CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Upon giving a postgame handshake to Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves, Boston College coach Jerry York shared a bit of his trademark humility.
“We could do nothing wrong tonight,” was what Eaves heard from York.
Whether true or not, the No. 2-ranked Badgers didn’t exactly do much right themselves. A sluggish effort in the defensive zone and four first-period goals led to a 9-2 blowout win for No. 7 Boston College in front of 7,008 at Conte Forum.
The 9-2 score was the most lopsided of a 2-0-1 night for Hockey East in the opening round of the Big Ten-Hockey East Challenge.
“Two of our greatest fears tonight were playing our first game on a small sheet against a quick team and a team that was fired up for their coach,” said Eaves, alluding to a ceremony honoring York before the game. “Our hope was to survive the first. And we didn’t.”
Even with BC scoring four goals in six minutes, it could have easily been more. The Badgers were terribly lethargic in the opening period, giving up the puck at least dozen times in the defensive zone, which did nothing to help the poor coverage on 5-on-5 play.
The Eagles missed the net a handful of times in the opening minutes, but once they started hitting the target, the floodgates opened.
The first two goals came in back-to-back fashion. Freshman Austin Cangelosi sniped the top right corner of the net with a wrist shot, then followed it up just 50 seconds later, finishing off a precise centering pass from Kevin Hayes on the rush.
“The puck got broken out and Kevin made a really unselfish play to give it to me,” Cangelosi said of the second goal, adding that with BC’s opportunistic style of game “there’s never a point during a game when we want to sit back.”
And they didn’t.
Eaves quickly called a timeout, but to no avail – there was more damage yet to come.
Just 2:26 after the timeout, Johnny Gaudreau, who tallied his 100th career point on the first Cangelosi goal, buried a highlight-reel deke that nearly faked Wisconsin goalie Landon Peterson (16 saves) completely out of the crease.
“We fell into the trap of trying to make something happen,” Eaves said. “It was a comment I heard on the bench a couple of times. As a result, we made things worse. We got into quicksand and it sucked us right down.”
After freshman Ian McCoshen’s one-time blast off a faceoff made it 4-0, it seemed like the pressure would relent.
Just 21 seconds into the next frame, that thought was quickly dispelled. Michael Matheson slapped one in from the right circle, followed just 1:24 later by freshman Scott Savage from the left circle, bringing Peterson’s night in net to a merciful end with a 6-0 deficit.
The offensive onslaught was yet another chance to showcase the depth of freshmen that the Eagles have at their disposal.
“I’m [most] impressed with how they’re fitting in,” York said. “Young kids watch the older kids play. Johnny [Gaudreau] was watching Pat Mullane and Steven Whitney. Now, kids are watching how Johnny plays and how Kevin Hayes plays.”
Including the Savage tally, BC’s freshmen totaled four goals and nine assists.
Wisconsin prevented the shutout with goals from Michael Mersch and Nik Kerdiles, but it was little consolation for the most lopsided loss for the Badgers in nearly a decade.
The Badgers will try to rebound just down the road tomorrow at Boston University, while the Eagles continue the Hockey East-Big Ten Challenge on the road at Minnesota next week.