CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Boston College showed why it’s the number one team in the country, dismantling Maine, 5-1 before 6,304 at Kelley Rink.
BC used two power-play goals, one shorthanded, and two while at even strength and limited the Black Bears to 21 shots, few of the quality variety.
The all-around victory improved the Eagles’ record to 8-1-0 and extended their winning streak to six.
Chris Kreider led the scoring with a goal and two assists. Parker Milner stopped 20 of 21 shots.
“We’ve been giving up a lot of shots on goal, 36 or 38 shots on goal, but I thought tonight our structure and defense was much better,” BC coach Jerry York said. “Our special teams were very sharp.
“Maine is a traditional rival of ours over the last two decades and we’ve played them a number of times in the national tournament, which makes it an even stronger rivalry. We’re always ready to play the Black Bears. It’s not BU-BC, but this is a hard rivalry for us. Maine gave us a pretty good battle.”
For the Black Bears, the loss drops them to .500 overall and 3-2-0 in Hockey East. After giving up five goals to BC, they now travel to New Hampshire where the archrival Wildcats scored seven in a win over Massachusetts.
“BC was clearly the better team in all facets, all three positions,” Maine coach Tim Whitehead said. “There are no excuses for us. We had an opportunity coming in here to knock off the No. 1 team in the country and we didn’t do it. They defeated us soundly.”
The Eagles got off on the right foot, using special teams to take a 2-0 first-period lead. Kreider started it at 11:33 with a shorthanded goal. His pressure at the right point forced the Maine defender to spin away with the puck only to lose it to Patch Alber, who sent Kreider off on a breakaway. The junior beat Maine goaltender Dan Sullivan low for his seventh goal of the year.
Two minutes later, Kevin Hayes scored a power-play goal on the rebound of an Arnold shot.
“To start it off with a shorthanded goal and then a power play goal was deflating especially when special teams was a strength of ours coming in,” Whitehead said. “But not tonight.”
The second period opened with furious offensive action, resulting in three goals in little over two minutes. At the 28-second mark, Kreider fed Arnold from behind the net and Hockey East’s leading scorer added to his total with a one-timer.
A minute later, Maine countered with a nice Jon Swavely goal, his first, from Kyle Beattie.
BC struck back immediately, however, when Pat Mullane slid it left-to-right to Steven Whitney, who put it in from just outside the hashmarks to reestablish the three-goal lead.
Barry Almeida made it 5-1 midway through the period on another power-play, this one low to the short side, beating Martin Ouellette, who’d come in for Sullivan.
Although Maine managed nine shots in a scoreless third period, BC did a good job of keeping most of them to the outside.