BOSTON — In his first collegiate start — and on the biggest stage of his career — Boston College goaltender Chris Venti backstopped the Eagles to a 2-1 victory over Northeastern in the final Frozen Fenway game of 2012.
“[Fenway Park] is a special building to play in,” Venti said. “Honestly even more special was getting my first start for Boston College.”
Not only did Venti’s performance — which included 14 saves on 15 shots — earn the Eagles their second victory in their last six games, it vaulted BC back in to a tie for first place in Hockey East.
“Chris Venti got action last night up at UMass, and I just had a thought process after the game that I was going to roll the dice and come right back with [Venti],” Eagles coach Jerry York said. “He really played well in his first start at Boston College. One of the keys to our game was solid goaltending.”
Not to be outdone, BC winger Chris Krieder performed some late-game heroics to lock up a pair of league points. With 13 seconds remaining on an Eagles’ penalty kill, BC winger Danny Linell capitalized on a turnover at the Northeastern blue line and dished to Krieder in the slot. Krieder gained a step on the Huskies defender and plowed himself — and the game-winning goal — across the line short-handed at 4:02.
“Danny [Linell] gave me a great pass, kind of put the defenseman in limbo, and made it a little harder for him,” Krieder said. “I tried to get to the net and, to be honest, I don’t really know what happened after that. I just remember being on the ice and thought Danny scored it. I guess I kind of ran into the goalie and the puck just kind of squirted in.”
Despite the deceptively close score, BC appeared to be in the driver’s seat for victory for a solid 60 minutes. The Eagles opened the scoring by taking advantage of a slight miscue by Northeastern netminder Chris Rawlings early in the second stanza. When Rawlings skated behind his net to make a routine clear, the puck jumped over his stick and Rawlings hit the ice before he could recover. BC winger Steven Whitney passed to linemate Pat Mullane, who made the easy lay-up on an open net at 4:55.
The Huskies attempted to respond at 12:35, when winger Robbie Vrolyk intercepted a BC pass in Northeastern’s zone. Vrolyk started to surge ahead of the Eagles defenders, flanking him on either side, but suffered a trip at the hands of BC blueliner Brian Dumoulin.
The only real threat Northeastern posed came at 16:19 in the second period, when the Huskies potted the equalizer. Northeastern center Garrett Vermeersch won the draw deep in the Eagles zone, allowing linemate Ludwig Karlsson to put a quick shot on net. Although Venti stymied Karlsson with a kick save, the rebound landed on Vermeersch’s stick. Vermeersch pushed the puck across the line as he dragged himself across the crease, knotting the game at one apiece.
The Eagles attempted to buy some insurance at 12:30 in the third period with a shot that banked off of Rawlings’ back from below the Huskies’ goal line. The officials saw things differently, waiving off the goal because the Northeastern net had lost its moorings.
Fortunately BC went unscathed by the officials’ decision and added two points to its Hockey East win column.
“We’re just more concerned in staying involved in a pennant race,” York said. “The loss last night put us back in second or third place. [Hockey East] is so bunched up that I was more focused on the two points and trying to get a win in Hockey East.”