CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — The rabid fans of Boston College make Kelley Rink one of the most intimidating venues in Hockey East. Boston University netminder Kieran Millan, however, has been unfazed by the Eagles’ barn. In fact, Millan has shone brighter than the gold “Super Fan” shirts adoring the mass of Boston College enthusiasts.
“We’ve seen [Millan] play some very good games over the four years,” Eagles coach Jerry York said. “But tonight, at least from my perspective, might have been his best game against us.”
Millan’s performance in the Terriers’ second cross-town win this season did not disappoint. The Edmonton, Alberta, native stopped a season-high 42 shots — just two saves shy of his career high of 44 — as he backstopped BU to a 5-3 victory.
“The only reason why that game wasn’t … a lot closer is that [Millan] played unbelievable,” Terriers coach Jack Parker said. “He was fabulous tonight.”
After turning away 11 shots in the opening frame, Millan rode an 80-minute scoreless streak over the Eagles — dating to his 5-0 shutout on Nov. 13 — into a second-period shooting gallery. BC pelted Millan 23 times in the second stanza, which was one more shot than Millan faced in the remaining two periods combined.
“They tried to put a lot of traffic in front of me,” Millan said. “My defensemen were able to box them out a little bit and gave me the opportunity to find the puck in traffic.”
Blame for the offensive onslaught is at least partially assigned to an overly aggressive Terriers squad. BU suffered six penalties in the middle frame alone, giving the Eagles 14 minutes of extra-man play. The Terriers’ fifth penalty of the night — a boarding call against winger Matt Nieto at 16:43 — brought Millan’s scoreless streak to a close after being perfect against BC for nearly 97 minutes this season. Center Bill Arnold redirected blueliner Tommy Cross’s shot from the right point past Millan to put the Eagles on the board, 2-1 at 16:59 in the second period.
“We generated an awful lot of chances during the power plays, but Millan played outstanding,” York said. “You gotta give him credit in that respect. I thought we certainly could have scored more goals if we didn’t run across that outstanding goaltender tonight. He was really hot and on his game.”
Millan’s 67th career victory — which has him at the top of BU’s win list — brought him a few steps closer to another milestone: the Terriers’ all-time saves record. Millan’s 2,984 stops trails only Sean Fields’ 3,055 saves. Millan likely will pad his saves stats again Saturday when the cross-town rivals clash a third time at Agannis Arena.