BOSTON – For the second straight home game at Matthews Arena, Northeastern found itself down 1-0 entering the third period, but a second straight come-from-behind victory was not in the cards with Boston College providing the opposition on Saturday night.
The Eagles’ speedy attack and sophomore goaltender Joseph Woll proved to be too much for the Huskies, as a slim lead grew to four goals in the third period en route to a 4-1 win. It was the first of two meetings this season between the nearby Hockey East rivals.
The result extended BC’s win streak – which is tied with Notre Dame for the nation’s longest – to seven games, and was their eighth in nine Hockey East contests.
“Our team has been getting better in all three zones and we’re playing with much more cohesion than we were earlier in the season,” BC head coach Jerry York said. “We played some really good teams, so I think that exposed our flaws and was better for us.
“I think we were good, but we just had no experience, and I think you need to have experience to be a better team. We gained it pretty quickly.”
Northeastern was yet another good team as it entered the night as the lone Hockey East team averaging more than four goals-per-game overall, but the visitors drew first blood with 17.1 seconds left in what was a back-and-forth first period. Defenseman Jesper Mattila’s shot from above the left faceoff circle tipped off a defender’s skate and past Northeastern freshman Cayden Primeau, who was making his fourth straight start in goal.
Mattila finished the game with a goal and two assists, while sophomore David Cotton posted two helpers.
BC retained its one-goal advantage through the entire second period and nearly half of the third, with much thanks to Woll, who stopped all 13 shots he faced in the scoreless middle stanza.
Northeastern took momentum away at the outset of the period, much like it did in Friday’s 2-1 win over Vermont. The Huskies could not find the back of the net, despite recording five straight shots on goal and nine of the period’s first ten.
“I thought Joe played outstanding for us, especially in the second period when Northeastern had a lot of zone time and opportunities,” York said. “He just made some incredible saves.”
“They’re a fast team, and they push you beyond your comfort level,” Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan said. “After the first period, I thought we got a little bit more adjusted to the pace and that we didn’t have a lot of time to make some plays, but we couldn’t solve their goaltender there early.”
In the third, BC extended its lead to 4-0 in less than three minutes of game time before sophomore John Picking’s first collegiate goal broke Woll’s shutout with 3:19 to play.
Graham McPhee snapped home captain Christopher Brown’s pass from below the goal line to the low right circle for a power-play goal at 9:16 of the third. Just 35 seconds later, sophomore classmate Ron Greco banked his first goal of the season off Primeau’s stick from behind the end line. At 11:40, Julius Mattila’s centering feed ricocheted off a sliding defender and past Primeau, officially putting the game out of reach.
“We got some lucky bounces tonight,” York said. “You’ve got to be fortunate to win games, especially on the road. … (Northeastern) has some outstanding players, they play hard, and I think this is by far Jim’s best team. A lot of weapons; their first two lines are difficult to contain. With that measuring stick, I like how we played.”
Hockey East roundup
UMass Lowell 1, Connecticut 0
Connor Wilson scored the game’s only goal 7:10 into the second period, and Christoffer Hernberg pitched a 33-save shutout to lift the River Hawks to a narrow victory at XL Center. The win was Lowell’s fourth straight and finished its first-ever Hockey East sweep against UConn.
Both teams went 0-for-3 on the power play, while Lowell mustered just 14 shots on goal against Adam Huska, who made seven of his saves in the first period. The Huskies held a 27-8 shot advantage over the final two frames, but wound up being held off the scoreboard and dropping to 0-4-0 in one-goal games this season.
Providence 6, Merrimack 6 (OT)
Shane Kavanaugh scored the game-tying goal with 2:59 to play in regulation to lift the Friars to a draw in a wild weekend series finale at Lawler Rink. Ludvig Larsson, Jace Hennig, and Jared Kolquist each posted a goal and two assists in the first period as Merrimack built a commanding 5-1 lead and chased Hayden Hawkey from the goal after allowing five goals on 10 shots. Then, the visitors scored three second-period goals and five of the game’s final six.
Larsson and Kolquist each posted four-point games for the Warriors. Erik Foley scored two power-play goals in the second, helping PC move within one goal. Larsson temporarily extended the lead back to two goals 24 seconds into the third before Jacob Bryson and Kavanaugh scored at 9:36 and 17:01 to equal the final score. Gabe Mollot-Hill made 15 saves in relief for Providence, while Merrimack’s Craig Pantano lasted the length and stopped 36.
Boston University 7, Maine 0
At Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, Maine, BU responded from a lopsided Friday loss with a lopsided win to earn a series split. Making his first start since last Friday at Northeastern, Jake Oettinger made 30 saves to earn the Terriers’ third shutout in the last six games. Six of BU’s seven goals came over the second and third periods.
Freshman Shane Bowers scored, Hank Crone and Brady Tkachuk each tallied their first collegiate goals, and second-year defenseman Chad Krys handed out three assists. For Maine, Rob McGovern allowed six goals, but still made 25 saves before Stephen Mundinger replaced him for the final 8:38.