Playing hockey under the lights at Fenway Park has become quite the spectacle, but for linemates Johnny Gaudreau, Kevin Hayes, and Bill Arnold, Saturday night's Frozen Fenway matchup with Notre Dame is certainly something that they will never forget.
“We knew coming in this week that it was going to be an exciting game,” Gaudreau said. “This is something that the players will never forget, and it was certainly something special.
BC’s star-studded line contributed three of the Eagles four goals, sending them to a 4-3 victory. Arnold had three points while Gaudreau and Hayes both had two.
“It’s been pretty exciting to play together, and ever since coach (Jerry York) put us together we have been doing really well,” Gaudreau said. “We have been getting a lot of scoring chances.”
The line of Gaudreau-Arnold-Hayes might very well be the most dangerous line in all of college hockey, bringing many different elements.
“Scoring points is cool, but that isn’t what BC is about,” Hayes said. “Johnny Gaudreau could score a million points a season if he wanted to, but we look for two things here: wins and two points. We’re all best friends on and off the ice so it’s been pretty easy playing together. Johnny is the best offensive player in the country, Bill is the best defensive player in the country, so whoever you put with them is going to play really well.”
Gaudreau (CGY) earned first star honors and continues to tear up college hockey and Hockey East. Last year's Hobey Baker finalist found the back of the net twice, including the third period game-winner.
“Kevin Hayes made one of the biggest plays of the night by blocking a shot, people think me scoring was big, but that blocked shot was the main reason we won the game tonight,” Gaudreau said of his game-winner. “He blocked the shot, I went flying down the ice, and it gave me a nice little breakaway.”
The Carneys Point, NJ native showed few ill effects in the conditions, as he was flying all over the ice and started off the scoring. Gaudreau undressed Notre Dame goaltender Steven Summerhays, walking right around him and flicking a backhander past the netminder.
“There was a lot of hard work from Bill in the face-off dot,” Gaudreau said. “I got the puck out front, faked a shot, went around the goalie, and just slid it into an empty net.”
Gaudreau also extended his point-streak to 14 games and now has 35 points (17 goals, 18 assists) in just 19 games this season. The NCAA might just want to give the flashy forward the Hobey Baker now.
Arnold, a Needham, MA native, certainly didn’t think he would be playing hockey on the field at Fenway Park once, so playing at Frozen Fenway for a second time is certainly memorable.
“Growing up they didn’t have anything like this,” Arnold said. “It never even crossed your mind that you could even do this. I watched it the year before I came, and then to have them bring it back both my sophomore and senior year has been really amazing. I grew up watching the Red Sox, and being able to play in this atmosphere brings you back to a time when you were a kid on the pond.”
Arnold’s tally came shorthanded as Hayes fed him a perfect saucer pass on a 2-on-1 and Arnold made no mistake with it.
“Kevin Hayes just hustled up the ice, he was really patient, and with the skill he has he was able to feed it to me,” Arnold said of the goal. “It was backdoor and a wide open net, so it really doesn’t get much easier than that. You seem to get a lot of those kind of goals playing with Kevin and Johnny.”
Arnold had two assists, but his first one was more than impressive, firing a no look pass to Gaudreau.
“It’s just simple communication,” Arnold said. “I heard him, he’s a little guy, he has a big voice. When he wants the puck you make sure you get it to him, he then stickhandles five times in the blink of an eye and it’s in the back of the net.
Hayes (CHI) is a Dorchester, MA native so, like Arnold, playing at Fenway Park has been pretty special.
“It’s been awesome, I had a lot of family and friends here, and every time I was walking out of the tunnel I could hear my name,” Hayes said.
Quietly, Hayes put in a very solid effort with his two assists and his very important blocked shot to eventually spring Gaudreau on the game-winner, but this kind of play is something he has done his entire career.
“I’ve played with him for a long time, and he is a really gifted player,” Arnold said of Hayes. “He’s battled some injuries, but he has been a force this season. Him and Johnny are two of the best players in the country, and it’s a lot of fun to play with guys like that.”
Follow Rich Murray on Twitter via @Richie_Murray