BOSTON — Ironically for Northeastern, the most disappointing part about Friday’s home tilt against Hockey East rival Boston University was the first period — the period in which Northeastern outscored BU, 1-0.
Problem was, that was all the Huskies outscored the Terriers (13-7-0, 9-1-0) by.
BU weathered a first-period frenzy by Northeastern, tying the game on a power-play goal in the second and potting the game-winner halfway through the third before adding an empty-net goal to win, 3-1, in front of 4,285 fans at Matthews Arena.
Actually, weathered might not be the right word. Survived. Endured. Withstood.
They all apply.
A long wrist shot by freshman Brian McGuirk with 7:44 left in the period was just BU’s second shot on target. By contrast, the energetic hosts (7-10-2, 3-5-1) out-attempted the Terriers 28-11 in the first frame, outshooting the visitors by a margin of 15-7.
“I said to myself halfway through the first period, ‘Holy mackerel, what energy Northeastern’s got,’” said BU coach Jack Parker, whose team is off to its best Hockey East start since 1995-96 at 9-1. “They are buzzing the heck out of us. All we could do was hang on and not let a lot of bad things happen. Two things happened: we killed penalties pretty well and John Curry played extremely well in net in that first period. They got 15 shots (in the first); we haven’t given up 15 shots in a long time. But it wasn’t just that; they were flying.
“Northeastern had all kinds of emotion,” he added. “They came jacked up and ready to play. I was like, ‘Whoa, where did these guys come from?’ I thought they played fabulous in the first period. We were lucky to survive that, only one-nothing.”
Still, all the Huskies had to show for the 20-minute effort was a goal by sophomore forward Aaron Moore with :24 left in the frame.
“I thought the big difference in the game was probably the first period where we dominated so much and only got one goal out of it instead of having maybe two or three,” NU coach Bruce Crowder said. “We just didn’t give ourselves enough distance and Curry played well enough to keep them in the game.”
Moore corralled the rebound of a high shot from sophomore defenseman Brian Deeth before sliding the puck past Curry (28 saves).
Boston University tied the game 13:12 into the second period on the power play, when junior defenseman Dan Spang fed sophomore forward Kenny Roche for a dazzling one-timer in the right faceoff circle.
Ten minutes into the third period, the puck bounced between Spang and freshman forward Bryan Ewing (not to mention “a couple of knee pads and skates,” by Crowder’s take) before landing conveniently on the stick of senior forward Matt Radoslovich alone in front of Gibson.
He wasted little time in filing the winning goal under the goalie’s left arm.
“One of our guys had fallen in the corner and allowed (Radoslovich) to be wide open in the slot,” said Gibson (30 saves). “He was smart enough to go to that position and he was fortunate to get the puck and he let it ride right away. Like all coaches say, If you get the puck you fire it as fast as you can. He did and got it just under my glove. I think (Spang) was trying to pass it there but it hit something on the way. Put it in front of the net, good things happen — obviously not for us tonight.”
For Parker, it wasn’t surprising to find Radoslovich providing the heroics by being in the right spot at the right time.
“The kid has been a great find for us,” Parker said of Radoslovich, a former walk-on. “What’s great about him, what’s absolutely great about him, is from day one he was willing to accept any role given to him. Last year he was playing first line right wing with (Brad Zancanaro) and (David Van der Gulik). Now he’s playing third line left wing.
“He’s played fourth-line center for us. He’s played second-line right wing. I think he’s played every position up front for us on every line. And all he asks is, ‘What’s my job and I’ll try to do it as thorough as I can.’ He’s one of these guys that has gotten better and better because he works harder and harder. He works harder than anybody else on our team. I’ve gotta give him a lot of credit.”
Terrier sophomore defenseman Kevin Schaeffer added an empty-net tally with 15 seconds left to seal BU’s ninth Hockey East win of the year.
“The two surprises of the league are us being 9-1 and Lowell finally getting their first win tonight,” Parker said. “I don’t mean that to disparage Lowell, I think they’re a real good team. I’m glad we’re by our games with them, we only have one game left with them, because they’re gonna beat a lot of teams. I think those two things are probably the two biggest surprises in the league. I know we were picked to finish third, but I don’t think anyone thought we’d be 9-1 right now.”
Northeastern travels to Massachusetts-Lowell Saturday night for a Hockey East contest, while Boston University will host the U.S. Under-18 team at Agganis Arena.