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Third Period Rally Lifts Boston College Past Northeastern

Boston College's first two periods on Sunday afternoon certainly weren't the ideal, but the Eagles scored three goals in the third and stole a 4-3 win at Northeastern's Matthews Arena.

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

BOSTON -- Boston College's first two periods on Sunday afternoon certainly weren't the ideal, but the Eagles' final frame showed how they ride momentum better than any team in college hockey.

The No. 2/3 Eagles scored three times in the third period to erase a second two-goal deficit of the game and steal a 4-3 win from Northeastern at Matthews Arena, completing a three-point weekend in Hockey East play.

After losing a third-period lead in Saturday's 3-3 tie across town at Conte Forum, this proved to be a finish that pleased BC head coach Jerry York much more.

"It's a significant three out of four points for us on the weekend," York said. "We played a lot better in today's game than we did in Saturday night's game. In the third period, we were looking for something to ignite us down 3-1 and Josh (Couturier)'s goal there (did that)."

With the win, BC improves to 13-1-1 on the season and 6-0-1 in Hockey East play. The Eagles are now unbeaten in their last 14 games, good for the nation's third-longest active streak, since losing to RPI on Oct. 11.

The Huskies scored twice in the first period for the first time this season with freshman defenseman Eric Williams finding the back of the net on both occasions for his third and fourth goals.

"He's got tremendous offensive stuck skills," Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan said. "He can shoot a puck as well as anyone in this league, and you saw with a couple shots there tonight."

Williams simply got a puck to the net on his first goal at the 6:35 mark, taking a back pass from senior assistant captain Mike McMurtry at the left point for a shot that BC goaltender Thatcher Demko never saw through traffic.

BC was called for too many men on the ice just after the midway mark of the first period, and the Huskies responded with another goal from Williams from a similar spot on the ice.

After taking a pass from senior partner Colton Saucerman, Williams jumped a bit further into the play before shooting from the top of the faceoff circle at 12:05.

"We've got some pretty good defensemen back there with (Matt) Benning and Saucerman and (Garret) Cockerill so he might not have seen some of the offensive opportunities (before), but he’ll get more and more playing time that way," Madigan said. "With those young defensemen, you're just worried about defending first and taking care of your own zone which he's gotten a lot better at."

The teams traded goals in the second period, but the Huskies still maintained a two-goal lead entering a second consecutive intermission.

Junior Ryan Fitzgerald took advantage of some sloppy defensive zone play by the Huskies at 12:17, spinning at the crease for a shot that snuck between the post and NU freshman Ryan Ruck's glove.

Fitzgerald's goal came shorthanded after BC was called for its third penalty of the game less than a minute before, but the home team added to its lead on the same Steve Santini cross-checking penalty call.

The Huskies struggled with the lead in the final frame as they were outshot by a 13-9 margin and allowed BC to take over in the third period of games like it does so very well.

"Being a third-year guy, I think one thing you see with this team is that there's no panic," Fitzgerald said. "I've been on teams where if you're down 3-1 you start making excuses and kind of gripping the stick a little tougher, but as you saw in that third period, there was no panic. Everyone stuck to the game plan, and we were able to get the job done."

Couturier brought BC within a goal just 2:30 into the third, taking a shot from the center point that hit pipe and bounced behind Ruck for the second marker of his freshman season.

Alex Tuch found the back of the net for the third consecutive game to tie the score just 52 seconds later, drawing Ruck too far to his left side and poking a wraparound bid past the post.

Matthew Gaudreau cracked the point column for the ninth time in ten games, putting the Eagles ahead to stay at the 8:52 marker. The junior followed up defenseman Scott Savage's shot with a tip-in goal that changed directions on Ruck.

"He's really surprised all of us," York said. "He's just improved in all facets of the game. His strength is better now, his ability with the puck to make plays is better. He's just more confident. Sometimes, it takes someone a little bit longer (to make an impact). But right now, he's certainly a factor on our team."

The Huskies pulled Ruck ― who made ten of his 26 saves in the third period ― with less than two minutes left in regulation, but the tying goal was nowhere to be found.