ST. PAUL, Minn. — Friday, both Boston College and Rensselaer endured tough losses. Saturday, with the two meeting in the consolation of the Ice Breaker Invitational, at least one was guaranteed to avoid the “L.”
That team turned out to be the Eagles, who controlled play but were unable to take charge on the scoreboard until a series of late Engineer penalties opened up the ice. BC scored three goals, all on the power play, in the final 10 minutes of the contest to take a 4-1 win.
RPI — playing shorthanded much of the third period for the second game in a row — was again unable to keep its opponent off the scoreboard late. In the first two periods, BC was whistled for nine penalties to RPI’s six, but in the third period the Engineers picked up nine more penalties to BC’s four.
“When you get tired, you start taking shortcuts and easy ways out,” said Engineer head coach Seth Appert, “and that’s where the mental discipline and commitment to how we want to play become so much more important. … We failed that test in the third period.”
Despite the win, BC head coach Jerry York wasn’t thrilled with his team’s discipline, either.
“[We took] way too many penalties. It was one of those games where the refs were calling a lot,” he said. “This was a game where there were going to be a lot of shorthanded play, a lot of power plays. We won the game because we were maybe a touch better than they were in those situations.”
“I’m angry right now because of the decisions we made in the third period,” said Appert. “But I’m also pleased about coming here and for much of six periods playing well with two of the best teams in the country.”
Early on, Boston College held the Engineers without a shot on goal for the first six-plus minutes, but after two unsuccessful power plays, the Engineers broke through on freshman Ben Contini’s first career goal at 12:05. Christian Jensen threaded a centering pass between BC defenders, and Contini surprised Eagles netminder John Muse by turning a 180 and firing past the glove side of the netminder.
Both BC’s Andrew Orpik and RPI’s Andrei Uryadov had grade-A chances on redirections as the first period wound down, but each goaltender was up to the task. However, Mike Brennan knotted the score up for BC with a minute to go in the first period, on that rarest of rarities — a three-on-four shorthander.
After unsportsmanlike-conduct minors to Bryan Brutlag and Nathan Gerbe and a hook by BC’s Matt Greene put the Engineers on the power play, Tim Filangieri fed Brennan streaking up the right side, and Brennan’s shot skimmed through Alford’s five-hole to tie it at 1 at 19:00.
Of the all-blueliner rush, Brennan said, “Actually, a couple of years ago we had one against Merrimack and we actually scored on that one, too. So me and ‘Fil’ are batting a thousand right now.”
The parade to the box continued in the second period, with Rensselaer earning a brief five-on-three late in the frame. This time Muse was the star, making a stop with the last three inches of his skate on a Seth Klerer shot, and then denying captain Jake Morissette on a psuedo-breakaway.
On yet another Boston College power play, RPI defenseman Erik Burgdoerfer briefly saved the day by sticking aside a shot at an open net, but seconds later Ben Smith redirected a Gerbe shot-pass through Alford’s five-hole to give BC its first lead, 2-1, at 10:55.
The end of the game was a bit of deja vu for Rensselaer. Late in regulation with a delayed penalty coming against RPI, Matt Angers-Goulet was called for hitting from behind. As on Friday night, the resulting five-minute major left RPI shorthanded for the remainder of regulation, starting with two minutes of five-on-three for BC.
The Eagles capitalized for the insurance goal, from Gerbe on a hard-angle wrister to make it 3-1, and then with another tally from Dan Bertram at 18:44 to account for the final score. Both goals were assisted by Benn Ferriero.
For BC, Muse made 22 saves on 23 shots. Alford, who kept the Engineers alongside the Eagles on the scoreboard for most of the game, finished with 44 saves on 48 shots despite the late Eagle flurry.
“No question, Jordan was really good tonight,” said Appert. “Last night [against Minnesota] we carried the play more; I thought BC did today. Jordan was very good — I know he’d like to have one or two of those back, but when you put  on him, he gets a little fatigued as well.”
For York, the goaltending was about a growth opportunity.
“‘Musie’ made some key saves for us,” York said. “He really stood up pretty tall for a young guy, and this was a good opportunity for him to earn some credibility at a locker-room level.”
The Eagles (1-1-0), the Ice Breaker titlists in both of their previous appearances (1998 and 2003), next face North Dakota at home on Friday. Rensselaer (1-2-0) will play at Army that same day.