NORTH ANDOVER — Boston College hockey coach Jerry York looked out at the Lawler Arena ice about a half hour after another win for No. 2 ranked Eagles last night.
“Look at this place and how bright it is,” said York after BC’s 4-1 win over Merrimack College. “I am so impressed with that they’ve done here, upgrading the facility, the bright lights, the new boards and glass, the new entrance ... They’ve come a long way.”
Then he took a deep breath.
“But this place is still a tough place to play,” said York, whose team, now 11-1-1 in Hockey East and 17-4-3 overall. “It first started with (former coach) Ronny Anderson and now (coach) Mark Dennehy. They work so hard. They skate real well. And they just don’t give you any room. It’s always tough to come up here and play Merrimack.”
While Merrimack did indeed play their typical gritty game, it allotted the mighty Eagles a few too many opportunities last night.
In fact, the Warriors committed five two-minute penalties in the first period, all legitimate, and were outshot 11-2.
Worse, BC’s first goal was mistakenly knocked in by the Merrimack defense only 1:23 into the game.
Merrimack’s Mike Collins, who is the only Warrior who could compete for a spot on the first two lines for BC, tied it up soon after at 4:47 on a wrister over goalie Thatcher Demko’s glove from about 25 feet away.
Then the killer, with 42 seconds remaining in the first period, and only power play goal BC scored in five chances when Teddy Doherty’s wrister was redirected by Adam Gilmore past Merrimack goalie Rasmus Tirronen.
Dennehy was asked if he was happy being down “only” 2-1 after one period.
“No,” snapped Dennehy. “It could have been worse. But it couldn’ve been better, too. We had to kill half the period.”