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No. 15 Vermont hasn’t won a game at Boston College’s Kelley rink since 1994, and Saturday was no different, as the Eagles slaughtered the Catamounts 7-1 in a Hockey East showdown.
BC, now 4-2-1, 3-2-1 HEA, produced four Eagles with multiple points. Sophomore Jimmy Hayes tallied four assists, and classmates Tommy Cross (one goal, two assists) and Paul Carey (one goal, one assist) produced three and two points respectively. Rookies Steven Whitney (two goals, one assist) and Chris Kreider (one goal) also nabbed their first career goals.
The Catamounts beat the Eagles in the first game of the season 4-1, and the teams sat next to each other in the Hockey East standings coming into the game with the same record, but tonight’s game highlighted the difference between the two clubs.
It started at 2:29 of the first period when Vermont’s David Pacan went to the box for hitting from behind and BC proceeded to score on the power play.
There was a scuffle in front of Vermont goalie Rob Madore (8 saves). He fell backwards after rebounding the puck, and Steve Whitney was there to shove it in the back door for his first collegiate point.
BC, who ended up three of four on the power play tonight, has been taking full advantage of the power play lately after scoring four last weekend against UNH.
“We’re getting a little more cohesive on the power play,” said Eagles’ coach Jerry York. “We saw bits and pieces earlier in the season, even during the short training camp that we had. We thought we had people in place to have a pretty dangerous power play unit, but we never quite got a good feel of how to be cohesive. But now in the last 10 to 12 days, we’re practicing it better (and) we’re becoming more dangerous because we’re in sync now.”
When the Eagles became short-handed because of Cross’s interference penalty at 8:35, Vermont nabbed their only goal of the night. Catamount Kevin Miller passed the puck over to Kyle Medvec in the left wing, where Medvec landed just past the blue line and drilled a slap shot to the high right corner of the net past John Muse (30 saves) at 10:13 for the power-play goal.
A few minutes later, Eagle Joe Whitney flew down the center slot, stickhandling his way around defenders, but eventually sending the puck off of Vermont’s goalieâ€™s pads.
With 6:13 left in the opening stanza, Vermont’s Drew Mackenzie tried stuffing the puck in past Muse and the goal light went on, but after a long awaited video review, it was no goal for the Catamounts.
Junior Brett Leonard tried to pull Vermont ahead by grabbing the puck away from an Eagle in the neutral zone and skated alone down the left wing. He came to an abrupt halt, spun around, and dished the puck to the crease, but no one came to save the day.
Instead, an Eagle came to the rescue with just over 20 seconds left in the first period. Steven Whitney potted his second goal of the game when he ventured solo down the right side and shot a wrister from the circle at 19:37.
“I think the play at the end of the first period pretty much sums up the night for us,” said Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon. “With 23 seconds to go, we got a chance to get the puck deep and get some fresh legs on and we just made two really poor decisions. It would have been nice to come out of the first period 1-1 against a great team, and instead we’re (down) 2-1. It was a game where every mistake we made, they capitalized. They touched the puck, it turned to gold; we touched the puck, it turned to coal.”
BC carried the momentum into the second period, scoring just four minutes in. Hayes drilled one from the top of the slot, Madore saved it with his pads, but the other Whitney, junior Joe, was there to shove the rubber in off the rebound at 4:32 for his third goal of the season.
Minutes later, Vermont’s Jack Downing slammed BC rookie Patrick Wey against the boards behind the BC net. Downing was sent to the box for charging at 14:21 and once again, the Eagles capitalized with the man advantage.
Hayes tallied his fourth assist of the night, passing the puck over to Cross, who then rifled it through a sea of jerseys from the right point. Cross added his second power-play goal of the season and second point of the night when the puck slid in stick side past Madore at 15:29.
In the third period, Vermont put in senior Mike Spillane (4 saves) in net to spark some change, but BC continued to dominate offensively.
BC rookie Chris Kreider potted his first collegiate goal after picking up the puck in the left wing just past the neutral zone. He flew with it across the crease, eventually dumping it in glove side past Spillane at 2:47 to make it a four-goal lead for the home team.
The Eagles were not done yet, as they secured another power-play goal at 3:53. Carey took a shot at the UVM netminder and senior Ben Smith was there to slip in the rebound back door on the rush for his sixth goal of the year.
As if a five goal lead wasn’t enough, Carey jumped off the bench and landed directly in front of the puck. He took it down the left side, scoring an unassisted goal off a shot from the circle that landed in the top right corner of the Catamounts’ net at 9:39.
The two teams faceoff Sunday at 4:00 p.m.
“We’re trying to avoid a split,” said York. “But tomorrow, Kevin is trying to gain one.”