CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Fast starts have always been part of Boston College’s equation for success. On Saturday, quick beginnings to each period earned the Eagles the victory.
No. 1 Boston College scored four of its six goals in the opening five minutes of periods and held off a very pesky No. 11 Dartmouth squad, 6-3, in front of 7,583 fans at Kelley Rink.
The most important of the early-period goals came in the third. After Dartmouth rallied for two late goals at the end of the second to even the game at three, the Eagles top line struck twice in the first 3:21 of the final stanza, then held the Big Green at bay.
BC’s Pat Mullane scored the second of his two goals, burying a centering pass from Johnny Gaudreau 18 seconds into the third. Then Gaudreau fed his other linemate, Steven Whitney, at 3:21 to seize momentum.
Gaudreau tallied an empty-net goal with 6.6 remaining to account for the final score.
The Eagles top line mustered five goals and twelve points in the contest, led by Gaudreau (two goal, three assists), who set his career-high for points in a game. Mullane also set a career high for points with his two goals and two assists.
Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet, who said he liked how his team matched up with the Eagles for the most part of Saturday night, admitted that the Eagles top line was simply too much.
“I don’t think we had the answers, honestly, to match up,” said Gaudet about the BC top line. “They’re so creative and they feed off of transition.
“When you lose the puck in the middle of the ice, it’s right back at you. They’re a dominant line.”
While the win moves the Eagles to 10-1-0 on the season, it also brings BC coach Jerry York to 923 career wins, pushing him within a single victory of tying former Michigan State head coach Ron Mason for the top spot for all-time wins. BC and York will have the chance to tie and possibly break the mark next weekend in a two-game series against rival Boston University, beginning Friday night at Agganis Arena.
For York, that milestone isn’t something he even wants to talk about.
“It’s just not a big thing for me,” said York. “It’s never been part of my fabric.”
Dartmouth withstood the early offensive, as the Eagles came out with speed. The Big Green allowed an early goal to Mullane when he redirected a Patch Alber pass at 3:40, but Dartmouth remained calm and controlled the play in the second half of the opening frame and eventually pulled even.
Sophomore defenseman Rick Pinkston jumped on a loose rebound of Tim O’Brien’s shot, firing the loose puck past Parker Milner (29 saves), just inside the left post at 16:19.
Said York about BC’s fast start to the game, “Maybe it was fool’s gold,” noting his displeasure with the Eagles play after grabbing the early lead. BC allowed a season-high 17 shots in the first.
In the second, the Eagles once again opened the period with a marked edge and looked to seize control of the game. Junior Patrick Brown poked home the rebound of a puck he kicked into Dartmouth goalie Charles Grant (25 saves). As Grant kept the kicked puck out, his own defenseman barreled him over, giving Brown plenty of space to fire the puck to take a 2-1 lead at 4:22.
At 13:10, Gaudreau, who had already been stopped on breakaways twice, scored a highlight-reel goal, skating down the right wing and making a quick move on the defender before roofing a shot off of Grant’s back from a tight angle into the net.
Seemingly left for broke, the Big Green attack got some life late in the second and exploded to tie the game when BC’s Mike Matheson was whistled for interference at 17:32. Exactly one minute after the penalty, Dartmouth’s power play struck when Brandon McNally redirected a centering pass from Matt Lindblad.
Then, with 41.3 seconds remaining, Lindblad again was the set-up man, finding a loose puck in the slot and feeding Tyler Sikura at the right post to even the game heading to the third.
That, though, set up the third for BC’s explosion by the top line, which netted all three goals in the period.
Gaudet admitted that the performance of the Mullane-Gaudreau-Whitney line is quite a spectacle.
“It’s fun to see,” said Gaudet. “It’s just not fun to see from our vantage point.”