DETROIT — Boston College downed Michigan, 4-1, in the first game of the 39th annual Great Lakes Invitational Saturday. The contest was the first meeting between the clubs since their 2001 Frozen Four semifinal.
Freshman Joe Pearce got the start in goal for Boston College (11-2-3), recording his first career victory after top goalie Matti Kaltiainen was suspended for a violation of team rules.
“I thought Joe Pearce just stepped up and did very good job for us,” said BC head coach Jerry York.
Michigan (11-6-1) entered the game ranked eighth in the nation but played without sophomore standout goaltender Al Montoya, forward Jeff Tambellini and defenseman Matt Hunwick, who are at the World Junior Championships. The Eagles were without sophomore Patrick Eaves, also playing for the U.S. in Finland.
Walk-on Noah Ruden stood between the pipes for the Wolverines in Montoya’s absence.
“Noah Ruden gave us a chance. It was a 1-0 game going into the third period. It was anybody’s game at that point,” said UM head coach Red Berenson.
The first two periods saw a wide-open style, but strong performances from both goaltenders and squandered man-advantages kept either team from breaking the game open.
“With the game 1-0 after two it was really anybody’s hockey game,” said York. “You know Michigan is going to have a really good second half.”
The Wolverines were unable to sustain a consistent presence in the offensive zone through the first 40 minutes and while BC cycled the puck well in the Michigan zone, neither side was able to mount a lasting offensive attack.
The Eagles were first on the board at 19:20 of the first, a power-play goal from defenseman Andrew Alberts. Assisting was Ryan Shannon, who recorded his 12th point in 11 games.
With just seven minutes to play in the third and the Wolverines on the power play BC capitalized shorthanded on a 3-on-2 break, as Tony Voce tallied his 15th of the season, giving the Eagles a two goal edge. The goal by Voce marked his 13th point (10 goals, three assists) in his last six games.
“It’s kind of interesting: just when you think the game is 1-0 and you’re going to have to kill a Michigan power play and you get the shorthanded goal. That’s a big momentum change right there,” said York.
Eagles senior forward Ben Eaves recorded two assists on the night, giving him 13 in his last six games.
Stephen Gionta and Chris Collins added insurance goals for the Eagles late in the third, but Pearce’s shutout bid was spoiled in the final minute, as Joe Kautz found the twine for the Wolverines.
Ruden surrendered all four BC goals, stopping 34 of 38 shots in the loss. Pearce made 34 saves for the victory.
The loss halted a streak of four straight wins for the Wolverines at Joe Louis as the Maize and Blue played their 100th game at the historic arena.
With the loss Michigan has now gone seven years without a GLI title, after winning nine straight. Berenson still felt his team played well.
“We knew that Boston College was a great team and they played well. I thought our team played a good game for the most part,” he said.
The Eagles are now 2-0 against the Wolverines in GLI play, having defeated Michigan in the consolation of the 2000 tournament, 7-3.
Boston College will face Michigan State, a 7-2 winner over Michigan Tech, at 4 p.m. on Sunday. The Wolverines will play in the consolation at 12:30.