BOSTON – Chaotic.
That was the only word that Boston College head coach Jerry York could use to sum up the third period of Friday’s opening game in a home-and-home series with archrival Boston University.
For York and the Eagles, the fortunate thing was the game was long out of hand by the point that the seven goal, nine power play final frame came along. The Eagles entered the period with a 6-1 lead thanks to an explosive start and pure dominance of the Terriers. BC scored three times in the final frame and allowed four goals in one of the uglier periods of hockey either team has played this year.
When you look at it, though, the third period was a fitting end to a crazy game. No one expected either team, let along the visitors to jump out to a 3-0 lead through one and a 6-1 lead through two. No one expected BU to have 15 cracks at the power play. And certainly no one expected most of the capacity crowd of 6,150 at BU’s Agganis Arena to be heading for the exits long before the closing buzzer.
But all of that happened.
And that wasn’t all. There were crazy goals allowed and disallowed. There was a penalty shot (converted by BC’s Brian Gibbons in the third period). BU even pulled its goaltender during a power play with more than 13 minutes remaining (and scored).
But as both coaches were quick to point out: this is Friday. Tomorrow night is a new game.
“It’s the first part of a weekend series,” said York. “Sometimes the game gets away from both teams and I thought tonight was one of those nights. Tomorrow could be a 1-0 battle.”
In truth, that’s what many expected from this weekend series. Both teams have the explosive offenses, but both have great defenses and solid goaltending. Somehow the latter was missing on Friday.
“I was flabbergasted by how inept we were in many aspects of the game,” said BU head coach Jack Parker, whose Terriers have now allowed nine goals in a game since Nov. 1, 2002 (a 9-6 loss to Maine) and haven’t given up as many against their cross-town rival since December of 1986. “I don’t think there was one guy on our team that played well.”
Though you might not know it looking at the final box score, special teams played a crucial role in the game. BC scored three goals with the man advantage, two coming in the early. Those goals were a major catalyst. And while BC allowed three power play goals to the Terriers, they killed off eight BU power plays in the first two periods and scored a shorthanded goal.
“Even though we got a couple of power play goals, they did a great job killing penalties,” said Parker. “They scored at will on their power play. They won the power play game in a lot of ways.”
“I thought early in the game it was good,” said York of his penalty kill. “It was 6-1 through two and we really had great special teams to that point. We made some incredible blocks. But [killing penalties] wears you down and they were able to score some power play goals.”
Both teams leave Friday with areas to work on. BC’s may be simpler. They simply need to stay out of the penalty box.
For BU, part of their improvement may occur by simply putting this game behind them.
“I told [the players] to forget about tonight. It was a stinker tonight,” said Parker. “It isn’t what happened to us tonight it’s how we react to what happened to us tonight.
“We haven’t had a stinker of a game all year. It’s just too bad we had a stinker in front of a big crowd and against our big rival.”