Chestnut Hill, MA. – College hockey returned to Conte Forum on the Boston College campus on Friday night. The Eagles and visiting Northeastern Huskies traded the lead in each period as BC prevailed 5-3 to kick off the two schools’ 2021-22 Hockey East campaigns. Colby Ambrosio‘s third-period goal broke the deadlock while Patrick Giles’s strike forty-five seconds later proved to be the game-winner.
With fans in attendance for the first time in over a year, the almost capacity crowd of 7,288, were treated to a classic Hockey East showdown. The building was electric from start to finish. The BC fans were on their feet and vocal and the small Huskies sections tried to hold their own as each traded barbs for the entire game.
It was all Eagles in the opening period. The visiting Huskies were slowed by a relentless Eagles forecheck. The game was a physical one from the start as the two teams quickly traded gloves to faces and sticks up high just forty-two seconds in.
Senior defenseman Marshall Warren gave the Eagles the 1-0 lead at 5:15 when he corralled a pass from Sam Sternschein just over the blue line. Marshall skated in a fired a shot that deflected past Northeastern goalie Devon Levi (33 saves).
Boston College’s Casey Carreau was assessed a 10-minute game misconduct and a 5-minute major for Slewfooting NU’s defenseman Jordan Harris at 6:52. The Huskies captain left the game with what appeared to be an upper-body injury and did not return.
The Huskies didn’t generate much offense during the subsequent 5-minute penalty.
The two teams traded penalties in the latter minutes of the period but neither was able to capitalize on the man advantages.
The Huskies found their mojo during the first intermission. After killing off the remainder of defenseman Tommy Miller‘s Cross-Checking penalty that carried over from the first, the Huskies put pressure on BC goalie Eric Dop (22 saves).
Aidan McDonough gave the Huskies life at 1:54 when he wristed a Dylan Jackson pass past Dop high glove-side to tie the game at 1-1.
Almost four minutes later McDonough struck again to give the Huskies the 2-1 lead. Ty Jackson bullied past an Eagles defender along the boards and dished to his brother Dylan, who again found McDonough all alone to the left of Dop. McDonough beat Dop in almost the same spot for his fifth goal of the year.
Northeastern was carrying the play throughout the second. Their steady pressure led to back-to-back penalties on the Eagles, but the Huskies were unable to build upon their good fortune.
Huskies forward Sam Colangelo was called for Tripping at 17:51. The Eagles power-play wasted little time in making the most of it. Senior Marc McLaughlin tied the game thirty seconds later when he buried a Jack McBain (three assists) pass from down low past Levi at the top of the crease.
The Eagles survived an early Hooking call on freshman defenseman Aidan Hreschuk and then a flurry of opportunities by the Huskies that Dop managed to keep out of his net.
Then Ambrosio gave BC the lead for good. His second goal of the year gave the Eagles the spark that they needed to quiet the Huskies for the remainder of the game. Ambrosio was battling with McDonough for the position in front of Levi when he turned his body to redirect McBain’s pass past Levi for the 3-2 lead. The call on the ice was immediately waved off as no goal but upon review, the referees awarded the Eagles the goal.
Less than a minute later senior forward Patrick Giles put the proverbial nail in the coffin when his wrist shot beat Levi low at the near post. The unassisted goal came about as Giles broke up a pass in the slot before firing off his eventual game-winner.
McLaughlin added a short-handed empty-net goal at 19:02 to make it 5-2 Eagles.
The Huskies did pull one back with seven seconds left in the game when freshman Matt Choupani fired a shot from the right circle past Dop to make it 5-3. The forward from Montreal, Que. wanted to celebrate but knew it wasn’t worth it.
“That’s a tough one. We let it slip away,” said first-year Huskies coach Jerry Keefe. “At 2-2 I thought we had some really good chances. We got an unfortunate bounce off a skate. We have to learn how to win.”
BC coach Jerry York acknowledged the atmosphere in the arena to open up his post-game media session.
“I got to give a shout-out to the home crowd,” said York. “The home crowd really helped us, because we’re down, and the late score that was a key part of the game.”
“I felt good about the game. Northeastern has an outstanding team. Our ability to kill the 5-minute major real early set a tone for us” added York. “Our play in all three zones was solid.”
The Huskies are off until Friday, October 23 when they host Colorado College at Matthews Arena. BC meanwhile will play Bentley on Saturday night at Bentley Arena, 7:05 puck drop.