Coming off of what could have been it most stressful and satisfying win of the season, the No. 10 Boston University men’s hockey team traveled down Commonwealth Avenue on Monday to face No. 10 Boston College on its own turf.
The game was a physical battle, but the Terriers came out on top with a 3-0 win. The Eagles hold on to first place in league standings, but BU (14-5-2, 7-2-2 Hockey East) is now just three points behind them.
BU head Coach David Quinn said the game felt like playoff hockey and that his team played better than it had in Friday night’s 2-1 win over BC head coach Jerry York’s side.
“I’m just really proud of our guys,” Quinn said. “From our goaltender out we were pretty thorough and I thought our D core was really good tonight. [We] were really strong defensively. We transitioned the puck well. Just a great road win for us.”
The second serving of this rivalry seemed to pick off where the first game ended. Tensions were high, and the teams were even, taking turns taking shots in the first frame. Just as they were Friday night, freshman goalkeepers Jake Oettinger and Joseph Woll were stellar.
BU’s Oettinger made 34 saves and earned his fourth shutout of the season. The freshman was calm and collected despite the roaring crowd of Eagle (14-9-2, 9-3-1 Hockey East) students and fans.
“It was a lot of fun,” Oettinger said of experiencing the rivalry. “Obviously both fan bases are really passionate and really deep so it was a lot of fun coming into this atmosphere. It’s such a storied rivalry.”
The Terrier special teams were firing on all cylinders and were perfect. They killed all three penalties and went 3-for-3 on the power play.
Quinn was impressed with his penalty kill and said they improved over their performance Friday night.
“Tonight I thought we were much quicker and more alert,” Quinn said. “Our power play delivered big. As important as your percentage is, the timing of a power play goal is equally important. If you’re going to have success, your special teams better be good.”
Freshman forward Patrick Curry nailed the timing of his goal. With a second remaining in a man advantage in the second period, he served the puck just under the cross bar, opening a 1-0 lead for BU.
Later in the period, senior defenseman Doyle Somerby was sent to the box for the second time that night. However, the Terriers penalty kill, the second best in the nation, shut down the Eagles. They did the same early in the third after junior defenseman John MacLeod got sent to the box for boarding.
Despite not capitalizing on the power play, the ice tilted in the Eagles’ favor in the third. Senior Ryan Fitzgerald led the Eagles with seven shots. Colin White, who leads the team in points with 11 goals, was not as successful as usual. He put up three shots, but served two penalties, both which proved catastrophic for the Eagles, especially the last one.
With 1:15 remaining and a man already in the box, White sat to serve a charging penalty. Freshman forward Clayton Keller dished the puck to sophomore forward Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, who put the Terriers up 2-0.
The Eagles pulled Woll for the extra man, fighting for a goal, but the Terriers got a hold of it and sophomore forward Bobo Carpenter easily sealed the 3-0 victory.
Oettinger, named the number one star of the game, said the amount of talent on both teams was obvious and accounted for the close score up until the end.
“It just shows how small the margin of error is between two really good hockey teams,” he said. “I thought all the little details were the reason we came out on top.”