The No. 11/12 Boston University men’s hockey team hung close until the third period, but No. 1 Boston College pulled away to a 4–2 win at Agganis Arena on Sunday.
Freshman goalie Matt O’Connor kept the Terriers (5–3–0, 4–2–0 Hockey East) down just 1–0 for most of the game, but two quick third-period goals sealed it for the Eagles (8–1–0, 7–1–0 Hockey East).
“I thought it was an exciting game to be involved in,” said BU head coach Jack Parker. “It was an exciting game to watch. I was amazed the score was what it was at the end of the second period with all the power plays.”
BC opened the scoring less than a minute into the first period. After a faceoff to the right of O’Connor, BC’s Destry Straight took a pass from his left wing Kevin Hayes and slid it past O’Connor.
That was the only goal on the board for the next 50 minutes.
The Terriers then had three consecutive power plays, but capitalized on none. By far their best chances came on the second one, when junior forward Sahir Gill and freshman forward Danny O’Regan both tried and failed to put away a bouncing puck in front of the net.
Then, after BC killed off senior center Pat Mullane’s second penalty and the team’s third, BU took two penalties in quick succession — the first a slash on freshman center Wesley Myron, and the second a trip against junior wing Matt Nieto.
The Eagles began the second period with a prolonged 5-on-3 advantage.
The Terriers killed off that BC power play as well as two more later in the period. But they could not match BC in the faceoff circle, and once again they only mustered six shots on netminder Parker Milner in the period, who turned each shot away without much trouble.
“The fact that they didn’t score on the 5-on-3, I thought it would give us a big lift, but the second period was more them than it was us, and the third period was much more us than it was them,” Parker said.
With their backs against the wall, the Terriers came at Milner with more intensity in the third, firing 15 shots on him after only taking 12 through the first two periods combined.
O’Connor stopped BC forward Kevin Hayes on a breakaway just before the halfway mark of the third, bringing the crowd to its feet. But it was Hayes who scored the Eagles’ all-important second goal shortly afterward.
BC came down on a 2-on-1 against BU senior defenseman Sean Escobedo, and Escobedo laid out to block a pass across from Hayes. However, Hayes collected the puck in the corner, threw it back on net and saw it bounce in off O’Connor’s back.
“It wasn’t because of a lack of effort, but they both made a bad read and they both looked at each other, instead of one guy taking charge and yelling, ‘I got this guy,’” Parker said of the 2-on-1 that led to the goal.
BC sophomore Johnny Gaudreau made it 3–0 shortly afterward when he tapped a pass from senior Pat Mullane into the net from the slot.
“Gaudreau can get some gorgeous goals and he’s a terrific player in this league,” Parker said. “We don’t need to have him have a tap-in like that.”
The lead proved to be insurmountable, but BU kept it interesting when freshman defenseman Matt Grzelcyk snapped a short-side shot past Milner for his first collegiate goal.
BU had a chance to pull within one when BC was called for too many men on the ice and O’Connor was pulled for an extra attacker. Instead, though, BC center Bill Arnold flipped the puck the length of the ice for an empty-netter that made it 4–1.
Right after the empty-netter, a slick passing play led to a goal from sophomore defenseman Alexx Privitera, a slap shot from the point that eluded BC goalie Parker Milner to make it 4–2. It was the first goal of the season for Privitera, who also blocked five shots on the night.
“We’ll see them again later on, and this game will make us grow up,” Parker said. “Either way, this game is going to help us.”