CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Boston College’s Ryan Fitzgerald recorded a hat-trick to lead the Eagles past the UConn Huskies, 3-2, in a Hockey East match-up Saturday Night in front of a crowd of 6,815 at Kelley Rink. The Huskies got goals from sophomores Ryan Segalla (Rockland, Mass.) and Joona Kunnas (Vantaa, Finland) and a 37 save effort from Rob Nichols (Dallas, Texas) in net in the loss.
Fitzgerald provided all the scoring for BC Saturday night including a pair of power play goals as the Eagles finished 2-for-4 with the extra skater. UConn went 1-for-4 on the power play on the night. The Huskies fall to 7-12-5 overall and 4-6-2 in Hockey East play with the loss.
The Huskies jumped in front 1-0 midway through the opening period, converting on their first power play opportunity of the night. Freshman Johnny Austin (St. Louis Park, Minn.) got a feed off a missed shot from senior Trevor Gerling (Seattle, Wash.) and cycled the puck over to Segalla in the high slot. The sophomore defenseman collected and ripped a wrist shot on net that beat goaltender Thatcher Demko top-shelf for the game’s first goal and his second on the season.
Midway through the second period, Nichols kept the Huskies 1-0 lead intact stopping a break-away chance by Chris Calnan at the tail end of UConn’s second power play. The Eagles got on the scoreboard at 16:40 thanks to some nifty stick work by Fitzgerald. Michael Matheson fed Fitzgerald off the right wing and he crashed the net, putting a move on Nichols to get the goaltender to commit and then had to wrap the puck back inside the right post from just past the goal line to knot the game at 1-1.
The Huskies responded and answered right back just 23 seconds later as Kunnas picked-up his second goal on the year. Classmate Brent Norris (Ottawa, Ontario) took a pass from Austin in the right circle threw the puck on net. Demko got the initial stop but Kunnas was heading for the left post and buried the rebound for a 2-1 edge at 17:03.
The Eagles tied it just as the second period was coming to a close. After a scrum right in front of Nichols, Fitzgerald was able to find a loose puck and stuff it home with 54 seconds left in the period to knot the game at 2-2.
Boston College got their fourth power play chance of the night at the 11:40 mark of the third and Fitzgerald struck again to provide the game-winner. Matheson once again set up his line mate, feeding Fitzgerald in the right circle and he ripped a shot from the face-off circle under the bar beating Nichols glove side to complete the hat trick.
UConn was able to pull Nichols with 1:20 left in the period for an extra skater looking for the tying goal. The Huskies got some good chance none better than with 57 seconds left. The puck found the stick of Kunnas right in front of the net who ripped a shot point blank that Demko made an outstanding glove save on to keep the Huskies off the board and preserve the win.
Austin finished with a career-high two points on two assist for the Huskies. For Segalla, it was his first career power play goal and the third goal of his career. Kunnas picked up his second goal on the season, both coming while playing up front on the left wing this season.
The Huskies will return home to the XL Center Tuesday night to take on the #14 ranked Merrimack Warriors. Opening face-off is scheduled for 7:05 pm.