BOSTON — When crosstown rivals get together, every hit is finished with more authority and post-game handshakes erupt into pushing and shoving. Behind Mike Pandolfo’s third-period goal, Boston University held on to defeat Northeastern 2-1 Friday night.
The star of the game was BU goaltender Jason Tapp, who managed to make 37 saves, including many of the spectacular variety.
“It was a huge win for our team. We won by getting good goaltending and keeping our poise, ” said BU coach Jack Parker, who coached his 1,000th game.
“That’s a long time and a lot of games. I tell you for sure that there isn’t another 1,000 in me.”
Parker raised his career record to 629-310-61 at the expense of the Huskies, the team that he has defeated most often over his career: 68 times.
With the win, BU (13-15-3, 9-9-3 HEA) moves into a fifth-place tie with UMass Lowell. Northeastern (12-15-4, 6-11-4 HEA) stays in seventh place, two points ahead of UMass-Amherst and Merrimack.
Both teams came out flying off the opening faceoff. Big hitting dominated the first period, along with solid scoring opportunities. Northeastern goalie Jason Braun finished the period with 14 saves while Tapp turned away nine shots.
The second period started with the same intensity as the first as both teams continued to knock each other around the rink, but BU struck first.
An unlikely source gave BU the advantage. Defenseman Pat Aufiero took the puck from the blue line and circled behind the net, then came back around to roof the puck over Braun to give BU the lead midway through the second.
Meanwhile, Tapp continued his stellar play in the second period by turning away 18 shots, helping quiet the suddenly-hot Northeastern power play. Coming into Friday, Northeastern had scored power-play goals in six consecutive games — but the streak stopped there.
BU increased the lead late in the third period as Pandolfo took a pass from Dan Cavanaugh and beat Braun for the eventual game-winner. Cavanaugh fought off a defender behind the net and centered the puck to Pandolfo in front of the net.
“Pandolfo was terrific tonight and his line played a great game,” said Parker.
Northeastern would make it interesting late in the third period. With Braun pulled for the extra skater, Graig Mischler would float a shot towards Tapp that was redirected by Mike Ryan and sneaked into the back of the net.
Ryan’s 14th goal of the season cut the lead to 2-1, but Tapp shut the door the rest of the way to preserve his eighth win of the season.
“Tapp played well and came up big during the game,” said Parker. BU extended its record to 12-0-0 when leading after two periods.
“It was a close-checking game and the shots were even,” said Northeastern coach Bruce Crowder. “I told the team if they could score early in the third, we would be able to pull the game out. Obviously, we scored late and couldn’t get the game tied.”
The rematch is set for Saturday night at Walter Brown Arena. Game time is at 7 p.m.