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Northeastern Bites Back to Force 3-3 Tie at BC

Sophomore Nolan Stevens scored two goals, including the equalizer with 2:14 remaining in regulation, as Northeastern skated to a 3-3 tie with No. 2/3 Boston College on Saturday at Conte Forum.

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- Northeastern didn't get off to the best of starts on Saturday night at Boston College, but a little late-game heroics did the job in gaining the Huskies some ground in the Hockey East standings.

Sophomore Nolan Stevens scored two goals, including the equalizer with 2:14 remaining in regulation, as the Huskies skated to a 3-3 tie with the No. 2/3 Eagles at Conte Forum.

The Huskies came back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits in the contest en route to earning their first point in Chestnut Hill since Feb. 18, 2011 and silencing a four-game pointless streak against their city foes.

"I liked the way we battled all night long," NU head coach Jim Madigan said after his team's record moved to 2-11-3 and 0-7-3 in league play. "We were down 2-0 to BC and they had some real good puck movement ... but I just liked the way we stayed with it, and our mindset was really good."

BC junior goaltender Thatcher Demko finished the night with 33 saves, 15 of which he made in the third period, to keep the Eagles in the game.

Head coach Jerry York said Demko was in fact the only reason his team was in the game.

"I thought the only reason we got one point out of the game tonight was Thatcher's play," York said. "He was outstanding. I thought Northeastern was quicker, smarter, and more disciplined than our team, and Thatcher just made some incredible, incredible saves."

However, it was the Eagles wasting little time before getting on the scoreboard as Miles Wood scores the seventh goal of his freshman season just 4:26 into the game.

Wood took advantage of a bouncing puck in the slot and banged it home through a sea of bodies in front of NU freshman goaltender Ryan Ruck.

Alex Tuch doubled the BC lead at 10:03, making a beautiful individual effort through the middle of the ice off a feed from sophomore classmate Adam Gilmour. Tuch cut through a pair of NU defenders and beat Ruck with a shot upstairs for his fourth goal this year.

Northeastern finished the first period down by just a goal as Stevens solved BC netminder Thatcher Demko with a high backhanded blocker side from the top of the crease.

"We didn't panic even though we were down 2-0 and we fought back to make it 2-1," Madigan said. "We don’t want to get into a situation with this club where you’re exchanging scoring chances, so we still wanted to make sure we were defending well at our net and be patient and then get our own opportunities as they came about."

Neither team found the back of the net in the second, but BC gained momentum after killing off Wood's late major penalty for contact to the head.

The Huskies had trouble gaining any sustained pressure from the opportunity as the Eagle penalty kill ― the nation's best at a 91.5 percent success rate entering the night ― forced several clears throughout the five-minute disadvantage.

Lincoln Griffin scored his first collegiate goal 8:32 into the final frame to draw the Huskies even. Matt Benning let a shot go from the top of the offensive zone, but Griffin stood his ground at the top of Demko's crease and tipped the puck home for the score.

BC defenseman Josh Couturier took a boarding penalty  much to the dismay of the bench and 4,672 fans in attendance, just eight seconds after Griffin's tying goal.

Junior Matthew Gaudreau was called for a ten-minute misconduct out of sheer frustration as he banged his stick against the boards following the call to Couturier. BC was called for eight penalties, totaling 35 minutes, in the contest.

"We took too many penalties, no question," York said.

The Huskies pressured through much of the final frame of regulation, peppering Demko with 17 shots on goal. It was the Eagles cracking the scoreboard next, a marker that certainly went against the run of play.

Colin White brought Conte back to life at 11:11, busting ahead of the Huskies defense shorthanded and placing a wrister top shelf on Ruck. The Hanover, Mass., native and Ottawa Senators prospect's eighth goal of the season also extended his point streak to a team-best nine games.

"We just can't give a team like BC, with that speed, all that open ice behind us," Madigan said. "They're so good on the PK, and they pressure you. They leave the zone, they fly the zone early, and we gave up a breakaway to White who's really good in tight."

Stevens sent the game to overtime as he shot a puck low through traffic with 2:14 remaining in regulation. The younger brother of Huskies junior assistant captain John ― who left the game with a lower-body injury in the second period ― took a shot that had eyes and eluded Demko between his legs.

The Huskies had the better of the play in the scoreless overtime, collecting five of the period's six shots.

With the tie, BC's record moves to 12-1-1 and 5-0-1 in conference play. The result snapped the Eagles' 11-game winning streak, their longest since 2013-14.