KK Bent / Gavel Media

Eagles Ranked Third in Hockey East With Sweep Over Catamounts

The Boston College men’s hockey team won both games of a two-game series on Thursday and Friday against the University of Vermont Catamounts in conference play at Conte Forum. Offensive contributions from a variety of Eagles led to the team’s success, in addition to sound defense and efforts from multiple goalies between the pipes.

BC struck fast and frequently in Thursday’s match-up, setting a tone of dominance for the rest of the game. The Eagles opened the series with three unanswered goals in the first from a total of nine different players.

The usual suspects began the scoring—junior David Cotton deflected a shot from sophomore Logan Hutsko, with junior Julius Matilla collecting and burying the rebound while on the power play. Less than a minute later, freshman Patrick Giles forced a turnover at the Catamounts' blue line, allowing rookie linemate Jack McBain to take the puck deep and feed senior Christopher Brown on the back post, putting BC up 2-0. With six minutes left in the first, freshman phenom Oliver Wahlstrom chased down and knocked a loose puck between the pads of Vermont goalie Stefano Lekkas, with junior Graham McPhee and sophomore Aapeli Räsänen earning the assists.  

After an uneventful second period, BC struck again in the third. A point-shot into traffic from junior Jesper Matilla was deflected by Cotton, catching Lekkas off guard and finding the back of the net. Matillla became the tenth name to appear on the scoresheet for the Eagles on Thursday night, with Hutsko earning the secondary assist.

Vermont freshman Joey Cipollone responded late in the third, capitalizing on a scrappy play by the Catamounts in front of the net to put his team on the board. It wouldn’t be enough, however, as the Eagles took the game 4-1.

Junior Joseph Woll made 29 saves on 30 Vermont shots, while Boston had a season-high 42 shots and went 5-for-5 on the penalty kill to finish 15 consecutive penalty kills.

The Eagle’s onslaught continued into Friday night’s bout. Cotton converted on a Matilla rebound just 16 seconds into the game; Hutsko earned his third assist of the season on the play as well. Vermont had something to say this time around, however, with the Catamounts’ Vlad Dzhioshvilli answering late in the first by rifling a shot past freshman goalie Ryan Edquist.

Nonetheless, BC regained its one-goal advantage early in the second on a bang-bang play from defenseman Michael Kim to Matilla, who redirected the shot top-shelf. Giles also tallied an assist on the goal, earning his second point of the season and building off of his performance from the previous night.

Roughly five minutes later, UVM’s Jake Massie threaded a point-shot through traffic to even out the score. The goal came just as the Eagles' 5-on-3 disadvantage came to an end, simultaneously bringing an end to BC's 16 consecutive penalty kills streak.

With the game tied up at two apiece in the second, it was no other than Cotton who regained the lead for the Eagles with less than a minute left in the second. From Connor Moore to Hutsko to Cotton, the Eagle’s leading scorer burned a one-time shot from the slot past the blocker of UVM’s goalie, culminating in the night's game-deciding factor. A quiet third from both sides would leave BC on top 3-2, extending its winning streak to three.

Now 3-1-0 in Hockey East play and 3-5-0 overall, BC is third in the conference, trailing only UMass Amherst and Northeastern. It is still early in the season though, and the conference race is tight—the Eagles trail Northeastern by only a single point and lead BU and UConn by the same amount. The Eagles will look to continue their success as they take on the University of New Hampshire at home this Friday, November 16 at 7 p.m.

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