UMass always gives BC trouble. Even though the Eagles are the #1 team in the country, the defending NCAA Champs, and have won 25 of their last 26 games. But UMass can skate. And that negates BC's most crucial advantage: their speed.
Last night BC needed a pair of 3rd period goals for a 3-2 comeback win. On October 19th they fell behind 3-0 to UMass, then scored 4 times in the 3rd, eventually winning 5-4 in OT. BC have won 4 straight against UMass, all by 1 goal margins. Before that, they lost 2 in a row to the Minutemen.
The Minutemen are just a few pieces short of solving the BC puzzle. They don't finish scoring chances as well as BC. And BC's goaltending stymies most of UMass's best scoring chances. Last night BC goalie Parker Milner stopped 29 of 31 UMass shots. UMass went ahead early in the 3rd period, but BC goals from Michael Matheson and Patrick Brown tied, then won the game for the Eagles.
Boston College are champions because they win tough, close games like this one. They get good goaltending and clutch offense when it's needed most.
Johnny Gaudreau had an assist on the Matheson goal, his 9th point of the season in 7 games. The sophomore, whose NHL rights belong to Calgary, has lit up Hockey East this fall.
Bill Arnold scored BC's first goal of the game, his third of the season, and his fifth Power Play point.
The #1 Eagles host the #8 Fighting Irish of Notre Dame on Friday night, then play at #12 Boston University on Sunday.