DETROIT — Halfway through the third period of Friday afternoon’s Great Lakes Invitational Tournament consolation match between Boston College and Michigan Tech, the third-ranked Eagles, a prohibitive favorite entering the tournament, appeared to be in danger of suffering a second straight loss after an opening round defeat by Michigan.
Two key plays in the last half of the final period tipped the balance of the game in Boston College’s direction allowing them to escape with a narrow 2-1 victory.
At 10:50 of the third, Boston College defenseman Brian Dumoulin supplied the first key moment with a strong individual effort to score what would eventually prove to be the winning goal.
Michigan Tech pressured Boston College offensively late in the game. In the second crucial circumstance, Huskies forward Blake Pietila appeared to have tied the game on a rebound with 28.9 seconds left in regulation time. On review, however, the officials ruled that the puck was directed back to Pietila by Jordan Baker with a stick just slightly higher than allowable, negating the potential tying goal.
Dumoulin’s winning effort was partially the result of a point of emphasis from a Boston College practice session.
“During practice, Coach (Jerry York) has been stressing our defensive gaps,” started Dumoulin. “I felt like I had a good one there. I was the puck going cross-ice and I was able to stop, waiting for a few guys to get onside.
“I just took it wide and I think our whole team and everyone in the stands thought I was going to pass. That’s when I decided to shoot and luckily, it went in.”
On the Michigan Tech goal overruled on review, Baker wasn’t sure the replay official got it right, but took the high road in describing his disallowed stick action.
“Obviously, it’s excitement,” Baker said of his first reaction to the apparent goal. “It’s a tough break, unfortunately. I didn’t think it was a high stick. It hit me and went right to Blake, but you have to trust the replay officials.”
Until the third period excitement, the only effective offense occurred with Boston College on the power play and Michigan Tech on the penalty kill.
Chris Kreider had opened the scoring early on a quick power-play goal at 4:04 of the first period. Kreider only needed six seconds of the power play advantage to find the back of the net on a one-timer off Johnny Gaudreau’s pass from behind the net.
Michigan Tech knotted the score, 1-1, late in the opening period, again with Boston College on the power play when Dennis Rix whistled a seemingly innocent slapshot from the right point that eluded Parker Milner in the Boston College cage.
Offensive malaise is not uncommon in tourney consolation games.
“It’s a short turnaround, no question.” said Michigan Tech coach Mel Pearson, addressing the difficulty of playing a third place game. “We played a pretty good game against Michigan State (on Thursday). If you’re competitive and you’re a player or a coach, you don’t like to lose and take every loss hard.”