed a series split Saturday with a 3-1 win over Wisconsin.
For the second night in a row, the Eagles dominated shots on goal and consistently earned scoring chances. Unlike Friday, however, BC (3-4-1 overall, 0-2-0 HEA) combined offensive ferocity with solid goaltending and stingy defense, particularly in the third period.
“As our goaltender was the difference last night, their goaltender was the difference tonight,” Wisconsin coach Jeff Sauer said.
Freshman goaltender Matti Kaltiainen had 33 saves for the Eagles while Ben Eaves, Jeff Giuliano and Dave Spina had two points apiece.
“I thought he [Kaltiainen] did very well,” Eagles coach Jerry York said. “It was his third start for us, so it is still very young in his collegiate career. He certainly was one of our key players tonight.”
Perhaps the second key Saturday was Boston College’s speed, which at times dictated the style of play against the physical Badgers.
“You see how they come at you,” Sauer said. “There aren’t many other teams in the country as quick [as Boston College]. We are not going to play another team this quick.”
“I feel they were coached well and that every guy on the ice knew what to do when their defensemen went down or when their forwards pinched down on the wall,” Badger forward Kent Davyduke said. “They really communicated well and they always had guys back. The aggressiveness was there with all of the their players.”
After going 0-for-8 Friday and 0-for-3 in the first period Saturday with the man advantage, the Eagles broke the scoreless tie with a power-play goal little more than a minute into the second period when Tony Voce converted off a pass from Eaves.
Wisconsin (3-3-0, 1-1-0 WCHA) evened the score with a power-play goal of its own just 2:40 later. Alex Leavitt made a terrific pass to Davyduke, who was set up in front of the crease. The pass completely fooled Kaltiainen, leaving Davyduke a virtually wide-open net.
At the 5:21 mark in the second, Giuliano gave Boston College a 2-1 lead. Giuliano received the puck just above the crease from linemate Dave Spina on a pass from the circle, stickhandled to get Kabotoff to commit low and put it past him.
On a Boston College power play a few minutes later, Andy Wheeler, who has two shorthanded points this season, got behind the Eagles for a breakaway. Boston College’s Ryan Shannon and J.D. Forest, however, were in fast pursuit, forcing Wheeler to make a quick move. Wheeler still got off a solid deke, but Kaltiainen stacked the pads and made the save. The rebound fluttered out to Davyduke, but as he was taking a shot toward a sprawling goaltender Shannon flipped over Kaltiainen and knocked the net off its moorings.
“I missed a nice, key breakaway,” Wheeler said.
Wisconsin picked up another penalty on the same power play to give Boston College a minute and 28 seconds of five-on-three play. Kabotoff was brilliant during the stretch, though, particularly on a glove save on a low short angle shot by Voce.
“I thought Scott played very well, I thought he gave us a chance to win again tonight,” Sauer said.
Boston College broke the Badgers’ backs and went up 3-1 early in the third period when Eaves took a pass from Giuliano and shelved it just below the crossbar over Kabotoff’s right shoulder.
“I thought Ben was just outstanding tonight,” York said. “He has got a chance to become one of the very best players at BC.”
With a two-goal lead, the Eagles clamped down, limiting the Badgers scoring chances and passing lanes by clogging the neutral zone and constantly icing the puck.
The Badgers had a power play midway through the third period, but BC had the best scoring chance during that sequence, when Giuliano and Shannon played a two-man game and got a point blank opportunity.
Despite the Badgers struggles to establish any flow offensively in the third period, they managed 14 shots on goal, including a late flurry after Kabotoff was pulled for an extra skater at 18:23.
“You are never safe in these game,” York said. “They generated some real good chances when it was six on five and Matti had to make some good saves.”
“We always try to pick teams outside our conference that will give us benefits at the end of the year and I think Wisconsin does that,” York said. “They are a national level team this year and if we are going to get back to national tournaments we are going to have to handle this type of environment.”