CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - Despite a furious three-goal third period comeback bid, Boston College suffered a 5-4 setback against in-state foe Holy Cross on Friday afternoon at Kelley Rink. The Eagles outshot the Crusaders, 38-18, but HC capitalized and converted on several BC mistakes to build a 5-1 advantage after two periods of regulation.
Friday's result marks the Eagles' first-ever loss to a team from the Atlantic Hockey conference and first setback to a non-conference opponent at home since losing to Denver on Oct. 14, 2011.
Senior Kevin Hayes posted his second-career two-goal performance while rookieRyan Fitzgerald and Michael Sit accounted for the Eagles second and third tallies of the night. Despite a career-high nine shots from junior Johnny Gaudreau, HC's netminder Matt Ginn stopped each attempt. Gaudreau extended his point streak to nine games (9-8-17) with help on Hayes' late goal in the waning moments.
First-year backstopper Thatcher Demko took his first loss of the season; stopping 13-of-18 Crusader tries.
Seven minutes into the third period Boston College responded to its four-goal deficit and nearly pushed the contest into overtime.
Fitzgerald activated the comeback bid with extra real estate at 6:57 of the third frame.
After each team was assessed a penalty a half-minute apart at 5:33 and 6:07, Hayes and Danny Linell sparked the scoring play from behind the net. Hayes carted it behind Ginn up to Linell on top of the left circle. Linell took two strides and fired it through the Crusaders' defense to Fitzgerald on the doorstep. Fitzgerald slammed it off of Ginn's pads to the pack of the net to cut the deficit, 5-2.
The Eagles threw a decent amount of rubber on Ginn after a Logan Smith cross-checking penalty. Despite not scoring, momentum continued to tip in BC's direction as Sit buried a wrister from out deep at 15:31 to cut Holy Cross' lead to two, 5-3.
Quinn Smith fired a shot just wide of the net and the puck rimmed out to Isaac MacLeod up top. MacLeod kept it in the zone and linked up with Sit on the far wall. With the crease clogged, Sit took his chance, used the screen and blasted the back of the net with the sharp rip.
The Eagles pressure continued and Hayes capped off the third-period charge just 27 seconds after Sit's goal to make it a one-goal affair with 4:02 remaining in the game.
Ian McCoshen hammered the puck down low behind the net to Gaudreau. Hayes broke free through open seam and Gaudreau's awareness behind the net yielded a perfect one-timer feed on the near side for the big tally at 15:58.
Holy Cross notched the first two tallies of the game within a minute, midway through the opening stanza, at 12:24 and 13:19.
The Crusaders kept the puck in on a strong forecheck after Jake Youso's original shot bounced off of Demko back out to the point. Joe McNamara corralled the rebound and blasted it from the point where Mike Barrett's redirect tip duped Demko for the early 1-0 lead.
Castan Sommer doubled the lead quickly in tight on Demko. Barrett kept the play alive by rimming the puck to the far corner where Matt Vidal dug it out. Sommer swooped in and carried the puck at the crease from the near side and was able to tuck it away for the 2-0 Crusaders' edge.
Hayes cut the first-period deficit in half with a beautiful coast-to-coast goal at 14:53.
Holy Cross dumped the puck into BC's end on the change and Linell triggered the play from the backboards. Linell hit Hayes in stride on the Eagles' left dot and the 6-4 forward was off to the races. Hayes beat a pair of defensemen before unleashing a top-shelf wrister to make it a 2-1 affair before the first intermission.
Holy Cross added three goals in the second period, all in similar transition fashion.
Brett Lubanski generated HC's first goal of the second stanza by tipping it out to Tim Driscoll from deep in BC's corner. Adam Schmidt took the pass and stormed down the right side of the sheet, beating Demko down low with an unattested wrister at 8:00.
The Crusaders went up, 4-1, after Barrett's second tally of the day at 12:09. Matt Vidal won a skirmish off the boards and turned the puck up ice. Vidal kicked it over to Barrett in between the circles for the quick strike.
Holy Cross worked both sides of the ice to make it a four-goal affair at 16:53.
Jake Bolton started the play deep in Eagles' territory and tripped up the defense with a long crossing pass to Nick Finn. Finn charged down the left side and linked up with Vidal on the doorstep to make it 5-1.
Under a minute left in the third period, both Gaudreau and Bill Arnold had great opportunities to extend the contest, but Ginn stood the test and help Holy Cross hold on for the triumph.
Boston College closes out the first half of the ledger with a home-and-home series against New Hampshire on Friday, Dec. 6-7. The Eagles will host UNH at Kelley Rink on Friday night before traveling to the Whittemore Center on Saturday. Both contests are scheduled for 7 p.m.