BOSTON — Boston College goaltender Thatcher Demko kept his team in the game for two periods, allowing the Eagles to rally to a 1-1 tie with Northeastern on an Adam Gilmour goal with 2:15 left in regulation.
The Huskies had dominated the first period and took a 1-0 lead in the second on a Mike Szmatula goal, but could not hold off the charging Eagles in the third.
“I loved our effort; I liked the way we battled,” Northeastern coach Jim Madigan said. “You’re never happy when you give up a point, lose a point when they score with two and a half minutes left, but they had us on our heels in the third. But we played well and carried the play a little in the first and second.”
Clay Witt finished with 32 saves, two more than Demko, including 16 in the third period.
“They brought a lot in the third,” Witt said. “A point in this league is really hard to come by, so we’ll take it and move on.”
The tie extends Northeastern’s unbeaten streak to six games, dating back to Dec. 6.
Boston College, which faces the Huskies in the other half of this home-and-home series on Saturday at 4 p.m., also extended its unbeaten streak to six games.
“Thatcher played outstanding in goal and made some incredible saves to keep it a 1-0 score,” BC coach Jerry York said. “[He] kept us in the game through the first two periods.
“Once we got past that, our third period was very good. We had good puck movement and good chances. [But] as we collected ourselves and played better, Clay Witt played very, very well.”
Gilmour’s late-third-period goal was his fourth of the season. Coincidentally, he also scored BC’s last overtime game-winner, which also came at Matthews Arena on Nov. 2, 2013.
“It was a great play by my linemates, Zach [Sanford] and Alex [Tuch],” Gilmour said. “I’d just come off the bench and was going in trying to read the play. They were both battling down low, knowing I was going to come out high. Alex whacked at the puck, it went up in the air a couple of feet, and it bounced in front of my stick.
“I didn’t hesitate to slap at it, get it on net, and it happened to go in.”
Northeastern dominated the first period, not only outshooting BC, 12-6, but getting almost all of the best chances. If not for Demko, the Huskies could have easily taken a 2-0 or 3-0 lead instead of finishing the period scoreless.
Dalen Hedges and Nolan Stevens generated strong opportunities in the opening minutes, and midway through the period Mike McMurtry rifled a labeled shot from the right faceoff circle. In each case, though, Demko prevailed.
At the other end, Witt made a nice save on Matthew Gaudre, but then the top chances went back into the BC defensive zone.
Kevin Roy collected a puck all alone in front, but Demko got a pad on it and a defender cleared the wobbling puck out of the crease.
As the period’s close grew near, Demko made another nice pad save, this time on a shot by Torin Snydeman, and then recorded successive saves on a Stevens deflection attempt and the rebound.
Ultimately, Demko’s first-period dominance matched that of the Huskies.
He continued that into the second, foiling McMurtry’s partial breakaway. Exactly five minutes into the period, however, Szmatula finally put Northeastern on the scoreboard. Demko made a highlight reel glove save, but after Ian McCoshen knocked the puck out of the crease, Szmatula sent it back through and into the net.
Seven minutes later, the Huskies almost doubled that lead. McMurtry stickhanded through the defense and set up Hedges from the right faceoff circle, where the sophomore clanged his shot off the crossbar.
BC turned on the pressure in the third period, however, eventually recording a 17-11 shot advantage, and at 17:45 Gilmour scored the tying goal from the doorstep.