CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — It was your basic, run-of-the-mill 140-foot shot that went in — just the way Boston College coach Jerry York diagrammed it.
Trailing 2-1 to Boston University more than halfway through the third period, BC used a failed touchdown pass from John Adams in his own defensive zone to Ben Eaves at the far blue line to tie the game and put all the momentum in its corner.
Originally credited as a 140-foot shorthanded goal for the defenseman, the tide-turner was later awarded to Eaves, who tipped it before it handcuffed BU goaltender Sean Fields, slipping slowly through his pads and into the net.
“[Adams] gave me a saucer pass and he had a little too much sauce on it,” said Eaves, who’d been looking for a quick hit to spark an offense that BU had kept in check. “I reset my stick and tried to knock it down and got a piece of it. The goalie misplayed it and that was it. It was spinning really hard. [Adams] put some really good sauce on it.”
With the ultimate “we’re-getting-the-bounces” goal, BC then finished off the 3-2 win with a Ryan Murphy goal at 18:05. The sophomore broke two-on-one from along the right boards, cut into the slot and backhanded the winner past the unfortunate Fields, who had played a strong game prior to the Adams-to-Eaves Hail Mary.
“This is my biggest goal, by far,” Murphy said. “I have six goals on the year, but none of them were highlight-reel goals by any means. To get one like that is nice and, of course, since it came against BU it means we swept them. That makes it that much more special.”
The Eagles’ sweep of the series over their arch-rival is their first since the 1986-87 season.
“You have a lot of tournaments on the PGA tour,” BC coach Jerry York said, mindful of the large golfing contingent in the press. “But there are certain ones that they all point to. Tonight must have been the British Open. Last night [a win at BU] must have been the Masters.”
Boston College (14-5-3, 10-3-1 HEA) maintained its two-point lead atop Hockey East over New Hampshire, which defeated Massachusetts in overtime while Maine tied Merrimack to fall three points behind. For Boston University (13-9-2, 7-7-0 HEA), however, the third straight loss left the Terriers in an increasingly distant tie for fourth place as they fell to .500 within the league for the first time since mid-November.
“Unfortunately, we played the game we wanted to play, exactly the way we wanted to play it,” said BU coach Jack Parker, “but put them back in the game by going down five-on-three in the second period and gave them a goal to make it 2-1. Then we got a bad bounce for the guy who’s been our MVP all year. I know he feels pretty bad about that.
“I was pleased with how well we played, how hard we played and in many areas how smart we played. The one time we didn’t play smart and gave them a jump, boom! I think they had one other two-on-one or three-on-two the whole game. Bad timing on that one.”
BU jumped on top with the only goal of the first period, that coming on a power play when Frantisek Skladany backhanded the rebound of a Jekabs Redlihs shot in at 13:07. Both sides frittered away other opportunities on the man advantage, most notably five-on-threes of 1:11 for BC and 49 seconds for BU.
The Terriers expanded that lead midway through the second period when Justin Maiser walked in from the right faceoff dot and roofed his eighth goal of the year past Matti Kaltiainen.
A fracas in front of the net gave the Eagles a 52-second five-on-three advantage near the end of the period. While they didn’t convert while two men up, they narrowed the margin to 2-1 after BU got the first man back. Tony Voce proved that three times is a charm, putting the third of the cross-goalmouth passes fed to him into the net at 18:21.
The Terriers appeared to be following a winning formula in the third period, though, eventually holding BC to only seven shots. The touchdown pass gone awry and the Murphy two-on-one, however, were two of them and that proved decisive.
The two rivals could potentially meet again in the Beanpot championship game on Feb. 10. In the meantime, BU plays New Hampshire in a home-and-home series next Thursday and Saturday while BC plays a Friday-Saturday home-and-home with Providence.