Tip of the hat to Hayes
Three-goal night sends BC forward
After Boston College’s 4-1 victory over the University of Massachusetts Friday night in the opener of the best-of-three Hockey East quarterfinal series, Eagles coach Jerry York said junior Jimmy Hayes’s goal at 10:31 of the opening period was the catalyst that got the team started.
Last night at Conte Forum, Hayes’s offense weighed far more heavily. His second of three goals, at 8:33 of the third period, broke a 2-2 tie and lifted No. 1 seed BC to a 4-2 win in front of 3,341. The Eagles advanced to the semifinals Friday at TD Garden against either No. 4 Merrimack or No. 6 Northeastern, which plays No. 3 Boston University tonight to decide their series.
Hayes took a backhand feed from his brother, freshman Kevin Hayes, and beat senior goalie Paul Dainton to the short side from the slot. He sealed the win with an empty-net goal with 23.1 seconds remaining.
It was the 100th career victory for BC’s senior class, and the Eagles improved to 28-7-1 this season. Goalie John Muse made 18 saves, tying Greg Taylor (1993-97) for most saves in program history (3,605).
“[UMass] was as competitive down the stretch as any team in our league,’’ said York. “Tonight was a clear indication of how hard they played and how much they wanted their season to extend. They were a really tough out for us tonight.’’
The difference between UMass last night and Friday is that the eighth-seeded Minutemen (6-23-6) were able to sustain their energy level for long stretches instead of an early flurry that was followed by a letdown. The upstart visitors took a 1-0 lead just 21 seconds into the action when senior Chase Langeraap won a race to the net, beating Muse on a wrister.
Penalties troubled UMass, however. BC tied it at 4:32 of the second period with the Minutemen down a player for having too many men on the ice. Hayes tapped a shot past Dainton (30 saves) for his first goal of the contest.
The Eagles took the lead at 8:52 when senior Joe Whitney scored on a shot from the left point just three seconds after a power play expired. The Minutemen pulled even at 16:43 when junior defenseman Michael Marcou zipped a shot from the right point through traffic and past Muse.
That set the stage for Hayes’s heroics in the third.
“I thought we played exceptionally hard outside of going brain dead in the second period for a few minutes,’’ said UMass coach Don Cahoon. “They executed our game plan and really worked hard at disrupting the flow of the BC offense and making it just a really competitive evening and making it hard on them.
“There couldn’t have been anything more appropriate in the warm-ups. There was a guy behind our net with a big sign that said, ‘Easy.’ Our theme all night long was ‘Hard,’ so that was a good thing for us in terms of getting our mind-set where it needed to be.’’
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at email@example.com.