CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- After routing RIT and Colorado College in their last two games, the Boston College Eagles had to grind it out on Saturday night.
The teams skated to a scoreless first period, but two goals in each of the final two helped the Eagles run away late to a 4-1 victory over Massachusetts at Kelley Rink.
For BC head coach Jerry York, finishing a two-game weekend against two different teams can be a bit of a challenge.
"I think sometimes back-to-back games in a weekend against different opponents (are tough) because you never know what you're going to get from your club," BC head coach Jerry York said. "We were excited about last night's win, but we were focused and we had to be."
The Eagle offense was paced by sophomore Adam Gilmour who assisted on BC's opening goal and scored the next two. The Hanover, Mass. native's multi-goal effort was the second of his career and marked his second two-point night in as many games after a pair of assists in Friday's 6-2 win over Colorado College.
Neither side generated much in the way of quality offense in the first period as each managed just 12 total shot attempts. The BC defense kept the majority of UMass' offense to the outside with just three shots going on net.
"I thought the early going was kind of punch-counterpunch," UMass head coach John Micheletto said. "Maybe not as open as either team wanted it to be, but I thought it was well played."
Pace picked up quickly in the second, but it took more than half the period for the back of the net to be found as freshman Alex Tuch lifted the Eagles at 14:15. Gilmour sent the play forward and sprung Tuch into a 2-on-1 that turned into a clean breakaway.
Off Tuch's pass, Gilmour snapped a shot off in stride and beat UMass freshman Henry Dill high on the glove side.
BC sophomore goalie Thatcher Demko made stops on a flurry of quality UMass chances to lead to the goal, setting up junior captain Michael Matheson to lead the breakout the other way.
Matheson and freshman Noah Hanifin combined for five assists on the night with both chipping in on each of Gilmour's goals.
"They're both highly-skilled players," York said. "But with the skill comes smart guys; they really know how to play hockey. I think the strength of our team as I look at it is that corps of defensemen."
Gilmour got into the goal-scoring column himself just over 90 seconds later as the Eagles took advantage of an extended two-man power play. At 16:55, Hanifin brought the puck up the left side of the ice and found his fellow Massachusetts native streaking across the opposite side for a lunging one-timer.
"One of the real pluses from my vantage point was that we stayed comfortable in the game," York said. "It's 0-0 going late into the second period and I (don't think) our comfort level ever got over the edge. That's a trait a lot of teams never acquire."
The Eagles are known for their excellent skilled forwards, but sometimes puck luck makes the difference. Gilmour was the beneficiary of that, scoring his second goal of the night on a lively bounce off the end board at 12:55.
Hanifin's initial shot from the point bounced off the wall to Dill's left side and popped out the other side, right onto the stick of Gilmour for the 5-on-3 score.
UMass broke Demko's shutout bid at 17:48 as West Roxbury, Mass. native Shane Walsh scored his first of the year on a power-play wrist shot, but BC responded with an empty-net goal off the stick of senior assistant captain Quinn Smith to ice the game with 33 seconds to play.
As was the case in a 3-2 win on Friday night at Northeastern, Dill was very sharp despite his team going down a pair after 40 minutes. The rookie from Columbus, Ohio stopped 42 Husky shots in his weekend opener, the most by a Minuteman netminder since Paul Dainton snagged 44 against Vermont on Nov. 23, 2010.
Micheletto was happy with his team's effort overall, including the 27-save night from his netminder, despite the loss.
"I thought it was a very good night for goaltenders, which it usually is in this league," Micheletto said. "But all in all, I was happy with our guys' performance. It's amazing how that works sometimes. Obviously I don't like taking the loss, but I liked our compete and how our team stuck together tonight."
Three consecutive wins moves the Eagles 3-1-0 on the young season and they will carry that momentum into a two-game road weekend at No. 11 Denver. UMass saw its modest two-game win streak come to an end with the loss and will also take its show on the road with a pair of games at Maine's Alfond Arena.