BOSTON, Mass — The casual fan who glances at the scores tomorrow morning might assume that this one was a bit of a laugher.
For 52 minutes, however, this game between archrivals Boston College and Boston University was a tense nail-biter.
After being deflated by a tying goal early in the third period and almost giving up a go-ahead goal over the next several minutes, No. 20 BU exploded with four goals in the game’s last eight minutes to beat No. 6 BC going away, winning 6-2 in front of a sellout crowd of 6,224 at Agganis Arena.
Brad Zancanaro notched the game-winning goal that triggered the offensive outburst with 7:54 remaining in the game, adding two assists to boot. Linemate John Laliberte matched that three-point effort, and Kenny Roche added two goals for the victors. Somewhat overlooked under the circumstances was goalie John Curry, who stopped 33 of 35 shots and played great in the face of significant Eagle pressure in the first and third periods.
Dan Bertram and Benn Ferriero scored for the Eagles.
“That was an amazing turnaround for both teams from last night,” Terrier coach Jack Parker said. “I think we gave up an average of two grade-A shots per period (last night), and they gave up an average of two grade-A shots a period, so we wound up with some real great defense out front, a lot of tight control out front, and tonight it was much more wide-open-many more shots were grade-A-so I don’t know who turned the emotions on, but that was much more like a BC-BU game. It was that way right till the very end.”
“Much like last night, I thought the game itself was very well-played, fast-paced,” Eagle coach Jerry York said, comparing tonight’s game to last night’s 2-1 win for BC. “Even more so tonight because I think Timmy Benedetto probably did the best refereeing job that I’ve seen this year from my vantage point. The players deserve a lot of credit too: There wasn’t a lot of stuff after whistles, and the play was much more five-on-five situations. I think all of us enjoy that type of game.”
On the heels of a tightly played, disappointing loss last night, BU stormed out of the gates with five of the game’s first six shots. At 2:59, 23 seconds into the Terriers’ first power play, Dan Spang took a slap shot, and Eagle goalie Cory Schneider stopped it. However, Laliberte flipped the rebound into the net with a backhander to make it 1-0.
It was all BC for the next several minutes: Amazingly, the shots went from 5-1 BU to 12-5 BC. Nonetheless, BU got a second goal at 16:12. Roche took the puck in on the left wing side before centering the puck to Peter MacArthur. The sophomore’s shot was stopped, but Roche collected the rebound and buried it.
The first period ended 2-0 BU despite the fact that BC outshot their Comm. Ave. counterparts by a 14-5 margin.
The second period was less eventful: plenty of end-to-end skating and fewer scoring chances. Things picked up in the second half of the period. Bryan Ewing fought off a defender behind the goal line to set up a BU bid at 12:20, but freshman Benn Ferriero-moved up to the first line after senior Stephen Gionta suffered an ankle sprain in Friday night’s Eagle win-got the puck on the left wing, raced in and roofed a shot to make it 2-1. It was a pretty goal and surprisingly his first collegiate tally.
With the teams playing four-on-four in the third, Gerbe took a shot that went wide, only to have Bertram collect the puck behind the goal line and carom it in off Curry at 2:34.
“It was another fluky bounce off the end boards,” Curry said. “They’ve got a few goals this year off me like that; I’ve really got to work on that. It’s tough to get back there; you’ve got to play the (initial) shot. I played the shot, and the guy kind of whiffed on it; it went off the back boards. Our defender had (Bertram) tied up pretty well; he just got his stick on it, and it went off of me and into the net.”
BC really took it to BU for the next seven minutes, culminating in a great chance for Eagle Chris Collins-the team’s leading goal scorer-at 9:30. Curry made a nice skate save on a shot ticketed for the net, setting the stage for BU’s great finish-starting with Zancanaro’s game winner at 12:06.
“Laliberte made a good play getting the puck to the front of the net,” Zancanaro said. “We said we were going to have our third forward in front of the net, so I went there. Laliberte made a great play and just threw it right at Schneider. It came off his pad and was just lying there, and I just tapped it in.”
Laliberte also got the primary assist on the next goal, less than three minutes later. He held the puck on the power play before slipping it to Jason Lawrence in the right-wing face-off circle. The shot trickled through Schneider to make it 4-2.
“We’ve got some growing pains, and I think we’ll learn from this game,” York said.
Roche sent the Agganis crowd into a white towel-twirling frenzy at 16:19, when he stole the puck in his own end and went coast to coast to beat Schneider low stick side. For an exclamation point with 46.5 ticks left, Eric Thomassian scored off of a pass from Brandon Yip to round out the scoring.
“I was wondering how we’d react once they tied it up,” Parker said. “We don’t need a tie in this game because that gives them three out of four points, and it doesn’t look too good. We don’t need to lose on our home ice, so I was wondering how we’d react. And the very shift after that, BC came out pretty good.
“But then we started turning it around, and boom, boom, boom, boom. I have no explanation for that. We haven’t been puck lucky at all; sometimes it just starts going in for you.”
“If you were one of the 14,000 people watching these games, if you weren’t a college hockey fan, you became one,” York said.
BU (5-6-2; 4-4-1 Hockey East) travels to Providence on Thursday and Dartmouth on Saturday before a lengthy break. BC (7-4-1, 6-2-1 Hockey East) plays a home-and-home series against Massachusetts before they get an identical 20 days off.