CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - Senior forward Bill Arnold struck early and often for his first-career hat trick to help propel No. 2 Boston College past Merrimack, 6-1, Friday night at Kelley Rink. Arnold's final goal came via the power play, sparking a power play explosion for the Eagles in the final 20 minutes. BC used three power play tallies in the third period to put away the Warriors and extend its unbeaten streak to 14 games (13-0-1).
Junior forward Johnny Gaudreau joined Arnold as a three-point scorer, setting up three BC tallies with the playmaker (0-3-3) to extend his point streak to 23-consecutive games. Within that scoring stretch, the Carneys Point, N.J., native has accrued 48 points (21-27-48) and is now tied for second amongst all active skaters in college hockey for career points (68-85-151).
Sophomore Brendan Silk and first-year forward Adam Gilmour chipped in with BC's other two power play markers while senior captain Patrick Brown scored his seventh of the season. Sophomore defensemen Michael Matheson and Teddy Doherty both logged a pair of assists in the victory.
Freshman goaltender Thatcher Demko won his 10th game of the season with 23 stops on 24 MC attempts. Over the course of his last five starts, the San Diego, Calif., native has only surrendered one goal per game. Merrimack Rasmus Tirronen gave up six goals on 24 Eagle attempts.
Michael Sit was flagged for interference on the game's opening exchange, but that did not get in the way of Boston College drawing first blood at 1:18.
Matheson corralled a fluttering puck in the corner and zipped it up to Gaudreau in stride. Gaudreau danced through the center of the sheet to create a 2-on-1 with Arnold flanking to his right. Gaudreau timed the pass perfectly and Arnold scored short-handed with ease for the 1-0 lead.
Boston College doubled its lead at 14:04 of the first on some nifty work from the Gaudreau-Arnold-Hayes line. Hayes generated the scoring play by charging through on the forecheck and winning the puck out of the corner to Gaudreau in the slot. Much like the first tally, Gaudreau crafted a patient pass to Arnold on the near post. Tirronen came out to challenge Arnold, but he made a clever maneuver and lifted it over his glove for the 2-0 lead.
The Eagles extended their advantage in the second period thanks to the work of Brown, Ryan Fitzgerald and Austin Cangelosi.
Cangelosi forced a turnover deep in BC's end on the forecheck. Cangelosi broke up the outlet pass and Brown swooped in from the far boards and turned it up ice. Brown swung the puck to Fitzgerald flying down the left side of the sheet before crashing the net. With Brown in position, Fitzgerald linked up with Brown on the doorstep at 6:22 for the 3-0 lead.
Early in the third, Kyle Singleton was whistled for tripping at 5:35 and the Eagles cashed in 25 seconds later on the ensuing play.
Cangelosi rimmed the puck up to Doherty just below the blue line. Doherty connected with Scott Savage just above the left circle for the one-timer blast through traffic. Gilmour finagled his way in front of Tirronen and redirected Savage's blast to the back of the net at 6:00 of the third frame to pad BC's cushion, 4-0.
Merrimack committed another infraction at 9:41 of the third and the Eagles added their second-straight power play strike just over a minute later.
Matheson hammered the disc into the crease where it bounced off of a Warrior to Gaudreau. Gaudreau carried it out to the far wall and brought it back in to trigger on Tirronen with the backhand. The puck did not make it through as it kicked off of a skate out to Arnold in the slot for the easy put back at 10:46 and a 5-0 buffer.
After Vinny Scotti was sent off for high-sticking, Boston College lit the lamp for its third power play goal of the period off of Silk's redirection at 14:44.
Danny Linell quarterbacked the play with a one-timer feed to Doherty in the slot. Doherty let one loose and Silk scooted between the circles and made the perfect tip in front to dupe Tirronen to nudge it up to 6-0.
Chris LeBlanc busted up Demko's shutout bid late in the third off of Justin Mansfield rebound at 15:46. The Warriors struck with tempo and beat Demko shortside off the carom to get one back late.
Boston College will return to the TD Garden on Monday, Feb. 10, to take on Northeastern in the 62nd annual Beanpot championship game. The Eagles and Huskies have met in the Beanpot final in three of the last four seasons and five times overall. If Boston College wins on Monday night, the Eagles will capture a program-best fifth-consecutive title.