Three Rivers Classic: Day Two Recap

Published on December 29th, 2013
Guy Gadowsky

Photo: Ian Altenbaugh

By IanAltenbaugh

Three Rivers Classic Consolation Game:
Bowling Green vs Robert Morris

For the Robert Morris Colonials and the Bowling Green Falcons the consolation game was a matter of pride. And while Bowling Green ultimately walked away the winner 3-2, both teams left with a sense of accomplishment.

Heading into the game, the Falcons wanted to get their 26th ranked offense going. The Falcons were scoreless against Boston College in game one, despite throwing 27 pucks at net. They also went zero for three on the powerplay and, in general, never really looked like a sustained threat in the offensive zone.

In the case of Robert Morris, it was about building towards the future. The Colonials gave up 62 shots on net against Penn State yet still managed to only lose by one goal. Suffice to say they felt they had an obligation to their goaltender Terry Shafer to try and get him a win. Or at the very least make his workload manageable.

To one degree or another, both teams accomplished what they set out to do. Bowling Green found their game offensively and generated a lot of quality scoring chances for their forwards. Robert Morris meanwhile held Bowling Green to a manageable 35 shots on goal.

The game opened with a careless hooking penalty at the 1:33 mark by Bowling Green forward Brett Mohler, who finished the tournament with the dubious distinction of most penalized player. Mohler would finish the two-day tournament with eight penalty minutes, including six in the consolation game against Robert Morris. RMU was unable to convert on the opportunity, and in fact took a penalty themselves, as forward Jeff Jones was called for slashing at 3:04.

Though the Falcons were unable to convert on their truncated powerplay opportunity, Mohler would nonetheless redeem himself at the 15:29 mark, when he corralled a deflected puck and snapped it past RMU goaltender Shafer to put Bowling Green up 1-0.

By the end of the first period, Bowling Green had the clear territorial advantage, having outshot RMU 12-3. The Colonials remained in the game however, buoyed yet again by stupendous goaltending.

Stellar goaltending would not be enough for the Colonials however. At the 1:13 mark of the second, RMU forward Rob Mann took what would prove to be an extremely costly elbowing penalty. At 2:58 Bryce Williamson put Bowling Green ahead by two when he took a rebound from a Ben Murphy slapshot and jammed it past Shafer for his ninth of the season.

Despite being down 2-0 in the second and outplayed for much of the first third of the game, Robert Morris remained very much in the hunt. Especially when, at the 4:11 mark, Mohler took his second penalty of the game, this one a slashing call. Bowling Green decided to gift wrap the opportunity 40 seconds later, when Williamson was called for holding, giving Robert Morris over a minute long five on three powerplay.

Robert Morris would fail to convert on that golden opportunity however, and went into the third period down 2-0.

The third period began with Bowling Green once again owning the territorial advantage. Shafer was able to bail his defense out on a number of occasions, but the Falcons finally got a shot past at the 4:01 mark, when forward Kevin Dufour beat the RMU goaltender for his fourth of the season. The goal would put Bowling Green ahead by 3-0 and eventually prove to be the game-winner.

Bowling Green appeared to be cruising to a shutout when, at the 11:54 mark, Mohler took his third minor penalty of the game. To compound matters, Bowling Green defenseman Ralfs Freibergs took a roughing penalty shortly thereafter, giving Robert Morris yet another two-man advantage with over a minute to work with.

The Colonials converted the powerplay opportunity at the 13:35 mark when David Friedmann fired a wrist shot past Bowling Green goaltender Tomas Sholl for his fourth of the season.

Down 3-1, Robert Morris pulled their goaltender with 1:50 remaining on the clock. Then, with 25 seconds left in the game, RMU forward Jeff Jones won a faceoff and sent the pass to the defenseman Tyson Wilson at the point. Wilson shot the puck into traffic and forward Zach Lynch picked up the deflection and buried it past Shall for his eighth of the season.

After the game, Robert Morris head coach Derek Schooley was quick to heap credit on Bowling Green.

“They’re a big strong team and the first period we had trouble getting to the net,” Schooley said. “I wouldn’t say [it looked like] men against boys, but it was men against young men in the first period. I thought we really picked up our effort level, our intensity, and our ability to get to the net in the second period, and I thought we got better as the game got on. They’re a good team and they protected the front of the net well and didn’t give us a lot of chances.”

Three Rivers Classic Championship Game:
Boston College vs Penn State

The story of the championship game, and really the entire tournament, was the dominating performance of the Boston College Eagles, who trounced the Penn State Nittany Lions 8-2.

Penn State was determined to start strong and staked out the first lead of the game, when forward Jonathan Milley recovered a giveaway in the left corner behind the BC net and moved it to an open Casey Bailey, who then buried the puck behind BC goaltender Brian Billett. It was Baily’s second goal of the season and one of several quality chances he had during the game.

“Penn State started the game with a little bit of an edge,” said Boston College head coach Jerry York after the game. “A little bit of a head start on us. They were winning some puck battles [and scored] the first goal.”

Momentum however shifted towards the end of the third period, when Boston College scored two goals just 33 seconds apart.

The Eagles first goal came on the powerplay at the 18:12 mark, when freshman forward Ryan Fitzgerald corralled a loose puck in front of the net and buried it past PSU goalie Matt Skoff for his eighth of the season.

The second goal came on even strength at the 18:45 mark, when star forward Johnny Gaudreau sent a backhand pass to Bill Arnold, who was behind the PSU net. Arnold passed the puck towards a driving Kevin Hayes, who buried it past Skoff at point blank range. The goal was Hayes’ 11th of the season and would put the Nittany Lions down 2-1 with 1:15 left in the first period.

For Penn State head Coach Guy Gadowsky, BC’s second goal was the turning point of the game.

“When they scored, that’s fine. We were still in it,” Gadowsky said in his post-game press conference. “But the next goal after that was the turning point. I think it put us back on our heels and we didn’t dictate the play after that.”

Penn State was given a shot at redemption at the 3:48 mark of the second period, when BC defenseman Travis Jeke was called for cross-checking. The Nittany Lions were unable to do anything on their powerplay however, and less than three minutes later, forward DeStry Straight put Boston College ahead 3-1 on a redirection.

Straight would strike again four minutes later at the 10:57 mark, this time on a deflection pass off an Isaac MacLeod slapshot from center ice. It was Straight’s fifth goal of the season and marked the first multi-goal game of his career.

Boston College made it 5-1 when Gaudreau took the puck off a stretch pass from Hayes at center ice, carried it through the PSU offensive zone, and beat Skoff stick-side. It was his 15th goal of the season and his fifth point of the tournament.

In a hope to maybe give his team a jump start, Gadowsky started backup goaltender P.J. Musico to start the third period. The effort would be in vain however, as Boston College continued to pad the score throughout the final period of play.

The third period started with some special teams play, as Arnold went off for goaltender interference at the 1:09 mark, giving PSU their third powerplay opportunity of the game. The Penn State powerplay was quickly nullified however, as PSU forward David Goodwin took a hooking penalty at 2:25. Roughly a minute and a half later, BC defenseman Danny Linell made the game 6-1 when he ripped a slapshot from the right point through traffic and past Musico for his first goal of the season.

Penn State continued to stand tall in the face of adversity however, and played a determined game for much of the third period. The efforts would not be enough though, as Boston College crushed whatever little hope PSU may have had left at the 13:33 mark of the third period, when Straight scored his third goal of the game. It was the first hat trick of Straight’s three-year college career and his sixth on the season.

Michael Sit closed out the scoring for Boston College 18 seconds later when he redirected a slapshot from Jeke to put the Eagles up 8-1. It was Sit’s fifth of the season.

The Nittany Lions, despite being down 8-1 late in the third period, never gave up. And while they were not rewarded for their efforts with a win, they did manage to make a blowout game a little less lopsided at the 17:27 mark, when Goodwin pushed a puck past Billett for his fourth of the season. If anything, it was an important goal for Goodwin, who had taken a costly penalty 15 minutes earlier.

Notes:

– Boston College combined for more goals in their two games (13) than Robert Morris, Penn State, and Bowling Green Combined (12).

– The Eagles top line of Bill Arnold, Johnny Gaudreau, and Kevin Hayes combined for three goals and nine assists through two games this past weekend.

– Gaudreau was recognized as the Three Rivers Classic tournament MVP, as he managed two goals and three assists in two games. Other players who were named to All Tournament Team were Boston College forwards Kevin Hayes and Bill Arnold, Bowling Green forward Bryce Williamson, Penn State defenseman Nate Jensen, and Robert Morris goaltender Terry Shafer.

– Robert Morris goaltender Terry Shafer managed to finish the weekend with a .938 save percentage despite the fact he allowed six goals in two games.

– Boston College got a goal from five of their defensemen during the Three Rivers Classic. Defensemen Travis Jeke, Teddy Doherty, Scott Savage, and Michael Matheson each contributed a goal in game one. While Danny Linell scored in game two.

– Boston College center Patrick Brown led the tournament in faceoffs, winning 30 of 41 taken.

Quotes:

Jerry York on competing for a trophy, any trophy:
“We don’t take trophies lightly, we’re very excited and proud of winning the first of four that are available to us over the year.”

Jerry York on Penn State:
“I thought Penn State started very very strong. They won some battles…it’s a big strong club. I think Guy [Gadowsky] has them pointed in the right direction. It’s going to take a little bit of time. Some more recruiting classes from where…he’d like them to be, but they’re a pretty good club. They gave us all we could handle early. It was more what they did than we didn’t.”

Jerry York on avoiding playing ‘Christmas Hockey':
“I don’t think [Christmas Hockey] crept into us this weekend. I’ve seen some Christmas hockey out of our club in the past and it’s not fun to watch.

Jerry York on coaching mobile, puck-moving defensemen:
“Especially last night, but even tonight, their play was a key factor in how well we advanced pucks. So that was a real bonus. Danny [Bylsma] probably feels the same about Letang and some of those good offensive defensemen for the Penguins. When’s [Martin's] broken leg healed? When’s he coming back?”

Derek Schooley on how he talks to his players after a loss:
“You want to be hard on them when they’re winning, because you want to keep that edge. But when you’re not winning, you have to positive and pat them on the back. I was sick of being positive this morning. I think the players were sick of being positive too. So we had a nice little chat this morning and there was no positivity in that. I think they responded somewhat. We’re going to see how they respond next week because, if you sit there and keep being positive and going ‘Hey, we just lost again!’ you become a fraud.”

Derek Schooley on the virtues of college hockey:
“College hockey is not like pro hockey. College hockey is a sprint, pro hockey is a marathon. You have guys diving head first to block a shot with their cage in the last minute. You don’t see guys making a boatload of money doing that because they’d lose half their teeth. College hockey has a passionate fanbase. It’s something special and I hope people realize that here.”

Johnny Gaudreau on his backhand shot:
“I like to use my backhand. It’s a good technique to have…just watch Crosby do it all the time with the Pens, it’s pretty cool.”