Boston College junior forward Johnny Gaudreau had a pretty solid weekend last week, scoring a goal and two assists in a Friday win over Boston University, then adding two goals and two assists in an 11-0 romp over Army. Those seven points made Gaudreau the nation's leading scorer with 18 points in nine games this season.
But arguably none of those points were prettier than his second assist on Friday night against Boston University. Let's break that play down.
To set the stage, Boston College holds a 2-1 lead on the Terriers just over 12 minutes into the second period. After the Eagles built a 2-0 lead in the first period, Boston University scored a goal in the second period to make a game of it. Boston College was in the midst of a power play that was about to end.
Sophomore defenseman Mike Matheson takes the puck at the left point, and being forced by a BU penalty killer, dumps the puck off to Gaudreau at the top of the left circle:
Boston University appears to have this pretty well defended. They've essentially got three defenders between Gaudreau and the net, and have most of the passing angles cut down pretty well. BU's left forward, Tommy Kelley, is in position to stop a cross-ice pass to Ian McCoshen, or step up and block a shot if Gaudreau chooses to pass back to Matheson. BU's Garrett Noonan, on the lower right side of the BU box, is without his stick, leaving a pass to Bill Arnold in the corner open, but that's hardly a dangerous area. Things still look pretty good for the Terriers to kill off this penalty.
Noonan, without a stick, tries to come out and force Gaudreau, taking away his option to pass the puck to Bill Arnold, and getting in position to block a shot if Gaudreau just tries to force something on net.
That doesn't go well for Noonan. Gaudreau easily moves around the defender. Boston College's Patrick Brown throws a nice little pick on Tommy Kelley to give Gaudreau a little more space. Now it's just Gaudreau all alone with BU goalie Matt O'Connor. Most players would kill for a scoring chance like this. But again, O'Connor has this pretty well-defended. He's out at the top of his crease, just far enough to cut down on Gaudreau's shooting angle, but not out so far that he leaves himself vulnerable should Gaudreau try to deke.
Not seeing any net to shoot at, Gaudreau opts to try and deke around O'Connor. But because O'Connor didn't come out too far, he's able to get back to his post, denying Gaudreau an area to stuff the puck in. Once again, solid defense from the Terriers.
Not seeing anything to shoot at, Gaudreau chooses to keep the puck, and seeing O'Connor went down to block his right post, tries to wrap the puck around on the left post. The only problem is that BU's Patrick MacGregor stayed at home on the weak side, and is able to step behind the net and take that option away from Gaudreau. O'Connor is down and out, but it shouldn't matter because Gaudreau looks pretty neutralized here.
MacGregor takes Gaudreau out of the play. The only problem is that Gaudreau made an unbelievable behind-the-back pass to Bill Arnold at the side of the net. Poor Matt O'Connor is looking over his left shoulder at Gaudreau and trying desperately to get to the other side of the net, while Arnold has the puck to the his right, and is looking at a wide open net.
..And it's celebration time. 3-1 Boston College.
Here's the video in real time:
I mean, that's just not fair. Look at how many times throughout that play you stop things and say, 'Yeah, BU has that pretty well-defended'. And every time the Terriers do that, Gaudreau finds a solution. There's just no answer for a player with the type of speed and creativity that he has.