BOSTON — Boston College brought an onslaught of offensive chances from the opening bell, an attack Harvard simply had no answer for as the Eagles won 5-1 in front of 2,422 at Harvard’s Bright-Landry Center.
As has been the case a number of times already this season, the Eagles (8-2-2) were paced by Johnny Gaudreau, who set up the opening goal, then buried his 11th goal of the season late in the second period to give the Eagles a three-goal cushion and his 12th early in the third to virtually seal the win.
Goaltender Brian Billett made 34 saves to earn the victory for BC.
All five of Boston College’s goals came 5-on-5, an important fact on Wednesday given that the Eagles had just one attempt on the power play in the first two periods when the game was still in the balance.
“As the year progresses, they’re really hard to score, the 5-on-5 goal,” said BC coach Jerry York. “It shows you have some really good players who can produce goals 5-on-5. It gets pretty congested on the ice there.”
Despite owning a lopsided 17-3 shot margin in the opening 20 minutes, Boston College was only able to solve Harvard goalie Steve Michalek (29 saves) once. Rookie Austin Cangelosi buried a Gaudreau pass finishing off a tic-tac-toe passing sequence that included linemate Bill Arnold at 4:49.
Michalek was stellar in the frame, not just stopping 16 of 17 BC shots, but stonewalling Patrick Brown on a breakaway at 6:01 and then flashing the left pad on a point-blank bid by Gaudreau with just 15 seconds remaining.
Harvard rebounded on the shot chart over the game’s final two periods, actually outshooting BC in the game, 35-34, in that time. The difference, according to York, was goaltending.
“You can talk 5-1, but Billett had a major, major factor in the outcome of the game tonight,” said York.
In the second, the Eagles opened things up.
Using more perfect passing, BC extended the lead. Kevin Hayes, Danny Linell and Destry Straight worked the puck around the zone on the rush with Straight burying his second goal of the year at 8:34.
BC’s top line again combined to stretch the lead to three when Cangelosi found Gaudreau through the middle for a breakaway. Deking the goaltending, Gaudreau had the entire left side of the net to bury the goal at 14:10 for the 3-0 lead.
Early in the third it was Gaudreau again, this time finding himself alone in the slot to bury a juicy rebound on the backhand at 2:21.
BC made it 5-0 on a Ryan Fitzgerald goal, his sixth of his freshman season, at 4:42.
The Crimson’s Luke Esposito spoiled Billett’s shutout with 3:54 remaining, scoring a power-play goal on a rebound off Billett’s right shoulder.
Harvard (3-5-1) became yet another team to run into BC’s offensive juggernaut, the fifth team this year to allow five of more goals to the Eagles.
“[BC] obviously has some really good players on that team,” said Harvard coach Ted Donato. “We basically watched them. The second and third we came out and at least played hockey and were able to generate some chances of our own. We just gave up goals too easily.”