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Boston College 4, Boston University 1; No. 2 Eagles Top No. 1 Terriers with Total Team Effort

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Photo by @bc_mhockey

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Going into Friday’s edition of “The Battle of Comm. Ave” between the Terriers of Boston University and the Boston College Eagles, it was deemed by many sources as the most anticipated college hockey game on the east coast in this generation. This inevitably forced fans to wonder: “Could it live up to the hype?” But sometimes games like this are decided even before the puck drops, and in Friday’s game, one thing was certain, the buzz in Conte Forum was so palpable that the Eagles would inevitably be playing with some buzz of their own.

With Friday’s 4-1 victory over BU, the Eagles (17-4-1) leapfrogged the Terriers (16-5-1) in wins and pushed three points closer to the top spot in the Hockey East standings.

Out of the gates, the energy the crowd gave off translated to play on the ice as either side finished every check and got extra shoves in during scrums. During the first ten minutes of play, freshman forward Macklin Celebrini had BU’s best chance of the period on a power play when he fired a one-timer on BC netminder Jacob Fowler who parried the chance with a brilliant kick save.

BC had a pair of power plays of their own in the first period but BU goaltender Mathieu Caron answered the bell denying BC freshman forward Ryan Leonard from point-blank range on two occasions.

The teams skated into the first intermission scoreless, but at 3:34 of the second frame, Leonard would find the back of the net, this time at full strength, firing a snap shot past Caron’s low-glove for his 13th of the season.

Following Leonard’s tally, the Terriers answered with a series of rush chances and hit Fowler’s left post ringing loud enough to rise over the crowd’s deafening cheers.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the ice, Caron remained rock solid. After freshman Gabe Perreault flew down the left wing and dished a feed to classmate Will Smith, he made a toe-drag that left the far side of the cage wide open only to be denied by Caron in a full split. Later on, Caron’s athleticism continued as his right pad denied sophomore Andre Gasseau on the doorstep once again.

However, following a similar zone exit by Will Smith and a brilliant saucer feed to Gabe Perreault, the team’s leading point-getter made no mistake when he sniped BC’s second goal top-shelf past Mathieu Caron.

After Perreault’s tally, BC played textbook defensive hockey, forcing the Terriers to play outside of the dots and parrying any loose pucks that would squeak into the crease. Ultimately, the two sides skated into the second intermission relatively smoothly.

In the third frame both teams played disciplined hockey, but this time the Terrier blue line came up big as graduate defenseman Cade Webber blocked a Will Smith one-timer keeping the Terriers in the game up to that point. Minutes later, the Terriers fed off that energy as junior forward Jack Hughes found a hole in Fowler’s armor putting BU within one.

At that point, the Terriers were well within reach when they pulled their goalie with two minutes to go in the game. But their efforts came up short as Jack Malone found a loose puck in the slot and lobbed a pass to a streaking Cutter Gauthier who buried the empty netter extending his point streak to 13 games. Seconds later, classmate Andre Gasseau collected a second empty netter to ice the game.

This win marked BC’s first victory over a number-one-ranked opponent in over a decade since the likes of NHL regulars like Cam Atkinson took the ice for the Eagles in the NCAA tournament.

The Eagles will round out their two-game set on Saturday against this same Terriers team on the Agganis Arena Ice at 7 p.m. airing on NESN.

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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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Hockey

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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Hockey

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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