CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Northeastern defenseman Tim Judy sat in the penalty box as the second period ended Friday night against Boston College, having served half of a tripping penalty.
He probably considered staying there, rather than heading to the locker room to hear coach Bruce Crowder’s thoughts on how Judy’s Huskies played — and got played — during the middle frame of No. 2 BC’s 4-2 victory in front of 6,408 at the Conte Forum.
Host BC (15-3-3, 9-1-3) outshot Northeastern 20-2 in the second period. The Eagles had as many goals as the Huskies (8-12-3, 4-7-2) had shots during the frame, as BC built a 3-0 lead through two periods to retain their hold on first place in Hockey East, two points ahead of New Hampshire (a 6-2 winner over Merrimack Friday).
Senior Ryan Shannon assisted on three goals and freshman goalie Cory Schneider stopped 18 shots for the Eagles.
“They played like the number two team in the country and we played like the 102nd team in the country,” Crowder said. “They took it to us. I was very disappointed with the way our desire was. I don’t think we came to play, even in the first period. In the second period they just blew it open and if it wasn’t for Keni Gibson, it would’ve been 30-to-zip after two periods.”
After a first-period tally by Eagle senior winger Dave Spina, freshman Dan Bertram made it 2-0 seven minutes into the second period, slipping a wrist shot past Gibson.
Ten minutes later, BC senior left wing Ned Havern deflected a power play shot from freshman defenseman Brian O’Hanley past Gibson to put the Eagles up, 3-0.
Both BC coach Jerry York and Havern thought the middle period was the Eagles’ best of the season so far — aided, of course, by four power plays.
“I was thinking that just a few minutes ago,” York said when asked if it was the best 20-minute span of Eagle hockey this year. “We’re pretty sharp. We were sharp and we were quick. Our team was focused tonight. We had a lot of energy.”
“We were rolling all four lines,” Havern said. “Every line was buzzing. Everybody was going and we were just trying to empty out the bench — just keep coming. That’s when we play our best hockey, when we can utilize that team speed. I think one of the things this team prides itself on is its depth.”
Crowder yanked Gibson (27 saves) to start the third period. Backup Adam Geragosian (12 saves) surrendered the fourth BC tally just :32 into the third period, on a power play goal by sophomore Brian Boyle. A shot from junior Patrick Eaves caromed off the boards behind the NU netminder before popping right to the stick of Boyle, all alone at the back post. “(The goalie change) was nothing against Keni Gibson, I just thought our guys were hanging him out to dry and I don’t think that’s fair for him with everything he’s done for us this year,” Crowder said.
Scoring four goals, and twice on the power play, was a welcome sight for York after his Eagles struggled earlier this year with both.
“It’s been something that’s been difficult for us to figure out this year,” he said. “We haven’t been as good as we’d like (on the power play). We spent a lot of time on it and it was nice tonight to see we made good decisions with the puck. I don’t think our decisions on the power play have been very good during the course of the year and I thought our decisions were better tonight — who to move it to, when to move it, when to take a shot.
“I think it’s just one facet of the game. I think good defensive zone play can give you good jump, or a good save by the goaltender. Whether you score or whether you do not score, if you move the puck crisply and maintain possession for a majority of the two minutes, that gives you a good lift.”
Northeastern got on the scoreboard 12 minutes into the final period, when junior Mike Morris finished a feed from senior defenseman Donny Grover just as a punishing check sent him to the ice.
Four minutes later, Northeastern got its first (and only) power play chance of the game. Eagles Mike Brennan and Chris Collins were both sent off with penalties at the 15:25 mark, Brennan for tripping and Collins for charging.
Crowder pulled Geragosian, giving his side a 6-on-3 advantage.
It, unlike most everything else on this night for the Huntington Hounds, worked.
Senior captain Jason Guerriero found Morris at the back post, and the junior ripped his 10th score of the year above Schneider’s right shoulder to bring the Huskies within a pair.
“We changed some things (in the third period),” Crowder said. “We tried to put them on their heels a little bit. You get kinda desperate, I guess, when you’re down 4-zip. So you gotta try some things, and that’s what we ended up doing. Some of it worked, some of it didn’t.
“You don’t wanna play that way,” he said of playing desperate. “Comparing the last time we played in this building (a 4-3 overtime loss), with how well we played, to tonight … it was like night and day.”
BC hosts New Hampshire Saturday, while Northeastern will welcome Merrimack College. Both games are scheduled to start at 7 p.m. –et–