Jack McBain recorded his third career multi-goal game and Matt Boldy netted the game-winner early in the third, as Boston College opened the season with a 4-3 victory over UMass.
The Eagles had to wait a little longer than expected to start the 2020-21 season, but that seems normal in the Covid-19 world. They were slated to open the season against New Hampshire last weekend before an inconclusive test postponed the two games. This weekend was expected to feature a home-and-home with Providence, but some schedule shuffling saw the 1-0-1 Minutemen arrive at the Heights for the Friday night game.
The matchup between the top two teams in the Hockey East preseason poll did not disappoint. Despite the high-scoring result, goalies Matt Murray and Spencer Knight played well in net, recording 28 and 30 saves apiece. Murray was particularly strong in the late stages of the game, allowing the Minutemen to claw back even and have a chance to win.
Boston College lost a lot of players from last season’s senior-laden team and was without reigning national rookie of the year Alex Newhook who is in Canada preparing for the World Juniors. Therefore, it was no surprise to see quite a few new faces in the lineup. Perhaps the most surprising lineup move was the inclusion of freshman forward Gentry Shamburger as the team’s sixth defensemen.
Of the freshmen, Colby Ambrosio stood out playing alongside Matt Boldy and Mike Hardman. He will most likely fill in on the line until Newhook returns, but Ambrosio showcased his Newhook-like speed. He also dished out a nice one-touch pass to set up Boldy for the game-winner.
Centering the first line, McBain had one of the best games of his career, scoring multiple goals for the first time since last year’s Beanpot consolation game against Harvard. McBain started the scoring by jamming home a puck late in the first. He followed up a Hardman goal with his second of the night in the second period on a nifty stop-and-shoot.
Following McBain’s second, UMass freshman Josh Lopina scored two of his own in the next four minutes to even the game at three heading into the third period.
Skating behind Knight’s goal, Eamon Powell outletted it the puck to Ambrosio beyond center ice. Ambrosio tapped it to Boldy coming through the middle, and the sophomore picked Murray’s top corner.
Given the likely schedule changes, this game may or may not be counted as a conference contest. As part of Hockey East’s return to play, teams will play non conference games against other Hockey East opponents. BC is scheduled to face UMass again in January, and if those games are played then this weekend’s games will not be a part of the conference record.
The Eagles head out to Amherst for a 4:30 game on Saturday to conclude the weekend.
Photo courtesy of BCEagles.com