CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Boston College head coach Jerry York made a shift to his lines that paid dividends on Friday night as the Eagles upended the Massachusetts Minutemen, 4-2, in front of a boisterous 5,911 at Kelley Rink.
At the start of this week in practice, York paired center Bill Arnold with wingers Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes. On Friday, the trio combined for six points and three of BC’s goals. Arnold led the way with his third and fourth goals of the season to pace the attack.
“We really clicked, I felt,” said Arnold. “We have a little chemistry together. It was fun playing with those two guys.”
The fun translated to the Eagles 12th straight against UMass and the 50th all time in the series (50-10-3).
Special teams played a major role in a game filled with penalties and power plays. BC’s penalty kill was perfect, keeping UMass off the board in all seven attempts while its power play scored twice in six tries.
“You give some of the credit to BC’s penalty kill,” said UMass head coach Don ‘Toot’ Cahoon about his power plays’ lack of production. “They pressure you big time and get you to mishandle the puck in tough areas.
“We have some improvement to do when we face that type of penalty kill. Our power play has the potential to be very good, but they met their match tonight.”
In the opening 20 minutes, the Eagles sandwiched a pair of goals from Arnold at 1:18 and Kreider, on the power play, at 17:43 around Andrew Tegeler’s first career goal for UMass at 8:23 to take a 2-1 lead.
The frame, though, lacked flow as it was filled with penalties on both sides, BC being whistled for four minors to the Minutemen’s three, preventing either team from rolling their lines throughout.
The Eagles turned up the offense in the second, outgunning UMass, 14-2. This was Minuteman goaltender Jeff Taglia’s (31 saves) the chance to shine. It appeared he would keep his team within a goal heading to the third until Arnold unleashed a bullet of a wrist shot top shelf on the glove side at 17:01 to give BC a two-goal cushion.
“We had a good cycle going,” said Arnold. “Everyone was working hard and I was just going to the net. (Brian Dumoulin) just threw it down. I got it just got it on net and was lucky enough for it to go in.”
In the third, the clubs traded goals with BC rookie Johnny Gaudreau potting his third of the season on a nice dipsy-doo behind the net at 10:11 on the power play. UMass blueliner Michael Marcou fired a wrister through traffic with 2:53 remaining past BC netminder Parker Milner (18 saves), a goal that proved too little, too late.
As a whole, the game frustrated Cahoon, whose club falls to 1-2-1 on the young season. Most difficult to swallow was what he felt was a good first period followed by two lackluster frames.
“We played the first period the way we’d hope,” said Cahoon. “We were aggressive on the puck and created turnovers. Then as the game went on, we got caught up with the referees and took too many penalties. This team needs to learn to handle that adversity.”
UMass won’t get a chance to do that until next week when it plays a home-and-home with Boston University.
The Eagles, on the other hand, improve to 3-1-1 and will head right back to Hockey East action on Saturday, traveling across town to face Northeastern, which fell, 4-1, on Friday at Merrimack.
“We started, for our club, a straight of nine Hockey East games tonight,” said York. “That puts us right in the heat of Hockey East, something we look forward to, the challenge ahead of us.”