PITTSBURGH - No. 7 Boston College called upon its defensive unit to shutout Bowling Green, 5-0, in the first semifinal game of the second annual Three Rivers Classic on Friday afternoon at CONSOL Energy Center. The Eagles' defense not only posted its second shutout of the season, four blue liners combined to score in the triumph. Junior Brian Billett anchored the victory, posting his first-career shutout in his 20th start as an Eagle.
Junior Johnny Gaudreau did not let the holiday break plug up his scoring streak. The Carneys Point, N.J., native matched a career high, extending his point streak to 12-consecutive games with a one goal, two assist effort.
Gaudreau's linemates, Kevin Hayes and Bill Arnold were also multi-point scorers with a pair of helpers each, while sophomore defenseman Travis Jeke made a big impression in his hometown debut. The Pittsburgh native, who dressed in his first game of the season, notched his first-career multi-point game with a goal and an assist.
Along with Jeke's strike, sophomores Teddy Doherty and Michael Matheson along with rookie Scott Savage were amongst the other three defensemen to find the back of the net. Not only did BC's defense play an offensive role, but the Eagles' penalty-killing unit has not allowed a power play goal in five-straight games.
Billett turned away 27 shots in the shutout while BGSU's Tommy Burke stopped 33-of-38 Boston College attempts.
Gaudreau wasted no time matching his career-best, netting the first strike of the game at 1:19 into the contest. Hayes sent the puck half way across the sheet, perfectly connecting with Gaudreau in the neutral zone. The speed junior raced down the right side and beat Burke with his patented backhander to give the Eagles the early edge, 1-0.
Just over two minutes later, Jeke extended the lead in similar fashion at 3:33. Gaudreau factored in once again, triggering the play with initial outlet pass to Jeke from the far wall. With plenty of daylight in front, Jeke sped down the right side of the sheet, kept the puck protected and let loose a top-shelf backhand for a two-goal cushion.
Doherty pushed the advantage to 3-0 on a charge from the left corner at 6:45. The top line of Gaudreau-Arnold-Hayes created the play, zipping the puck through the zone to a wide-open Doherty on the far side of goal line extended. Hayes linked up with Doherty and the sophomore blue liner skated it across the crease, crafted one deke and beat an out-of-position Burke to cap the three-goal opening stanza.
The Eagles' offense cooled for a bit before Savage lit the lamp with a big wrist shot off the draw at 12:50 of the second frame.
Boston College dominated possession in BGSU territory and forced a faceoff to Burke's right. Patrick Brown won it back cleanly to the left of the circle where Michael Sit immediately relayed in up to the point. Savage was just within the blue line and ripped it through traffic for the 4-0 buffer.
With about roughly three minutes remaining in the game, BGSU's Matt Pohlkamp rang a wrister off the pipe to try and break up Billett's shutout. Billett was in position to make the stop.
Shortly after, Matheson added his third tally of the season to cap the 5-0 shutout with 16.3 left in regulation.
Destry Straight was the cataylsy, digging it out to Jeke along the half wall. Matheson freed himself down the right side, accepted Jeke's dish and beat Burke with a tight juke in front.
Boston College will face the winner of the Robert Morris - Penn State result in the championship game of the Three Rivers Classic at 7:30 p.m. at the CONSOL Energy Center.
- Johnny Gaudreau matched a career best on Friday, matching his first 12-game point streak he posted from Oct. 13 to Nov. 30, 2012. The Carneys Point, N.J., native has accounted for 11 goals and 12 assists in his current 12-game point streak starting on Nov. 1, 2013. Gaudreau is also in the midst of a career best seven-game assist streak. Gaudreau also provided the game-winning goal, pushing his career total to 15. Gaudreau's 15 career game-winning goals are tops in college hockey.
- In his 20th-career start, junior Brian Billett recorded his first-career shutout via 27 saves in Friday's 5-0 triumph. The last time Boston College recorded a shutout on the road was when Parker Milner made 29 saves at Providence on Feb. 24, 2012.
- Defensemen Teddy Doherty, Scott Savage, Travis Jeke and Michael Matheson all scored in Friday's victory. The Eagles have had two or more defensemen score two or more goals in two of their last three games. Steven Santini and Doherty scored against New Hampshire on Dec. 6. The four goals by Boston College's defensive corps is the most this season.
- In three games together, the line of Johnny Gaudreau - Bill Arnold - Kevin Hayes has produced 16 points (5-10-16) with a +21 rating and a 3-0-0 record
- Boston College earned its first power play in over two and a half games against Bowling Green when Pierre-Luc Mercier was called for charging at 13:12 of the second period. The last power play the Eagles picked up was on Nov. 29, 2013, against Holy Cross (16:28 - 3rd period). 160 minutes and 20 seconds elapsed between Boston College power plays over the course of four games (Nov. 29 - Dec. 27).
- Travis Jeke returned to his hometown in a big way on Friday night. The Pittsburgh native not only dressed in his first game of the 2013-14 season, he also recorded his first-career multi point game with a goal and an assist in BC's 5-0 opening-round win. Jeke scored early in the first frame, his first marker since a trip to Vermont on March 9, 2013. It stood as his third-career goal. Jeke added an assist on Michael Matheson's late goal for his glorious return to the Steel City.