CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- It took a good chunk of the first period for the tryptophan from Thanksgiving turkey to wear off, but result thereafter was nothing short of typical for No. 2 Boston College on Saturday afternoon.
The Eagles faced a two-goal deficit early on, but scored three goals unanswered in the first period en route to a 6-2 win over visiting RIT at Kelley Rink.
BC played shutdown defense after the sluggish start, holding RIT to just 17 shots on goal for the game. The Eagles are 12-1-0 on the season after their 11th consecutive victory and will play a home-and-home series with crosstown foe Northeastern next weekend.
"We got stung pretty well (at the start)," BC head coach Jerry York said following the 996th victory of his career. "They came out very, very hard and got two goals up on the board."
The Eagles controlled the first period with a 17-5 shooting advantage, but found itself down 2-0 against the run of play less than ten minutes in.
RIT's fourth line produced the game's opening goal at 8:08 as freshman Abbott Girduckis took sophomore Brady Norrish's feed and rolled through a pair of defenders at the center of the offensive zone before beating BC goaltender Thatcher Demko upstairs.
"Just watching their starts, they've taken off in some of their games early and have kind of glided to the end," RIT head coach Wayne Wilson said. "Our start was going to be important."
Erik Brown doubled the Tiger lead with a fluttering wrist shot that eluded Demko at the 9:37 mark, but BC tied the score just after the period's midway point with a pair of quick goals.
Rookie Chris Brown was the first to tally for BC, taking a beautiful feed from classmate Miles Wood for a shot bar down from the bottom of the right circle at 9:47.
"I thought that was a big part of the game, and then we came back with another goal," York said. "Our response was very, very good, I thought. You can respond a lot of different ways to a two-goal quick advantage from a supposedly underdog team, but I thought we came back very well from that.
Scott Savage's slap shot from the center point at the 11:21 mark knotted the game at 2-2, but the ninth goal of Ryan Fitzgerald's junior season tipped the scale BC's way at 15:53.
Freshman Colin White and junior Matthew Gaudreau extended their ongoing point streaks to eight games each with assists on Fitzgerald's goal, a one-time shot through traffic between the circles.
The puck made its way to sophomore Alex Tuch at the end of a beautiful passing sequence 5:33 into the second period. Zach Sanford and Adam Gilmour received assists on the sophomore's third goal this year, which beat RIT junior Mike Rotolo from the low slot.
Ian McCoshen got onto the scoresheet at 14:09, taking a cross-point feed from captain Teddy Doherty for a blast on net from the right point and his second goal this season.
BC was called for just one penalty over the game's first two periods and four in the game overall, a vast improvement for a team that entered the game as the NCAA's most penalized.
"We've improved in a lot of areas since the start of the year, but the biggest improvement is just discipline after the whistle," York said. "We are better if we play 5-on-5 for better stretches of the game, and I thought we were ― especially in the first half of the game ― much better in that respect."
The Tigers bounced back with a strong final frame, taking nine of 14 shots on goal in the third. Freshman defenseman Casey Fitzgerald, however, added one final marker to BC's total at 16:09.
The younger Fitzgerald picked up Gaudreau's third assist of the game and picked a high spot over Rotolo off a shot from just inside the far circle for his second goal of the year.
Gaudreau recorded three assists in the game, a first in his collegiate career. He had posted two-point games just twice previously.
"Matty surprised all of us," York said. "He came with (older brother) Johnny. He was going to be a Gaudreau, but he was certainly not going to be a key player for us. All of a sudden, it is his third year and he’s become a key player for us. Even smaller than Johnny, but he’s tough as a two dollar steak."
York updated a couple injuries to players missing from BC's lineup during his postgame press conference. Junior Chris Calnan, who left last Saturday's game at New Hampshire, has a dislocated shoulder. Also, York expects senior Brendan Silk to miss a couple more months after suffering nerve damage in his shoulder in BC's Oct. 9 season opener at Army West Point.