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BC hockey notebook: Looking ahead to first doubleheader weekend

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Following up last week’s exhilarating season-opening win at Quinnipiac, Boston College looked to build on the momentum. With a record-setting student crowd in attendance, BC rebounded from a slow start and picked up the 4-2 win over LIU where they outshot the Sharks 38-12.

“I thought, you know, our first shift of the game was outstanding,” Greg Brown said following the win Saturday. “But then it looked like we didn’t quite have that edge for a lot of the first period and they made some plays. One to keep us out of the middle to get chances, but also opportunistic to capitalize. when they got down in our zone they created some good shots, so I didn’t think it looked as bad as being down two nothing early, but the positive side of that is we kind of gathered ourselves on the bench, the guys did stay very positive and were able to come back and be tied by the end of the period.”

The Sharks were clearly outmatched, as after the early deficit the Eagles responded with two goals in the first period from Jack Malone and Drew Fortescue. BC then piled on two more for the victory within three minutes of each other in the second period, as Andre Gasseau and Oskar Jellvik added their names to the scoresheet.

“I think we had a couple of great chances, and they didn’t go in. I think you probably thought, okay, we got to get a goal. If you start to think too much about just playing offense, then you kind of lose your edge instead of just playing the right way, then you usually get more chances, but because we missed a few of our early chances, we probably pushed a little too hard that way, and then didn’t take care of the little details that make you feel more successful.”

The Eagles were able to settle into the game and even up the score to end the period. Now utilizing the home ice to their advantage BC got stronger as the game went along, outshooting LIU 23-6 in the middle period and 23-9 in the final period.

“I thought each period we got a little bit better,” Brown said. “Our second was a little better than our first and our third was a little bit better than our second. We wanted to capitalize on more of the chances we create, but other than that is a huge non-conference win that we were able to grind out. so I think that’s the biggest one.”

One of the freshmen in particular, had a stellar debut last weekend in goaltender Jacob Fowler. Continuously slamming the door shut on the defending National Champions, Fowler looked anything but someone who was making their college debut. After a slow start on home ice, Brown was asked how Fowler responded to early adversity.

“I’m sure he was feeling that (the large crowd),” he said. “To give up two early, shows his mental fortitude, that he really shut the door after that. It’s not easy for any goalie to give up two early, but especially for a freshman in his first home game I am sure he was so excited and wanted to do so well so the fact that he shut them down for the last 50 minutes was a huge testament to his mental strength and the guys in front of him as well.”

The Eagles look ahead to RPI and Denver this weekend as they continue their six-game homestand — and it’ll be their first doubleheader of the weekend.

USCHO rankings

The Eagles moved up one spot, from 4 to 3 in the rankings after this weekend — they also received two first-place votes. But, ahead of them is Denver and Minnesota; though BU was the team that fell after losing to UNH, the first Hockey East game of the season.

BC-Denver is going to be one to watch.

Women’s team sweeps UConn

Following a rough 0-4 start to the season, BC women’s hockey got back on track this weekend — sweeping 15th-ranked UConn to grab their first and second wins of the season.

BC went down 2-0 in the first period but responded with three consecutive goals. The Huskies would tie it, however, at 3-3; but Abby Newhook with one minute to go in overtime won the draw and took it coast-to-coast before sniping one top-shelf for BC’s first win of the season.

“Newy going in on that 2-on-1 in overtime with (freshman Julia Pellerin), they’re both very threatening,” head coach Katie Crowley said after the win Friday. “The goalie didn’t know whether she was gonna pass or shoot, and Newy found a way to put it in.”

The Eagles then grabbed the 2-1 win over the Huskies the following day away from home, as Pellerin and Julia Pyne both scored to move the Eagles to 2-0 in Hockey East play to begin the season.

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Hockey

Boston College 6, UMass Amherst 4; Eagles Top Minutemen with Ryan Leonard Hat-trick

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Photo by @bc_mhockey

CHESTNUT HILL Mass. – Less than two days after his two-goal performance away at Amherst in front of his hometown crowd. Freshman forward Ryan Leonard one-upped himself Sunday afternoon with a terrific three-goal performance. With this turn of events, Leonard passed the 20-goal mark on the season, adding to his team-high plus-25 status. As an Amherst native, it is safe to say that Leonard left his mark on the Minutemen regardless of who was cheering for him.

As BC (23-5-1) pushed past Amherst (16-9-3) in Sunday afternoon’s action, they extended their win streak to four games and seven against the Minutemen.

Unlike Friday’s action, the Eagles came out firing following first puck drop. After a few seconds of puck cycling freshman Gabe Perreault centered a brilliant feed for classmate Ryan Leonard who fired the opening goal past UMass goalie Michael Hrabal’s far side.

Then, following the majority of the period where BC had most of the possession time and SOGs, the Eagles struck on the man advantage. Senior defenseman Eamon Powell send a pass down low for freshman forward Will Smith to sling a cross-crease pass to classmate Gabe Perreault who chipped in BC’s second goal top-shelf.

Despite a smooth transition in and out of the first intermission, BC failed to beat Hrabal for much of the second frame, and at 8:28 of the period, Amherst’s Kenny Connors slipped one past BC goalie Jacob Fowler’s five-hole for their first of the game.

Minutes later, Aydar Suniev of the Minutemen scored two goals in succession pushing Amherst ahead of BC 3-2.

However, BC answered right back as sophomore defenseman Lukas Gustafsson fired a shot through traffic only to deflect off graduate forward Jamie Armstrong’s stick and past Hrabal for his second of the year.

Still, UMass refused to go away following the second intermission, as Dans Locmelis fired the leading goal past Jacob Fowler making the score 4-3 Amherst.

But, as he’s done multiple times this season, BC’s Ryan Leonard stepped up in the big moments, starting with burying a short-side snipe past Hrabal off the post and in off a Will Smith feed.

Less than a minute later, Leonard received a pass from classmate Will Smith in the low slot who drove hard to the net mouth firing home his hat-trick goal far side past Hrabal, sending the Forum crowd into a frenzy.

After a late empty-net tally from sophomore forward Cutter Gauthier, the Eagles capped off a memorable weekend sweep against UMass Amherst their third in three seasons.

The Eagles are set to continue action versus the Vermont Catamounts 7 p.m. at Kelley Rink this Friday night.

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Boston College 5, UMass Amherst 1; No. 1 Eagles Mash No. 11 Minutemen in Leonard’s Return Home

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Photo by @bc_mhockey

AMHERST Mass. – For freshman forward Ryan Leonard, the expectation was that he would follow in his brother John’s footsteps and stay close to home to attend local university UMass Amherst. However, after spending two years out of state at the USNTDP in Plymouth, MI. Leonard continued to shine on the big stage, especially in big international competition matchups. “I wanted to play in the Beanpot” Leonard told the Daily Hampshire Gazette in one interview. At this point, it’s clear that BC allows Leonard to play his best in the biggest moments, and on Friday he proved why he wanted to forge his own path.

In front of a packed house at the Mullins Center Friday night, the Eagles (22-5-1) stifled the Minutemen (16-8-3) in the first half of a home-and-home series.

Out of the gates, the Eagles struggled to get things going, Amherst rung the post two times in succession as BC scrambled for lose pucks. However, at 14:58 of the first, sophomore Andre Gasseau dropped a pass to classmate Cutter Gauthier who buried the chance off an Amherst defender for the opening goal.

As the teams skated into the first intermission, Amherst still held most of the chances following the first period.

In the second frame, UMass answered back as forward Lucas Mercuri buried a rebound down low, knotting the score at one apiece.

Nevertheless, Cutter Gauthier answered back slinging a wrister from the right point that caromed past Amherst goaltender Michael Hrabal for Gauthier’s 25th goal of the season.

After a series of penalty kills for either side, the Eagles found themselves on the man advantage when Amherst’s Kenny Connors headed to the box for roughing. On that powerplay, freshman Ryan Leonard demonstrated his lethal shot, firing a snapper past Hrabal doubling BC’s lead.

Minutes later, the USA line would link up once more as freshman Will Smith dished an entry feed to streaking classmate Gabe Perreault who squared one for Leonard, ripping home his second of the game and the fourth for BC.

Down the stretch, freshman goalie Jacob Fowler shut down the Minutemen making several key saves en route to a solid 25-save performance.

The Eagles will be back in action at Kelley Rink for a 1 p.m. start against UMass Amherst on Sunday.

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Boston College 5, Harvard 0; No. 1 Eagles Crush Crimson in Beanpot Revenge Game

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Photo by @bc_mhockey

BOSTON, Mass. – Following his draft year when he scored 132 points, it should not be a surprise that freshman Gabe Perreault is leading the Eagles in points. But he’s not just scoring at a steady pace, he’s leading the entire nation in points and speeding by former Eagle greats in the process. With Perreault’s rebound goal and assist in Monday’s game versus Harvard, he tied BC great Chris Kreider’s total from 2012 at 45 points scored in only 27 games. Needless to say, Perreault is going to shatter some records during his career as an Eagle.

With Monday’s win over Harvard (4-15-4), the Eagles (21-5-1) emerged victorious in back-to-back games, maintaining necessary space in the pair-wise rankings.

In a fairly uneventful first frame, other than a notable dive block from junior defenseman Aidan Hreschuk, the teams headed into the dressing rooms knotted at zero.

Midway through the second period, freshman Ryan Leonard fired a shot at Harvard goaltender Derek Mullahy who bobbled the chance leaving the puck sitting on the goal line only for Gabe Perreault to slam home the opening tally.

At the 19-minute mark of the second period, the Eagles broke the game wide open. It started when sophomores Cutter Gauthier and Oskar Jellvik linked up for a gorgeous give-and-go play in the slot leaving Jellvik open to hammer a one-timer into the empty cage for BC’s second of the game.

Seconds later, the USA pressed the Crimson deep into their own zone. On that same play, Gabe Perreault dug a puck out the corner, centering a feed for classmate Ryan Leonard who buried his 16th of the season.

As the teams skated in and out of the second intermission, the Crimson failed to gain control of the puck for longer than a couple of seconds in the third frame.

At 7:34 of the third period, senior defenseman Eamon Powell sped past the Harvard back line and fired a puck far side past Harvard goalie Aku Koskenvuo, who replaced Mullahy in goal for the Crimson.

To build on the theme of incredible goals scored throughout the game, freshman Ryan Leonard lifted a brilliant alley-oop-like pass for a streaking Will Smith who headed in on a breakaway. With one swift head fake, Smith forced Harvard’s goalie out of position tucking a backhander home for BC’s fifth of the game.

Harvard failed to score during Monday’s action giving a shutout to BC goaltender Jan Korec in his first collegiate start, tallying 19 saves on the night.

The Eagles will resume Hockey East action this weekend facing the UMass Minutemen in Amherst Friday at 7 p.m. on the Mullins Center ice.

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