BOSTON — The last Hockey East game ever played at Walter Brown Arena turned out to be one of the best.
In a game filled with as much excitement as you could hope for in December, Boston University went toe-to-toe with No. 2 at Boston College and pulled off a come-from-behind 3-2 victory in front of a spirited sellout crowd of 3,806, making Jack Parker the fourth coach in college hockey history to record 700 wins — just three behind opposing coach Jerry York, who hit the milestone earlier this season.
Brad Zancanaro scored the game-winner for the Terriers with seven minutes left in the third period, after David Van der Gulik had knotted the game in the last minute of the second period for BU.
Chris Bourque added a pair of assists — including a great play to set up Peter MacArthur for a shorthanded goal in the first — and John Curry stopped 23 of 25 BC shots. Curry stonewalled BC for the first 10 minutes, when the Eagles were dominating play.
Matti Kaltiainen played well for the Eagles, making 26 saves. Brian Boyle and Patrick Eaves scored for BC.
“The first thing that jumps out at me was that it was an unbelievable college hockey game — emotionally, speed-wise,” Parker said. “And secondly, both teams played real well and got great goaltending. And then the other thing that jumped out at me was we did pretty well on killing penalties against them. We got a shorthanded goal and a power-play goal, so special teams played well too.
“I thought Jekabs Redlihs played the best game he’s played in a BU uniform; I thought he played absolutely terrific. I thought that the goal that MacArthur got was so typical of why he’s a great goal-scorer. He got rid of that puck so quickly; it was on his stick and gone. He really surprised their goaltender.
“In general, I thought we didn’t have anybody miss a beat tonight. Everybody played really hard and real smart.”
York graciously welcomed Parker into a 700 Club that compares favorably to the television program of the same name.
“I thought it was a terrific game,” York said. “One of our goals was to win the special teams, and that’s what turned the game: we did not accomplish that. They got a shorthanded goal and a power play, and we were unable to offset that. Both goaltenders played well
“I congratulate Jack; it’s a terrific milestone for him. He’s been an outstanding credit not only to Boston University but to college hockey in general.”
BC came out strong early, but Curry was solid in the Terrier net. Four minutes in, Eagle freshman Dan Bertram took a shot, and Chris Collins had a good bid on the fat rebound, but Curry squeezed it.
Curiously, BU’s Dan McGoff had the first Terrier chance of the game. McGoff was meant to be the seventh defenseman, but Parker threw that idea out the window early on.
“I never played Danny McGoff at forward before, but we had seven defensemen dressed, and the pace of the game was so quick that I realized I had to use four lines all the time,” Parker said. “So I said, ‘Danny, you’re playing left wing.’ And he did a great job for us.”
As the period wore on, Curry’s solid play seemed to help the Terriers calm down and change the momentum.
“The first ten minutes of the game was all Curry, but I thought we played our best hockey in the second half of the first period,” Parker said.
With BC on the power play at 16:12, BU notched the shorthanded goal.
“The first goal was great work by Bourque,” Parker said. “He was pressuring the guy and fell off and then was pressuring him again, got him a little rattled. He picked off the pass. It wasn’t so much an errant pass; he picked that pass off, and then he made a great pass to MacArthur.”
MacArthur’s wicked wrister nicked the crossbar before beating Kaltiainen stick-side.
The second period was eventful, as BU tallied the first five shots of the period, with some help from one of Andrew Alberts’ four penalties. However, the Terriers still surrendered the first two goals of the period.
At 13:36, towering Eagle sophomore Brian Boyle picked up a loose puck behind the Terrier net and succeeded on the wraparound, banking the puck off Curry’s right pad and in.
Less than three minutes later, and just seconds after Dan Bertram had a great chance on a rebound on the doorstep, Patrick Eaves gave BC its only lead of the night, breaking in on the left-wing side before beating Curry on a pinpoint shot high on the stick side.
With 42.7 seconds left in the period, BU got an inspiring equalizer on another power play. Bourque took a shot from the right point, and John Laliberte nudged the rebound over to David Van der Gulik. Although Kaltiainen was sprawled on the ice, Van der Gulik managed to bank a low shot off of Kaltiainen’s leg and in.
After giving up 14 shots in the first period and seven in the second, the Terriers clamped down in the final 20 minutes, yielding just four shots. Kaltiainen weathered an early power play and then stopped a Bourque slapper as an Eagle man-advantage expired halfway through the period.
The decisive goal was enough to make one wonder whether the ghosts of Walter Brown wanted to make sure BU would laugh last in Hockey East play at the venue. Eagle freshman defenseman Mike Brennan had the puck at his feet outside his blue line but caught an edge and fell down, setting up a two-on-one for the Terriers.
“I one-timed it pretty much to their defenseman, and he fell down,” Zancanaro said. “Laliberte and I went in on a two-on-one, and I shot it on net. The defenseman was playing pass, and I was thinking shoot the whole time. I was just looking over there to get the goalie thinking I might pass before I shot.”
Zancanaro’s shot was a beauty from the left-wing side, beating Kaltiainen high in the far corner for the decisive goal and Parker’s 700th win, which came after three consecutive losses, including a 7-3 drubbing at Colorado College last Saturday.
“Scotty Owens, the coach of Colorado College, said to me before the game started, ‘Hey Coach, why don’t you get your 700th against BC? That would be better,’ Parker said “And I said, ‘Scotty, if you could guarantee me that I’d get my 700th against BC, I’d walk out of here right now!
“They’re obviously our biggest rival, and it was great to do it at home, but all of that pales in comparison to being 7-1 in the league and getting a big, big win against our archrival for the league standings and to be on a high going off to UMass tomorrow.”
While BU (8-6-0, 7-1-0) travels to Amherst to play Massachusetts in a NESN-telecast game, BC (6-3-2, 3-1-2) hosts Providence.