The No. 7 Boston University men’s hockey team traveled downtown to TD Garden to compete in the Hockey East semifinal game against their arch nemesis No. 14 Boston College. While the Terriers (23-11-3) are known for their knack for comebacks, they couldn’t pull it off Friday, ultimately dropping the contest, 3-2, to the Eagles (21-14-4).
They scored two goals in the last three minutes of the game, but it wasn’t enough to take the game away from the boys from Chestnut Hill. The Eagles played hard every minute of the match whereas the Terriers didn’t step up until the final minutes.
The second stanza of the showdown looked nothing like the first, which was fast-paced and energetic. The Terrier’s didn’t have the same drive and couldn’t generate offense.
The Eagles outshot them 17-10 and scored two goals. Julius Mattila’s wrist shot proved deadly and slipped past freshman goaltender Jake Oettinger just 1:58 into the frame. Head coach David Quinn said “the backbreaker” for his team was the short-handed goal scored by forward Ryan Fitzgerald.
“It’s 1-0, you have a chance to maybe make it 1-1 and get some momentum off the power play and the complete opposite happened,” Quinn said.
Despite having five chances on the night, the boys in scarlet couldn’t capitalize on the power play.
“On top of giving up the shorthanded goal, I don’t think we got a lot of mojo in the early ones,” Quinn said. “When it’s 3-0 it’s a little easier to play a little carefree, but I thought our power play let us down tonight.”
Their only solid looking man-advantage opportunity came in the middle of third period. They had two big chances in front of the net, but no goal came of them.
The Terriers came into the game with the fourth-best penalty kill team in the nation. They kept the Eagles at bay during their two man-advantage chances, but that wasn’t enough to keep BC off the board.
Puck luck was not in the Terriers favor, either. The Terriers had more shot attempt and by nights end they outshot the Eagles 44-35.
Credit does have to be given to BC netminder Joe Woll. The freshman made 42 saves on the night and Quinn pointed to him when asked what prevented the Terrier’s shots from becoming goals.
“Joe Woll is a hell of a goalie,” Quinn said. “He has been for a long time. He stood tall tonight. If you want to win playoff games, you have to have great goaltending.”
Oettinger may have been beaten three times, nearly a whole goal over his 2.06 goals allowed average, but he still played well. The 6-foot 4-inch netminder made 32 saves on the night.
Oettinger and his teammates have a lot to think about, but can’t dwell on the loss for too long. Their time in the Hockey East tournament is over, but their season isn’t.
“This is going to hurt,” Quinn said of the blow dealt to the Terriers by their league rivals. “It’s going to hurt for a while but we’ve got to move past this quickly because we have a tournament to play starting next weekend and who knows where we’re going. Who knows who we’re playing … We know we’re in the national tournament which is a great feeling but it’s not going to take the sting away from tonight’s loss that’s for sure.”