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Cross, Eagles to Play for Hockey East Championship

by Hannah Becker / Boston Bruins
BOSTON – Boston Bruins prospect Tommy Cross and the Boston College Eagles defeated Northeastern University 5-4 Friday in the Hockey East semifinals.

Cross netted his seventh goal of the season late in the second period to give BC their fourth goal of the night and extend his season long point streak to four games.

Tonight, Cross and the Eagles will take on Stephane De Costa and the Merrimack Warriors in the Hockey East Championship game.

Both teams came out strong in the first period, with each program having opportune scoring chances.

Boston College put early pressure on Huskies’ goaltender Chris Rawlings (23 saves) with two one-on-one rushes in the first ten minutes of game action.

Six and a half minutes in, BC’s Pat Mullane stole a Northeastern pass in the neutral zone and beat NU defenseman Drew Daniels at the blueline to go one-on-one with Rawlings, but Daniels raced back and broke up the play. Mullane got a bad-angle shot on Rawlings and the Huskies goaltender slid across the net to make the acrobatic stop.

Boston College sustained the pressure despite a Northeastern power play just over nine minutes into the game with a shorthanded bid by Barry Almeida. Almeida took on Rawlings with a breakaway rush from the blue line, but Rawlings made the blocker save on Almedia’s low, right corner shot.

Despite BC’s early pressure, it was Northeastern that put a tally on the scoreboard first.

The Huskies took the puck in the neutral zone and after some tic-tac-toe passing by Northeastern’s top line of Steve Silva and Wade MacLeod centered by Tyler McNeely, McNeely laid a shot on BC goaltender John Muse (33 saves).  Muse stopped McNeely’s original shot, but the bouncing rebound found its way to the back of the net.  The goal was assisted by his linemates.

McNeely's goal at 13:48 in the first period gave Northeastern the first goal in each of their four playoff games this season.  Silva’s assist gave him a point in each of Northeastern’s post-season contests.

Just 2:57 later, Boston College answered when Brian Gibbons took a pass from Cam Atkinson in the right corner and brought the puck from behind the net to lay a bad angle shot on Rawlings that found its way between the NU goalie’s left blocker and the far post.

The teams took the 1-1 tie into the first intermission.

Boston College started things off in the second period when Jimmy Hayes passed to brother Kevin Hayes from the goal line to the slot, where Jimmy Hayes buried the shot past Rawlings for the go-ahead goal on the power play.

Northeastern answered just 25 seconds later when MacLeod won a battle at the blueline, gained the Boston College blueline and netted his 21st goal of the season and the senior’s 20th career point against BC.

After matching roughing minors were handed out to BC defensemen and Boston Bruins prospect Tommy Cross and NU’s Randy Guzior at 12:50, Boston College forward Steve Whitney gained the Northeastern zone and slid the puck from his forehand to his backhand to wrap the shot around Northeastern defenseman Jamie Oleksiak and net BC’s third goal of the game. 

Boston College scored their second power play goal of the night after Northeastern’s Braden Pimm took an interference penalty with less than a minute left in the second.

It was Cross who netted the fourth goal for BC. Cross received a pass from Brian Dumoulin in the right half of the Northeastern zone and buried the power play slapper top-shelf.

The tally gave Cross a point in each playoff game thus far this post-season and 2-5-7 totals against Northeastern this season.

The third period began with a Northeastern University goal change as freshman Clay Witt (five saves) replaced Rawlings between the pipes.

Boston College put their fifth and final goal on the board at 8:22 in the final frame. Witt stopped Jimmy Hayes' original bid, but found himself too far out of net to save Mullane’s tally off the rebound. It was the third power play goal of the night for Boston College.

But Northeastern didn’t go down quietly. The Huskies netted two third period goals on the power play.

Northeastern's first third period goal came with a 6x3 advantage and an empty NU goal when Garrett Vermeersch netted the slapper with Steven Quailer screening Muse in front at 16:44.

Northeastern followed that up with MacLeod’s second goal of the night with just 1:03 remaining in the game, but Cross, Muse and the BC Eagles held on for the victory.

Note: The Merrimack Warriors defeated the University of New Hampshire Wildcats 4-1 in the second Semi-Final match-up. BC and Merrimack face off tonight at 7 p.m. in the Championship game.
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