CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - A pair of goals by junior Johnny Gaudreau, including his first-career short-handed tally, and sturdy play from rookie netminder Thatcher Demko backed the No. 5 Boston College hockey team to a 4-2 triumph over No. 19 Northeastern on Friday night at Kelley Rink.
With the win, Boston College elevates its record to 18-8-4 in Hockey East opening games.
Senior Kevin Hayes finished with a terrific night, registering his second power play strike of the season while rookie Ryan Fitzgerald scored his second of the year thanks for a hard drive on Hayes' behalf.
Demko finished the evening with 20 stops, but several with the quick glove as the Huskies attacked from all angles. NU goalie Clay Witt picked up his first loss of the season after stopping 29 of BC's 33 attempts. Demko remains unbeaten on the season, upping his mark to 2-0-1.
Senior alternate captain Bill Arnold and sophomore Michael Matheson each assisted on a pair of goals in BC's conference-opening victory.
With a 2-1 lead heading into the third period, Boston College attacked quickly in the final frame.
The Huskies forced the puck in deep on Boston College, but junior defenseman Danny Linell came away with a skirmish out to Fitzgerald waiting on the wall.
Fitzgerald popped the puck out to Hayes in between the circles and raced it down the other end. Hayes let off a clean shot, knocking Witt to the ice. With the puck in mid-air, Fitzgerald stayed the course and batted the back into the net before Witt could get his bearings for the 3-1 advantage at 1:08.
Northeastern drew first blood on a Ryan Belonger tally 12:43 into the contest.
Nathan Ferriero dumped the puck into the near corner where centerman Dalen Hedges collapsed on it. The two Huskies outnumbered senior Isaac MacLeod and Hedges was able to shove the puck out to Belonger on the goal mouth. Belonger redirected it short side, beating Demko on the near post for a 1-0 Northeastern lead.
The Eagles rattled off the next two, both coming via the special teams' unit.
Both penalty killing units staved off opportunities midway through the first, but a Josh Manson cross-checking call in the far corner proved costly late in the frame.
Manson was flagged at 18:22 of the opening stanza and Hayes capitalized just over a minute later. Ian McCoshen won a battle along the wall to Mike Matheson on the red line. Matheson swung the puck to the other side of the sheet where Hayes caught the disc mid-stride. Hayes beat his pursuer and crossed up Witt on the crease for the backhand power play strike at 19:29 to tie it up before intermission, 1-1.
Midway through the second, BC went on the penalty kill after a MacLeod interference call at 10:49. Just before the infraction was about to expire, Matheson made a great outlet pass to trigger a short-handed strike for BC.
Matheson scooped the puck out from behind Demko out to Gaudreau on the right dot. Gaudreau carted the puck up to the red line and shifted over to Arnold near the NU zone. Arnold quickly deferred back to Gaudreau to create the two-on-one situation. Gaudreau patiently backed his man down with Arnold to his right and snapped a quick wrister past Witt's blocker for the Eagles' first lead of the night at 12:19, 2-1.
Boston College iced the game with a late Gaudreau empty-netter with 13.2 seconds remaining in regulation.
Arnold broke a play up on the Eagles' blue line and first-year defenseman Steve Santini batted the puck around the rim. Gaudreau gathered it put it away to seal BC's 4-2 victory.
Boston College outshot Northeastern, 33-22. Each club finished 1-for-5 on power play chances.
Boston College makes the return trip to Matthews Arena tomorrow night against Northeastern. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.
- Of all the things Johnny Gaudreau has accomplished at BC, a short-handed goal was not one of them until Friday evening. Gaudreau scored his first collegiate short-handed goal against Northeastern in his 85th outing donning the maroon and gold.
- Johnny Gaudreau posted his ninth-career two-goal game in the 4-2 win over Northeastern on Friday night. The Carneys Point, N.J., native has performed well against the Huskies. Gaudreau scored his sixth and seventh goals against NU along with his 15th point (7-8-15).
- Kevin Hayes tallied his second power play goal of the season on Friday night. The Dorchester, Mass., native upped his career total to 10 with the tally. Hayes and Johnny Gaudreau are the only two Eagles with power play goals thus far. Hayes has posted multi-point performances in three of his seven outings this season.
- Second-year defenseman Michael Matheson registered his first multi-point outing of the season with two helpers. Bill Arnold turned in his second two-assist outing of the season and his first since the Wisconsin game on Oct. 18.
- Boston College is 18-8-4 in Hockey East season openers.