ST. LOUIS — Forty minutes of play in Thursday’s second national semifinal game between Boston College and North Dakota has settled nothing as the two clubs head to the final period knotted at 2.
Each team has used special teams to its advantage with the Fighting Sioux 1-for-4 on the power play and the Eagles 2-for-5 with the man advantage.
The opening 20 minutes saw five penalties whistled by referee Matt Shegos, who sent two Eagles to the penalty box in the first half of the frame before sending three North Dakota players off in the final eight minutes of the frame.
The Sioux jumped out to a 1-0 lead midway through the first. After BC had killed off a five-on-three Sioux power play, actually having the better of the opportunities shorthanded, multiple missed clearing attempts led to captain Chris Porter snapping a shot from the slot over BC netminder Cory Schneider’s shoulder at 10:28 to give the Sioux the early advantage.
It was the first time that Eagles had trailed since March 9, when they fell behind, 1-0, early in the Hockey East quarterfinal to Northeastern but scored the game’s final seven goals for a 7-1 win.
Back-to-back penalties to North Dakota put BC on the power play and after numerous chances that were either stopped by North Dakota goaltender Philippe Lamoureux or hit the post, the Eagles finally cashed in.
When a Brian O’Hanley shot from the left point was tipped and blocked in front, junior center Dan Bertram found space to wrist a quick shot that surprised Lamoureux, beating him between the legs at 15:41 to knot the game at one.
The period saw plenty of offensive chances, with BC holding a slight 14-12 lead in shots through one.
Early in the second, with BC on the power play, Lamoureux made a highlight-reel save to keep the game tied. As Nathan Gerbe had Lamoureux down and seemingly out, the junior netminder wheeled around to his back and threw his legs up in the air to deflect the Gerbe bid wide in the opening minute of play. Shortly thereafter, the Sioux took the lead.
With BC serving a minor for too many men on the ice, a Jonathan Toews centering pass from behind the net deflected off the skate of Mike Brennan and slowly trickled over the line past Schneider at 3:15. The goal was given careful review by the instant replay official, who determined a North Dakota player in the crease did not interfere with Schneider, allowing the goal to stand.
The Eagles, who carried the offensive flow in the period, outshooting the Sioux, 20-7, didn’t seem to have much in the way of luck going their way. Twice in a span of less than two minutes BC hit the post, one a blast by Joe Rooney from the point and the second a backhander by Boyle.
It wasn’t until a Sioux penalty to Erik Fabian with 6:33 remaining that gave BC its fifth power play of the game, that the Eagles finally hit the back of the net.
After Lamoureux made an incredible right pad save on a Brock Bradford bid at the left post, Bertram, who hadn’t recorded a multiple-goal game all season, banged home the rebound for his second goal of the game at 15:21 to even the game at two heading into the third.
A holding penalty to Bradford at the 20-minute mark will put North Dakota on the power play to begin the third period.