Ngan Tran / Gavel Media

Exceptional Goaltending Carries Maine to Consecutive Wins Over BC Men's Hockey

Despite dominating the puck throughout, Boston College struggled to find the back of the net in a tightly-contested two-game homestand against the University of Maine. The series reached overtime in both games, resulting in back-to-back 3-2 losses for the Eagles.

It is often said that there is no player in any sport more dominant than a hot goalie. Maine’s Jeremy Swayman made 37 saves in the Black Bears’ 4-3 win over BC on Friday night, with two of his three goals allowed coming on power plays. 

A strong start from BC gave the Eagles an early 2-0 lead after the first period. The first goal came from a Mike Hardman putback shot after Ben Finklestein’s shot was deflected by Swayman’s pad. 

The second goal came on a power play just minutes later. Alex Newhook scored this one on the give-and-go from Matt Boldy, sneaking it inside the right post with under five minutes remaining in the first. 

Following their second goal, BC went on a scoring drought that lasted nearly 40 minutes. 

The start of the second period brought with it a rejuvenated Maine team. It only took five minutes for Maine to tie the score.

Maine’s first goal came just 27 seconds into the period. Tim Doherty scored his first goal of the night, a breakaway goal from the edge of the faceoff circle, to put Maine on the board. Moments later, AJ Drobal scored the equalizer by sending a wrist shot into the left corner off Mitchell Fossier’s saucer pass. 

Maine’s scoring barrage didn’t end there. Fossier would score his second point of the game on a powerplay, tipping in Adam Dawe’s pass from the edge of the crease to give the Black Bears their first lead of the game with under five minutes remaining in the second period. 

Tension continued to build for the next 20 minutes of play. Maine was leading on the scoreboard, but BC seemed in control of play throughout. Even while on the penalty kill, the Eagles would often be dominating play as if they were on the power play. 

It wasn’t until the final two minutes that BC was able to even the score at three apiece. Logan Hutsko scored his 14th goal of the season on the powerplay, placing the puck perfectly into the corner on Swayman’s glove side immediately after a faceoff win by Julius Mattila. The arena erupted into a frenzy, with the same energy carrying into overtime. 

The energy dissipated just as quickly as it had been built up, however. Only two and a half minutes into the extra period of play, Tim Doherty would score his second goal of the contest. The backhanded wrist shot would keep BC out of first place in the Hockey East standings and give Maine their fifth win of the season. 

The following night brought more of the same for the Eagles. Boston College significantly outshot Maine again—this time to the tune of 38 shots on goal to 25—but the spectacular play of Swayman proved too much to overcome in the 3-2 overtime loss.

Julius Mattila cracked the game open for the Eagles, one-timing Logan Hutsko’s pass on the wing past Swayman’s glove. The 1-0 lead was short-lived. Just a minute later, Veli-Matti Tiuraniemi would make use of a screen to sneak the one-timer from the point past Spencer Knight.

Midway through the second period, Maine would take control of the game. Tim Doherty passed the puck back to Mitchell Fossier, who then wristed a shot into the top left side for a 2-1 lead. 

Twenty minutes had passed before the next goal was scored. Halfway through the third, BC had just finished killing a penalty on Aapeli Rasanen for holding. Jack McBain was able to feed the puck up to Graham McPhee, almost immediately after the Maine power play ended,  resulting in a top-shelf equalizer on Swayman’s glove side. 

Just like on Friday night, the arena roared with excitement at the goal that would eventually produce an overtime period. Just like on Friday night again, Boston College fans would go home disappointed after the extra time. 

With only 48 seconds remaining in the overtime period, Tim Doherty scored yet another point in the series. Doherty collected the puck behind the net and passed it behind his back to Patrick Shea. Shea then drilled the puck off Spencer Knight’s glove-side shoulder and into the net.

The Black Bears’ consecutive defeats of the Eagles mark BC’s first consecutive losses since October, when they failed to pick up a point on a two-game road trip to Denver.

BC will now look to bounce back against UMass on Friday night. The game, which will be played in Amherst, will be the third game in the currently-tied season series between the two teams. 

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Jake McNeill