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No. 9 Terriers fall to No. 1 BC to split weekend series

CHESTNUT HILL—The No. 9 Boston University men’s hockey team could not complete a weekend sweep of No. 1 Boston College, falling 5–2 to the Eagles at Conte Forum Saturday after winning 4–2 at Agganis Arena Friday.

BC (11–2–0, 10–2–0 Hockey East) outshot the Terriers (8–5–0, 6–4–0 Hockey East) 36–23 in a dominant win, the record-tying 924th of BC coach Jerry York’s career.

The Terriers’ penalty kill, which was the third best in Hockey East entering Saturday’s game, struggled mightily against the Eagles’ league-best power play. They allowed BC four power-play goals and 15 shots on eight opportunities. BU’s own power play went 2-for-6.

“We started it last night by taking a few stupid penalties at the end of the game, and we took some more tonight,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “That, in my mind, was the difference in the game.”

BC wing Johnny Gaudreau was called for high-sticking midway through the first period, but BC’s aggressive penalty kill harassed the Terriers and pinned them in their own zone for much of the ensuing power play. Shortly afterward, it appeared the Eagles’ hard work had paid off when Gaudreau flipped a puck into an empty net as BU freshman goalie Matt O’Connor could not get over in time.

However, the officials ruled that the reason O’Connor could not get in position was that BC winger Steven Whitney had interfered with him, and the goal was called back.

It took just a few minutes after that for BC to get on the board for real. The Eagles continued to forecheck ferociously, disrupting the BU breakout at every turn. Eventually, defenseman Teddy Doherty tapped a rebound into the net on the power play to make it 1–0.

But BU was quick to answer when Gaudreau took another penalty, this one for hooking senior captain Wade Megan. On the power play, Megan carried the puck into the zone and took a shot that bounced to junior wing Sahir Gill. Gill found sophomore center Cason Hohmann open on the other side of the net and hit him with a pass, which Hohmann lifted over BC goalie Parker Milner.

BC took the lead back early in the second with another power-play goal. This one belonged to center Bill Arnold, who had his initial shot blocked by BU senior defenseman Ryan Ruikka, but took the puck as it bounced off Ruikka and put it behind O’Connor.

With just over five minutes remaining in the second, sophomore forward Evan Rodrigues had a chance to tie the score with a breakaway on Milner. But he waited too long, carrying the puck almost to the goal line before flipping it over the net as Milner dove to the ice.

Over the next few minutes, junior defenseman Garrett Noonan and sophomore defenseman Alexx Privitera took penalties to put BU at a 5-on-3 disadvantage. It took just 40 seconds for the Eagles to convert, as defenseman Michael Matheson ripped a slap shot from the point past O’Connor to make it 3–1.

“When they didn’t score on the first 5-on-3 [earlier in the second], I thought we might be okay, but then they got the next 5-on-3,” Parker said. “We were down 5-on-4 and we really took a stupid penalty to make it 5-on-3 again, and that was the backbreaker.”

Then Arnold struck again, collecting the puck after defenseman Patrick Wey took a shot that hit the end boards and flipping it over O’Connor from the side of the net.

“Until they got the power play goals I really liked the way we were playing,” Parker said. “I guess it was 15:48 [Matheson’s goal] and 16:38 [Arnold’s], those two goals ended the game. Up until that point I thought, ‘This is fine.’ But then we disintegrated.”

Less than five minutes into the third period, the Eagles continued to pile it on as freshman winger Brendan Silk scored his first goal of the year. Silk carried the puck from the boards into the slot unimpeded and fired a wrist shot past O’Connor to make it 5–1.

Rodrigues closed the gap to 5–2 when BC defenseman Patch Alber was called for a hold with about seven minutes remaining in the third. Rodrigues fired a wrister over Milner for his third goal of the season.

Parker said he was not happy with the amount of penalties taken and the penalty kill, and those aspects led to the loss.

“When you’re taking penalties and you’re doing a lousy job killing penalties, you’re not going to win the game,” Parker said.

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