BOSTON — Contrary to popular opinion, Boston College is not a one-line team. While Ben and Patrick Eaves lead the BC offense with Tony Voce, the Eagles turned to the second line, fourth line and a defenseman to score the goals in a 3-2 win over archrival Boston University.
Fourth-liner Justin Dziama quieted the raucous Walter Brown Arena crowd, evening the score at 1-1 just 22 seconds after BU seized its only lead. Defenseman Andrew Alberts’ cannon of a shot gave the Eagle’s their only power-play goal in nine opportunities. And the second line combination of Chris Collins and Ryan Shannon collaborated on a two-on-one that proved to be the game-winner.
The win gives Boston College (8-0-1, 5-0-0 HEA) its best start since the 1949-50 Eagles followed up a national championship by opening 10-0-0. It also sets up a Tuesday night matchup between the top-ranked Eagles and second-ranked New Hampshire.
“It was a prototypical BU-BC game,” said BC coach Jerry York. “There was lots of excitement in the building and lots of very, very good plays for both teams…. We’re supposedly the best team in the country and BU is right with us. If you were lucky enough to get a ticket, you saw a terrific college hockey game.
“Timmy Kelleher was very, very good in goal and Andrew Alberts really stepped up. He’s a sophomore who was really a force out there for us tonight.”
For No. 7 Boston University (5-2-2, 3-2-0 HEA), the game ultimately boiled down to its ongoing problems with converting its offensive opportunities and taking bad penalties.
“If you told me we were going to give them nine power plays — one four-on-three and one five-on-three — and we’d only give up one power-play goal, I’d say it was quite a good night for us as far as penalty-killing is concerned,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “As far as taking stupid penalties — as far as being really undisciplined — it was a pathetic night for us, especially the two that put us two-men down. That’s got to be addressed.
“Other than that, it was a helluva college hockey game. The major difference was that we’re struggling to put the puck in the net. We had some real good opportunities and didn’t score.”
BU gets the chance to rebound immediately since it hosts another major rival, Maine, on Saturday. Parker indicated that top center Brian McConnell, who was benched late in the game for taking bad penalties, will also sit out the contest with the Black Bears.
The Terriers opened the game with considerable pressure and took a 1-0 lead at 7:29. Defenseman John Cronin poured gasoline on the fiery Walter Brown Arena atmosphere when his shot from the high right boards beat BC goaltender Tim Kelleher far side. It appeared to many that the shot had been tipped by Brian Collins, but the official scoring went with Cronin.
The jubilation of the Terrier faithful, however, proved short-lived. Just 22 seconds later, Dziama knocked in the rebound of a Ned Havern shot to even the score.
“It’s great to see a player that doesn’t score a lot of goals produce a goal in a big game,” said York. “It was just hard work and effort.”
BC’s power play, which had been otherwise unimpressive to that point, grabbed a 2-1 lead for the Eagles at 12:23 on an Andrew Alberts rocket from the point.
BU generated excellent chances later in the period, but could not convert. Brad Zancanaro fed John Laliberte in front, but the freshman shot over the net. Later, Gregg Johnson couldn’t capitalize when Kelleher got caught too far out of the net.
The contentious period, which included 10 penalties, ended with a 12-8 shot advantage for the Terriers.
BC lost no time in the second period expanding its lead to 3-1. At 1:02, Chris Collins worked a two-on-one with Ryan Shannon to perfection, drawing the pressure to himself and feeding Shannon, who beat Fields.
BU fought back, though, narrowing the margin to one goal after John Sabo’s score on the power play. Kelleher made the stop on a Freddy Meyer shot and then another by Justin Maiser, but Sabo put his sixth of the year into the net.
Fields then became the story. A ridiculous penalty taken by Freddy Meyer left the Terriers with a 29-second five-on-three disadvantage. Over the next two minutes, BC tested Fields time and again, but the junior made all the big stops to avoid a two-goal deficit.
The Eagles had golden opportunities to score an insurance goal early in the third period when they went on power plays at 4:01 and 7:35, followed by a 45-second four-on-three. Fields and BU’s penalty killing, however, stymied BC and left the door open for a tying Terrier goal.
That almost came at the 13-minute mark when Gregg Johnson sent a pass to Steve Greeley in front, but the junior’s redirection went through Kelleher’s pads only to hit the right post.
BU dominated the final minutes territorially, but could not get the equalizer, even with an extra skater for the final 1:03.
Scott Weighart contributed to this recap.