CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - Boston College sophomore standout Johnny Gaudreau missed his team's last three games while he helped the United States to a World Juniors gold medal in Ufa, Russia.
UNH would not have minded if Gaudreau spent another week or two in Russia.
Instead, he returned stateside and powered the Eagles to a 5-2 win over the Wildcats on Friday night at Conte Forum.
UNH scored first in the game, but it was all BC, thanks in large part to Gaudreau, after that.
"It's very disappointing," said UNH junior forward Kevin Goumas. "We got the first one, but after that we kind of laid back and didn't play well defensively and they just turned the game around."
The Eagles scored five straight goals to take control.
"We didn't cover people," said UNH coach Dick Umile. "I'm not taking anything away from them. They executed their plays ... Obviously, they're a real good team. You can't give them odd man rushes. When you do that, they're going to bury them. They made a couple of great plays. But it would have been nice if we picked people up and made them work for it."
Gaudreau delivered a goal and a couple of highlight reel-worthy assists in the first two periods to stake BC to a 5-1 lead.
Boston College, ranked No. 3 in the USCHO poll last week, improved to 13-3-2 overall and 10-2-1 in Hockey East.
No. 4 UNH dropped to 13-4-2 and 8-3-1 and slipped to third place in Hockey East. Boston University took over second place with a 4-1 win at Merrimack.
The Eagles and Wildcats do it again in a rematch tonight at the Whittemore Center at 7.
"This game is over," Umile said. "We didn't play our best game, especially defensively. We better wake up tomorrow night or we'll find ourselves out of it. It's a new day and we've got to play a lot better than we did tonight defensively."
The win was the sixth straight for BC in the series against New Hampshire, its best stretch since running off nine consecutive wins in the mid-1980s.
The Eagles are also 5-0-2 in their last seven games at the Whittemore Center. UNH last beat BC in Durham on Feb. 20, 2009 by a score of 3-2.
Down 5-1 going into the third period, Goumas got one back for UNH 37 seconds into the third period.
Junior Jeff Wyer played the third period in net for the Wildcats and had eight saves. He came on for Casey DeSmith, a sophomore from Rochester, who stopped 12 of the 17 shots he faced through to periods.
BC's Parker Milner earned the win with 31 saves.
UNH's hottest line - a unit featuring sophomores Jay Camper and Matt Willows and freshman Dan Correale - struck first to put UNH in front 8:54 into the game.
Willows set the goal up with some sharp forechecking when he smothered an Eagle defender behind the net, grabbed the puck and fed Camper just outside Milner's crease. The line has been involved in five goals in the last three games.
The Eagles showed off their speed and passing to score a pair of goals and take the lead in the next nine minutes.
Bill Arnold charged down the right side and circled the UNH net and set up Kevin Hayes in front for 1-1 at 13:29.
Four minutes later, a nice bit of passing from Steve Whitney to Gaudreau to Pat Mullane led to a Mullane blast that beat DeSmith just under the crossbar.
"We stood around and watched them execute three-on-twos without picking people up in the defensive zone and they jumped out ahead of us," Umile said.
Gaudreau beat DeSmith with a backhander from in close to make it a two-goal game at 5:01 of the second period and then set up Mullane again with a great back door pass for 4-1 with 4:17 left in the period.
Arnold scored off a pass from Hayes with 4.7 seconds left in the period and it was 5-1.
<p align='center'>- - - - -</p>
BC coach Jerry York missed last night's game and will not be at tonight's game either. York underwent surgery to repair a detached retina on Thursday. Associate head coaches Mike Cavanaugh and Greg Brown are running the team. . . . UNH forward Greg Burke, a senior from Lee, took a big hit midway through the second period and did not return to the game. He is doubtful for tonight.