CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Holy Cross head coach Paul Pearl knew that there was a formula to follow if his club were to upset No. 4 Boston College Monday night. Nowhere in that formula, though, was it planned to give the Eagles 10 chances on the power play.
Behind an effort that Pearl called “undisciplined” his Crusaders fell, 5-0, Monday, surrendering two goals on the power play to the Eagles in the battle of the state’s two Jesuit colleges.
“We played an undisciplined game against the best team in the country and you’re not going to do very well if you do that,” said Pearl.
Conversely, the Eagles did an excellent job of staying out of the penalty box, taking a season-low two minor penalties in a game that they dominated.
“We’re getting better an understanding what constitutes a penalty,” said York, whose club improved to 5-2-2 on the season but more importantly broke a three-game winless skid.
Besides breaking through on the power play, after having scored just nine power-play goals in 63 chances entering Monday’s game, the Eagles were happy to get off an offensive skid. BC scored just 11 goals in its last four games after being one of the nation’s top offensive teams a season ago.
“It was definitely nice to put a couple [of goals] up on the board,” said Patrick Eaves, the Eagles’ leading scorer, who tallied two on the night. “We needed a game like we played tonight to get a few goals.”
The game opened with what seemed like more of an open skate at the Boston Common than college hockey. Neither team seemed to have much zip in its step, and the physical play was lacking. If anything, that played in favor of the overmatched Crusaders.
Both teams struggled early with special teams, with BC scoreless in two attempts and Holy Cross unsuccessful in its only try.
Boston College picked up the only goal of the period at 16:33. Dave Spina swiped a puck out of midair on the doorstep and past Holy Cross goaltender Tony Quesada (39 saves). The play began when rookie defenseman Mike Brennan feathered a shot from the right point through traffic that eluded a screened Quesada. The shot hit the crossbar and went high into the air for Spina to bang home for the 1-0 BC lead.
The period ended with BC holding a decided 14-2 advantage in shots, though only a handful were quality chances.
“On the perimeter [in the first period] I thought we were doing a good job,” said Pearl. “The tough shots, Tony [Quesada] was there for most of them. He’s a good goalie and we know that.”
In the second, the pace of the game picked up from the get go dictated mostly by BC, and with that pace came a parade of Holy Cross penalties — some forced but many undisciplined. For the Eagles, the man-advantage chances finally translated into offense.
Both power-play goals game from the stick of Eaves. The first, at the 2:00 mark, was a rebound goal. Camped at the left post, Eaves banged home the rebound of a Ned Havern shot for a 2-0 lead. And less than eight minutes later Eaves converted a Joe Rooney pass by one-timing a shot through the legs of Quesada for a 3-0 Eagles lead.
Senior Taylor Leahy got his first goal of the season late in the period when he threw the puck to the net from the left half-boards and the shot slipped past Quesada to give BC a 4-0 lead through two.
Early in the third, BC extended the lead. After Quesada made back-to-back highlight reel stops on Spina and Chris Collins, Collins lifted the second rebound over a sprawled Quesada to give BC a 5-0 led at 4:18.
Holy Cross tried its best to spoil the shutout bid of BC goaltender Matti Kaltiainen, its best chances coming with its sole power play of the period. But Kaltiainen stood his ground, making only 15 shots in the game, but picking up his seventh career shutout and first of the season.
For Holy Cross, which fell to 3-4-3 on the season, a tough road of games gets tougher, Playing five games in 11 days, the Crusaders end that run this weekend at the Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee Pot tournament. Holy Cross will take on host Providence on Saturday night with the consolation and championship games scheduled for Sunday.
Boston College will return to action on Saturday night when it travels to meet crosstown rival Northeastern.