MADISON, Wis. — With two of the premier goalies in the country facing off Saturday night, a fair assessment would be whomever scored first would come out with the victory. In an unexpected twist, No.5 Boston College scored first, last and a whole lot in between.
Led by another two-goal performance, this time from center Benn Ferriero, and 28 saves from Cory Schneider, No.5 Boston College (4-1-0) exacted some amount of revenge from a sloppy, unorganized No.2 Wisconsin (3-3-2) squad as the Eagles dominated the entire weekend, capping off their sweep with an impressive 4-1 victory Saturday night.
Cory Schneider out dueled Brian Elliott all series long, as the junior net minder recorded 28 saves on consecutive nights and allowed only one goal to squeak through his pads. With Boston College already having such a powerful defense, Schneider adds another strong element to the Eagles attack as they were in full flight this weekend.
“I thought [Cory] was really sharp and on top of his game all weekend,” Eagles head coach Jerry York said. “Right from the first period through the sixth period, and that’s something we have seen throughout his career. Consistently, he’s been our best player for a long time now.”
As much as the Eagles outskated Wisconsin during the two-game series, the Badgers continually shot themselves in the foot time and again, failing to assemble any type of momentum or execution. Twice during the second period, the Badger committed foolish penalties and twice, the Eagles made them pay.
The first occurrence came when senior Matt Olinger hooked an Eagles defensivemen right in front of the line judge and was sent to the box. On the ensuing power play, sophomore Benn Ferriero scored his first goal of the night when he deflected sophomore Brett Motherwell shot from the blue line. Elliott reacted too late and the Eagles led 1-0.
Boston College struck again on their next power play, when UW defensiveman Davis Drewiske was called for interference, this time in plain view of referee Jon Campion. The Eagles once against didn’t let the Badgers off the hook, with a little help from Andrew Orpik’s skate. In a jostle in front of the net, the puck appeared to be intentionally kicked in off Orpik’s skate and past Elliott. The play was reviewed and the goal stood for a 2-0 Boston College advantage.
“The referee said it wasn’t a distinctive kicking motion,” UW head coach Mike Eaves said. “If you could define that for me black and white, I would be really happy to know it.”
The Badgers refused to go quietly on the night, as the Badgers ‘garbage man’ lived up to his name. Assistant Captain Jake Dowell, who has made a habit of cleaning up messes in front of the net, took care of another rebound that got stuck in Schneider’s pads. With the puck bouncing down to the ice, Dowell charged in and used his stick to poke it through Schneider’s legs to put the Badgers on the boards for the first time on the weekend.
It turned out to be all smoke and mirrors for Wisconsin, with Boston College quickly using their experience and strength to put the game out of reach. Skating outnumbered into the Badger zone, B.C. senior Joe Rooney laced a perfectly placed shot between two UW defensivemen and an unsuspecting Elliott to push the lead back to two.
Even with time winding down in the second, the Eagles wouldn’t quit and put the final nail in the Wisconsin coffin. Off one of the many Wisconsin turnovers on the evening, Boston College used a 2-on-1 break away to throw another puck passed Elliott with only 5.5 seconds left on the clock. Benn Ferriero scored his second goal of the night when he blasted the puck passed an unprepared Elliott for the fourth second period goal for Boston College. It was a disastrous period for Wisconsin, as the four goals was the most the Badgers allowed since Minnesota State put up a five spot last February.
“The lessons tonight were how valuable details are,” Eaves said. “A couple details broke down in the systems we were playing and [Boston College] took advantage of that.”
For the Badger players, he was the simple goal of starting to close the gap between the veterans and the younger Wisconsin players, seven of whom didn’t skate the last time these two teams played back in April.
“When we play our game by forcing turnovers and playing physical, we are a tough team to beat,” UW assistant captain Jeff Likens said. “It’s just a matter of playing that 60 minutes, getting a goal right away, trying to hop on them and not let them back into the game. The problem is we let in a couple power play goals in tonight and some same details killed us. That’s the gap [we need to close] right now.”
A night after sophomore Nathan Gerbe notched two goals on Elliott, fellow sophomore Benn Ferriero followed suit, scoring the first goal and the fourth goal for the Eagles. It was Ferriero’s second multi-goal game in the pass three Boston College contests, as Ferriero found the net twice last weekend against Bowling Green. Ferriero is just one of a multitude of Eagles’ players who are becoming a significant factor for Jerry York’s squad.
“[Ferriero] has moved up a real notch now and is going to be one of our real go to guys this year,” York said.
“I am just getting some open looks and my linemates are playing real well with me,” Ferriero said. “I was moving the puck around real well, getting some open looks and, luckily, burying my chances.”
In addition to the sweep, York will be treated tonight to a home cooked meal by the Eaves family, as Eaves’ two sons, Ben and Patrick, played and became All-Americans under York’s tutelage.
“I am starved, so I hoped Beth [Eaves] has a lot of good food,” York said. “I haven’t eaten very much [this weekend].”
Boston College will return home for a short week of practice before traveling to Providence on Tuesday night, while Wisconsin prepared for the seven-hour flight to the Anchorage to take on Alaska-Anchorage in a weekend set.