UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - No. 2 Boston College extended its unbeaten streak to 11 games with a gritty 3-2 triumph over Penn State on Saturday night in front of a boisterous, sold out Pegula Ice Arena thanks to sturdy play from rookie netminder Thatcher Demko and BC's top line. The Eagles' trio of Johnny Gaudreau, Bill Arnold and Kevin Hayes combined for seven points in the win.
Hayes dialed up the game-winning goal in power play fashion at 4:28 of the third period as one of his two markers on the evening while Bill Arnold recorded his second playmaker (three assist) of the season. Junior Johnny Gaudreau kept his point streak intact and stretched it out to 20 games with a goal and an assist in the victory.
Demko stopped 33 shots in his third-consecutive victory, including a pivotal stop on a penalty shot in the third, proving to be a big catalyst in BC's triumph. Demko's counterpart, Eamon McAdam, steered away 27-of-30 Eagles' attempts in the setback.
Boston College has now scored a power play goal in its last six games with Hayes' winner.
Penn State stormed out of the gates, dominating the early shot total with speed on both sides, but it was Boston College that struck first at 7:40 of the first frame.
Gaudreau started the play deep in Eagles' territory, banking the puck off the boards up to Arnold in the neutral zone. Arnold raced in on McAdam and got tripped up, but managed to trigger a shot that was originally blocked and kicked over to the far post. Hayes broke free from the scrum and poked it off of McAdam just over the goal line at 7:40 for the 1-0 BC lead.
Boston College started the second stanza on the power play after the Nittany Lions were cited for a too many men call at 19:13 of the first period. The Eagles posed several threats, but could not find the back of the net and Penn State tied it up at 6:45.
Mike Williamson created the scoring play by firing it at Demko and allowing the Nittany Lions' offense to swoop in. Eric Scheid cut across the crease and with the puck on Demko's left pad, he managed to shove it over the line on his second attempt to make it a 1-1 game.
Gaudreau claimed the lead once again for BC at 16:04 of the second period.
Sophomore Michael Matheson and Zach Saar were both whistled for extracurricular activity at 15:25 to make it a 4-on-4 situation. Penn State tried to capitalize with the extra room and speed things up into BC's end, but Gaudreau had other thoughts.
Gaudreau stepped up in front of Penn State's rush and intercepted the cross-ice pass, quickly relaying it up to Arnold. Arnold skated it down the right side with Gaudreau flanking to his left and timed a perfect pass through the defenseman's gate. Gaudreau picked it up on the crease and brought the puck to his backhand for the easy juke and 2-1 lead.
In early goings of the third, Jonathan Milley bestowed the Eagles with a lengthy power play at 4:06. Milley was cited for boarding on Steven Santini and Hayes made the Nittany Lions pay 22 seconds later.
Boston College won the ensuing draw and Patrick Brown was able to win a battle behind Penn State's net. Arnold was right of the play and flung the loose puck out to the slot. Hayes carved through the middle and hammered the one-timer home at 4:28 for a two-goal Boston College advantage.
Shortly after Hayes' goal, Tommy Olczyk had a great chance to cut into BC's lead with a penalty shot. Teddy Doherty hauled down Olczyk from behind to create the one-on-one, but Demko closed up the pads and thwarted Olczyk's penalty shot at 4:59.
Despite not scoring on the penalty shot, Penn State did eventually slice the deficit on Taylor Holmstrom's short-handed tally at 6:58.
Jake Juha cleared the puck out on the penalty-killing effort up to Holmstrom on the right wing. Holmstrom streaked down the right side and roofed it short side on Demko to make it a 3-2 game, but Penn State could not tie it up in regulation.
Despite pulling the goaltender with about 1:15 to play, BC's banded together and kept the Nittany Lions from tie it up in regulation.
With the 62nd annual Beanpot Tournament looming, Boston College will travel to Schneider Arena to close out the regular season series at Providence on Friday, Jan. 31. Friday's contest will be broadcast live on Cox Sports.