NORTH ANDOVER, Mass — After a trying week for Boston College seniors Brian Boyle and Joe Rooney, the Eagles forwards came through with big games.
After both were stripped of their captaincy for what head coach Jerry York referred to as an “academic issue,” Boyle, with a goal and four assists, and Rooney, with a goal and two helpers of his own, led Boston College to a 6-1 victory at Lawler Arena on Friday night.
“It felt good,” Boyle said. “A couple of the assists were lucky. We worked hard. Ben and Joe have been making it easy.”
Those good feelings were shared by Boston College head coach, Jerry York.
“I think they responded and are playing very well, I think,” York said. “I think Brian’s game is getting better. Joe has been arguably our best player game in, game out.”
Benn Ferriero started the scoring on the evening, when Rooney raced the length of the ice and beat two Merrimack defenders. The rebound of his wrist shot came to Ferriero, who put the puck past a down-and-out Patrick Watson.
“It was a good night,” Ferriero said. “All my line mates played well. We’re all starting to play well. Finally, in the past couple of games, we’re starting to click.”
Watson withstood the Boston College onslaught for the rest of the period, and let the Eagles head to the locker room with only a 1-0 lead.
After the puck dropped to begin the second frame, the Eagles took it to Merrimack. Just 1:01 into the period, Brock Bradford slid a Nathan Gerbe give-and-go past Watson for a 2-0 lead.
J.C. Robataille gave the Warriors some hope when his shot from the goal line found the back of the net on a 5-on-3 power play.
From there, the Eagles showed no mercy, as Ferriero’s second, and Rooney’s wraparound closed out the second on a 4-1 Boston College lead. Boyle assisted on both tallies.
“The big piece for us was giving up odd-man rushes,” Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy said. “I told my guys I’d chalk this up to ‘growing pains,’ if I thought we grew from this. I mean, I thought it was a huge step back for as. I expected out team to answer the bell after not playing well Wed. BC is not a team you want to trade chances with.”
Dennehy did trade in his goaltender to start the third, with freshman Andrew Braithwaite getting in between the pips for mop-up duty and Ferriero didn’t wait long to finish his hat trick. Just 3:42 in, he ripped a Rooney pass from point blank into the twine to go ahead, 5-1.
Just 2:21 later, Boyle put the game out of reach for the offensively anemic Warriors, as he sniped a wrist shot into the top corner of Braitwaite’s net to cap the scoring.
“We didn’t play well at all,” Dennehy said. “I thought special teams were the only thing we did well tonight, which is ironic, because we didn’t do a good job of it the other night.”
With the win, Boston College completed a regular season series sweep of the Warriors, outscoring Merrimack 13-3 over three games. The Eagles improved to 12-6-1 (9-4-1, in Hockey East), and hope to continue their three game win streak next weekend, with two games at Vermont.
The Warriors, on the other hand, dropped to 3-16-3 (3-11-0) and look to grab four points with a home-and-home series with Boston University next weekend.