Last season the University of Maine men’s ice hockey team were able to travel to the Conte Forum and sweep the Boston College Eagles, but this time around roles would be reversed. UMaine learned the hard way why Boston College is the top-ranked hockey team in the country.
On Friday night the Black Bears seemed to be up to the task, with defense at the ready. Both teams went into the first intermission with zeros on the board. However, the game would break open in the second period, with Boston College gaining the upper hand.
The Eagles and the Black Bears traded goals early in the second period. The first goal came from Boston College, with second-year forward Matthew Boldy landing a highlight reel backhand goal as he was falling to the ice just over a minute into the period. Boldy was a first-round pick of the Minnesota Wild in 2019, and showed his skills on that play. UMaine would bounce right back; two minutes later they capitalized on an odd man rush, where first-year forward Tristan Poissant picked up a scrappy goal in front of the net. Boston College ended up leading after two periods with a net front goal that third-year forward Marc McLaughlin tipped in from third-year forward Casey Carreau.
Down by one, and approaching the halfway point of the third period, the Black Bears drew two penalties on Boston College and went on a 5-on-3 man advantage. UMaine first-year forward Brad Morrisey would capitalize and beat the Eagles’ second-year goalie Spencer Knight, slipping a shot between the goalie’s legs. Knight, another former first-round pick on Boston College, had been solid on the penalty kill, but UMaine found a way through the talented goalie.
Elite teams have a habit of finding a way to dominate the last 10 minutes of a game — and Boston College did just that. Right after Morrisey tied the game at 2-2, the Eagles would respond, with second-year forward Alex Newhook taking the charge. UMaine first-year forward Donovan Houle took a minor penalty for hooking and sent Boston College to the powerplay. The Eagles scored seconds into the powerplay when Newhook sniped a bullet that second-year goalie Matthew Thiessen had little chance of stopping in the UMaine zone. This put the Eagles up 3-2 with just under 10 minutes to go. Knight shut the door for Boston College, and the Eagles eventually scored an empty netter to put a cap on their 4-2 win.
In the second game of the series on Saturday night, UMaine started first-year goalie Victor Ostman, and Boston College stuck with their favored goalie, Knight. This game was more lopsided than the first. Boston College went on to shut out UMaine 3-0, and outshot the Black Bears with an astounding 59 to 24 shots over the course of the whole game. However, the Black Bear’s’ Ostman was up to the task and helped Maine head into the second period scoreless.
UMaine was awarded a golden opportunity when one of the Eagles’ first-year forwards took a boarding major, which resulted in Harrison Roy getting ejected from the game and UMaine receiving a five-minute power play. The opportunity sweetened when Boston College committed another penalty, this time a tripping minor from Boston College first-year forward Nikita Nesterenko. UMaine had a 5-on-3 man advantage for a whole two minutes, but sadly the Black Bears weren’t able to make returns. Boston College killed off both penalties and sucked the air out of the balloon for UMaine.
Boston College third-year forward Patrick Gilles finally opened up the scoring in the second period with a well earned net-front goal. This goal only put the Eagles up 1-0, but it felt like a dagger after the squandered opportunity UMaine had on the powerplay that Boston College killed off. The Eagles went on to score their second goal in the third period, with Newhook sniping one into the UMaine net on the powerplay for the second night in a row. Things began falling apart for the Black Bears, and less than a minute later they conceded a third, this time from Boston College first-year forward Colby Ambrosio.
Despite two nights of good performances from both of UMaine’s goalies, the Black Bears ended up coming out of this weekend with little to show. However, they went toe-to-toe with the No. 1 team in the country, and held their own for the most part. Boston College is an extremely talented team with multiple future NHL stars, and getting swept by them on the road is nothing to be ashamed of. Hopefully, this was a learning experience and the Black Bears can build off of this, as there are only a few games left to solidify their place in Hockey East.