CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- Midway through the second period Saturday evening Boston College blew out a fairly close game with three goals in just under two minutes and then cruised to a convincing 6-0 exhibition win against the visiting University of New Brunswick men's hockey team. The BC Eagles are the reigning NCAA champions, are ranked #1 to start the 2012-13 season, and didn't look to have lost a step in the off-season.
The first period was fairly even with UNB's Antoine Houde-Caron, Thomas Nesbitt and Bryce Swan all having scoring chances. BC's top line got the only goal of the period at 8:30 off the rush. Travis Fullerton making the initial save on Steven Whitney but no UNB defenders picked up Johnny Gaudreau who was able to waltz in to put away the rebound. Eagles captain Pat Mullane got the other assist. UNB put on a strong push in the last minute of the period, but couldn't beat veteran Boston College netminder Parker Milner.
Brian Billett took over in the Eagles net to start the second period, but he wasn't to see a lot of puck action. The V-Reds got caught running around in their own zone early, and Destry Straight made the pay from close in at 2:08 after UNB had three opportunities to clear the puck. BC had a couple of more good scoring chances later on, and then at 8:23 V-Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall used his timeout to talk to his team. Unfortunately six seconds later after player restarted UNB's Tyler Carroll was called for holding on an over-aggressive forecheck in the offensive zone. Once again Fullerton made the first save, but Bill Arnold was able to bang in the rebound for a power play goal at 8:48.
Just over a minute later BC added another goal when a wrapround attempt appeared to bounce off two or three skates before squirting past the UNB goaltender. The play was reviewed with video replay, but the goal was ruled to be good. Forty seconds later it went from bad to worse when Chris Culligan lost the puck coming out of his zone and Patrick Brown sniped the loose puck over Fullerton's shoulder. With about five minutes to go in the second period UNB had a great scoring chance on the power play but were absolutely robbed by Billett's glove. Shots were 17-4 for BC in the middle period, and they scored five times.
BC's third goalie, Brad Barone, started the third period and Dan LaCosta took over in the UNB net. Within the first minute the Eagles were driving the UNB net and Kevin Hayes had his shot ring off the crossbar behind LaCosta. Both teams had a few scoring chances in the period, but it Danny Linell getting the only goal, and probably the prettiest of the game, as he broke into the UNB zone on a two-on-one rush and snapped the puck just under the crossbar at 17:31.
UNB was unable to break BC's three-goalie shutout. They were only outshot 8-6 in the third period, but thanks to their huge second period the Eagles outshot the V-Reds 34-18 in the game. BC was 1-for-6 on the power play while UNB was 0-for-4 with the man advantage. The attendance was 1734 on a beautiful, warm autumn day in Boston.
Asked to compare this game with BC's last meeting with UNB back on December 21 and 23, 2008 for the Pete Kelly Cup Challenge in Fredericton, Eagles head coach Jerry York said, “I think the home team gets such an advantage. We had that advantage tonight. I thought the difference was quite frankly that our goalies played unbelievable. They made some terrific saves. I think this is an even better Varsity Reds team than the one we saw in Fredericton, and they won the national title that year.”
York laughed when he pointed out how the two clubs' respective national championships have gone. “Talking to Gardiner, we've got to figure this out. They won in '07, '09, and '11 and we won in '08, '10, and '12. We've got to learn to work back to back here.”
York has a lot of respect for the UNB program that had a tough night. “Sometimes when the score gets like 6-0 late in the game ... they've got great discipline ... there's no problem, Gardiner really controls his kids. I've been down 6-0 and sometimes it's hard to control your kids. He's always got control and nobody's going to try to get hurt out here.”
The Eagles longtime coach offered that he's keen to talk to Gardiner MacDougall about arranging a future visit for Boston College to the Aitken University Centre as they enjoyed the trip so much last time.
At the other side of the Kelley Rink in the Conte Forum, MacDougall had a much more sober assessment of his team's performance. “Early in the year you try to find out about your group and we had a pretty good spike on Thursday when we played Portland." UNB lost 2-1 in an overtime shootout to the AHL's Portland Pirates Thursday afternoon. MacDougall continued, "I thought we had a really, really solid effort for the group and obviously we are disappointed with the effort tonight. Especially 48 hours later. We know they're both good opponents but probably the difference between the group is just determination. On Thursday I thought there was so many positives in all three positions. Our goaltender was outstanding. Our D played as good a game as UNB's D has played down in the US. Our forwards contributed and had great determination in everything we did. Tonight I thought we had a bit of a lack. We played another good club but we didn't have the same determination today. The good thing is we got an opportunity tomorrow.”
The V-Reds will travel north on the I-95 to play the Maine Black Bears, in Orono, Sunday afternoon at 4:00 pm.