Ice Hockey, Sports

Men’s hockey making a habit of recovering from early deficits

Freshman forward Brady Tkachuk came up huge in his first taste of the BU versus BC rivalry. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

When No. 15 Boston College sophomore forward Ron Greco got a goal past Boston University men’s hockey sophomore goaltender Jake Oettinger to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead with just over two minutes into the game, it appeared as if the Terriers (7-8-1, 5-4-1 Hockey East) had been buried in the dirt before the game even started.

However, the immediate hole did not faze BU, which has displayed its resilience throughout its recent stretch of games. The Terriers rebounded in an incredible fashion, putting up a seven-goal performance to blow out BC (8-6-2, 8-2 Hockey) 7-4 at Conte Forum.

A hitting from behind penalty by senior forward Nikolas Olsson minutes after the Eagles’ second goal threatened to doom the Terriers for good. But BU nearly converted the penalty kill into points as freshman forward Brady Tkachuk got the chance on a breakaway.

This penalty kill showcased the resolve that has allowed the Terriers to remain afloat with currently 11 points in Hockey East standings, despite a few ravaging losses.

“I loved our resolve,” BU head coach David Quinn said. “I loved how mentally tough we were. I really felt like we started skating and managing the puck a lot better and it looked like we had practiced D-zone over the last three months. We slowly started doing the things we were going to need to do to have success.”

Tkachuk’s shot was swallowed up by BC sophomore goaltender Joseph Woll, but the Terriers’ offense continued to turn the tides on the Eagles. They ripped off a plethora of shots on goal before breaking through 10:25 into the first.

With a hard shot from the point by senior defenseman Brandon Hickey after passes from freshman forwards Logan Cockerill and Shane Bowers, BU sliced the deficit in half. BU managed to keep the BC offense at bay before knotting up the contest just over three minutes later.

Following a feed from sophomore forward Patrick Harper, Bowers received the puck on the left side of Woll. He then spotted Cockerill cutting towards the net and dropped the perfect pass to him immediately in front of Woll. The goalie was unable to rotate in time and Cockerill skated away having notched the third goal of his career.

With 1:46 remaining in the first period, Tkachuk got the shorthanded goal that he was not able to convert earlier in the frame.

The St. Louis native grabbed a loose puck in the middle of the zone and broke away from BC’s back line. All that was in front of him was Woll, and Tkachuk managed to scoot the puck past him to garner the lead for his team, something that seemed impossible just 15 minutes earlier.

“We just had to relax,” Hickey said. “They were feeding off the energy of the crowd and capitalized on some opportunities. You just have to bounce back and forget the first two minutes. We started playing the right way and we started getting rewarded for it.”

Senior defenseman Brandon Hickey posts two goals for the Terriers in a 7-4 win over Boston College. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

BU almost pulled off a similar feat at Madison Square Garden last Saturday night. After Cornell University secured a commanding 4-1 lead with eight minutes remaining in the contest, the Terriers staged a near comeback.

Sophomore defenseman Chad Krys scored with 6:15 remaining to slice the Terriers deficit in half. Then, just over a minute later, Harper took a pass from Tkachuk and found paydirt, cutting the Big Red’s (9-2) lead to just 4-3 with five minutes remaining.

“Unfortunately we have had a lot of practice being down 2-0,” Quinn said. “It happened against Cornell. It’s happened a few too many times this year. We have shown some resolve. We have grit, we have to have more brains.”

Not even three minutes into the second period, Greco put home his second goal of the game to tie up the contest at three goals apiece.

Three minutes later, Krys scored for his second consecutive game to regain the lead for the Terriers. Two minutes later, Hickey fooled Woll in the slot and netted his second goal of the game to double the lead.

BU was not finished with their onslaught. Junior forward Bobo Carpenter was raring to get in on the action and he did less than a minute later, capitalizing on a power play dime by Harper in front of the goal for his ninth goal of the season.

This offensive eruption was even more impressive considering BC entered the contest with the best defense in Hockey East play, allowing an average of 1.67 goals per game in nine conference outings.

“We managed the puck better,” Quinn said. “We didn’t fool around with it on our own end. We did a real good job in a lot of areas.”

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