CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — The much-anticipated battle between Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves and his two sons, Ben and Patrick, who play for Boston College, left a lot to be desired.
For starters, the Eagles eliminated all drama, taking a 4-0 lead after eight minutes and dominating the entire first period. By the 12-minute mark, the Badgers had spent the majority of the game in their own zone and had mustered only a single innocuous shot on goal.
Finishing with a 35-15 shot advantage, BC outshot Wisconsin in every stanza: 14-4, 11-7 and 10-4.
“It was our first game on a small sheet and we just couldn’t handle their quickness,” said Mike Eaves. “You felt like you were a Pee Wee playing in a minor pro game.
“We settled down in the second period and we put some point-blank shots that [BC goaltender] Matti [Kaltiainen] handled, but in the third we didn’t generate much.”
Adding injury to insult, the elder son, Ben Eaves, couldn’t suit up because of a rib injury, taking some of the luster off the father vs. sons contest.
“It was a tough decision this morning,” he said, “but it would have been silly to put myself in that situation. It would have been fun to be on the ice with Pat and going against my father. I felt like a dad or a grandfather [not being able to play].”
Even without one of the East’s top forwards, though, BC still took no prisoners, especially in the early going.
“The team reacted well to being without Ben,” said BC coach Jerry York. “We stressed to our guys that there are no ‘Yeah, buts’ in our program.”
Boston College (4-0-0) applied an even more impressive opening-round knockout punch than it delivered to Denver, another visitor from the WCHA, last week.
“We know it’s still October, but we’re happy with the wins,” said York. “It’s not like we’ve skated against the Sisters of the Poor. This is the iron.”
At 1:46, Dave Spina scored from the doorstep. After Wisconsin goaltender Scott Kabotoff directed a shot from the point to the side, he then left the rebound of a sharp-angle Chris Collins shot right in front where Spina scored easily.
Patrick Eaves then scored a goal that would have made his father proud under other circumstances, beating Kabotoff high to the short side from a sharp angle down low. The tally, one of two which led to first-star honors, was in part a pure goalscorer’s goal, but also one from a poor enough angle to put some blame on the goaltender.
“I didn’t realize I had that much room,” said the freshman. “I knew he was a butterfly goalie that goes down, so I just tried to get it up top.”
Mike Eaves gave his goaltender the hook, one which lasted 21 seconds. Unfortunately for Wisconsin, that was long enough for Ty Hennes to put a rebound past Bernd Bruckler and make it 3-0.
“[Pulling him] was for a dual purpose,” said Eaves. “To slow it down a little bit, but also sometimes a goalie needs to refocus. The first goal was off two rebounds and the second goal was not from a great angle.”
At 6:19, Boston College got its first power play due to a too many men on the ice penalty and 27 seconds later that became a five-on-three after a Brad Winchester tripping call. With the Eagle man advantage scoring at a 37.5 percent clip and the Badgers struggling, the resulting Patrick Eaves goal was all too predictable. BC moved the puck around until Eaves could attempt a pass across the goalmouth to Tony Voce. The initial such attempts were blocked by the Badgers, but at 7:57 a defender inadvertently deflected the setup into his own goal.
Not until 12:20 did the Badgers generate their second shot of the game and their first serious opportunities when Rene Bourque and Ryan MacMurchy both challenged BC goaltender Matti Kaltiainen in front. Despite two subsequent power plays, Wisconsin could generate only one more shot in the period.
Following the disastrous opening stanza, Wisconsin came back with its best period of the night, scoring once to narrow the margin and challenging BC netminder Matti Kaltiainen several times.
At 7:03, freshman A.J. Degenhardt scored the first goal of his career off a rebound of a Tom Gilbert shot. Five minutes later, Kaltiainen had the save of the night, robbing Erik Jensen on the doorstep. In short order, the netminder had to again come up big on a Pete Talafous shot. Arguably, had either Badger scored to narrow the margin to two goals, the team might have made a serious challenge.
Its last gasp came ironically after it appeared that Hennes had scored a shorthanded goal that would have reestablished Boston College’s four-goal cushion. Instead, the goal was disallowed and Voce was assessed a goaltender interference penalty, giving the Badgers a 36-second five-on-three. When they couldn’t capitalize on either the two man advantage or the remaining five-on-four, all but the final nail in the coffin had been applied.
Scoring chances in the third period were few and far between until Brad Winchester roofed a shot past Kaltiainen with 2:46 remaining, but the Badgers never threatened to get within a goal.
Wisconsin (3-2-0) finishes its trip with a contest at Northeastern on Saturday night while Boston College travels to Massachusetts-Lowell for the River Hawks’ home opener.