BOSTON — Chris Rawlings led the Northeastern University Huskies with 36 saves in their 2-1 victory over the top-ranked Boston College Eagles Saturday night in front of a sold-out Matthews Arena.
The win gives NU three-of-four weekend points they were looking for and clinches a playoff spot in the tight Hockey East standings, as they move from sixth place into fifth.
“It was an extremely gutsy effort,” said NU assistant coach Sebastien Laplante. “We are extremely proud of them for the focus and poise they played with. We worked hard to get them to buy into the system that we as a coaching system have come up with, and it’s great to see them coming together at this time of the season.”
After 33 minutes of scoreless hockey, the Huskies were first to score at 13:05 in the second period. Luke Eibler sent a long pass to a wide-open Brodie Reid across the neutral zone.
On a short breakaway, Reid handled the puck to slip a backhanded shot underneath BC goalie John Muse for his eighth goal of the season. For Eibler, the goal also marked his eighth assist.
At 7:38 into the third period, the Huskies went ahead 2-0 when Braden Pimm scored his fifth season goal unassisted. When the Eagles were trying to clear their zone, Pimm picked off the puck at the blue line and skated it in between the circles to put a quick shot past Muse.
With just over two minutes to go in the game, BC cut their deficit to one. Brian Gibbons passed to Cam Atkinson, who skated to the left circle and sent a shot over Rawlings’ shoulder toward the right post.
The goal gave Atkinson and Gibbons their 24th goal and 26th assists, respectively. Still, the Eagles would be unable to tie the game in the final two minutes, even though they outshot the Huskies 37-21.
Saturday night’s game marked the third time these two teams met in less than a week, and they skated away with a 1-1-1 record. This is the first game this week where neither team scored at least six goals.
“It was a huge win, especially after the last couple games with these guys,” said Rawlings. “It was definitely more of a defensive game, that’s for sure. [Taking] three out of four points against the best team in the country? We’ll take that.”
Despite the loss, Boston College coach Jerry York felt his team played better than Friday night’s 7-7 stalemate at Conte Forum.
“Our execution tonight from my vantage points was way better than the Beanpot game and last night’s game,” said York. “We were technically sound and our compete level was very high. ”
Northeastern looks to improve its playoff seed as they face the University of New Hampshire for a pair of games next weekend, with the first game in Durham, while Boston College will play in Amherst against the University of Massachusetts. Both games are set for Friday, February 25 at 7p.m.