BOSTON — For the goal judges at Agganis Arena this season, carpal tunnel syndrome is not exactly an occupational hazard.
Over the last four home games, the Terriers and their opponents have now combined for just 12 goals.
In a first this season, though, Boston University scored one more goal than its opposition and still managed to lose.
BU put the puck in its own net on a power play in the first period, and despite several good offensive opportunities for both teams, that was the one red light of the evening, as No. 7 Boston College topped No. 9 BU 1-0 in front of a sellout crowd of 6,224.
Cory Schneider stopped all 34 BU shots on goal for the Eagles, while John Curry thwarted the Eagles 22 times but couldn’t stop his teammates from putting one in as Kevin Schaeffer and Peter MacArthur prepared for a rush up-ice on the power play.
“They got the puck out of the zone on the power play, just me and Schaeffer racing back,” MacArthur said. “We started to break out; Johnny came out and passed it to Schaeff, he passed it back to me behind the net, and I tried to start the breakout to catch them on an odd-man rush.
“I just tried to take off because Danny Bertram got caught chasing behind the net. I didn’t see that Johnny wasn’t back on the net, and I just hit him in the back of the skate with the puck, popped in the air, hit him in the butt, and went right in the net. My fault.”
No one thought that the goal at 3:17 of the first period would stand up, least of all BC coach Jerry York. “When you look at the scoresheet, one-nothing, and you think, ‘Geez, a boring, defensive [game], lots of traps involved,’” York said. “But this was very exciting, up and down, lots of offense, lots of chances for both teams — crossbars, posts. We got some puck luck or otherwise we’d be going eight or nine periods with the way both goaltenders we’re playing. That was a well-played college hockey game.
“You stay in this long enough, and you see some funny bounces both for you and against you. It’s puck luck, that’s all I can say.”
For Terrier coach Jack Parker, it was the familiar scenario of his team playing hard and playing well in many ways but having little or nothing to show for it.
“Well, unfortunately, we got the only goal of the game — put it in our own net,” Parker said. “I liked how hard we played. We attempt 75 shots; they attempt 49. Power play did not produce. Extra efforts out front, extra opportunities did not produce. But I thought we had great time of possession in their zone.
“They played very well defensively — they bent but didn’t break — but I liked how we played in a whole bunch of different ways. We’ve just got to get more determined to get the puck by the goaltender.”
After the BC goal, the first period was quite even. At 9:50, Joe Rooney and Benn Ferriero raced in on a two-on-one culminating in the latter hitting a post for the Eagles. But Kenny Roche responded within a minute by hitting a crossbar for the Terriers.
Perhaps Schneider’s best save came on a Bryan Ewing shot around the 15-minute mark. “We kind of made an errant pass, and I think it was Ewing who came in and picked it off,” Schneider said. “I was able to come out a little bit and kind of saw that he was going high glove, and I was able to get a piece of it. We’d made it one-nothing at that point, so if they come back and tie it right away it kind of kills your momentum.”
Although BU had good reason to feel deflated after the first period, they came out even stronger in the second, outshooting BC 8-0 over the first ten minutes and 13-7 in the period. BC hung tough and countered at 14:27, when Nathan Gerbe blasted a shot the hit where the post meets the crossbar. Curry sprawled to stop the rebound shot.
Minutes later, Andrew Orpik set up Brian O’Hanley on an odd-man rush, but Curry stopped that one as well. Besides the failure to score, Parker’s other lament for the Terriers was the number of dumb turnovers by their blueliners. “One bad thing besides the loss here was that we gave them three or four of their best opportunities by just having complete control of the puck and stepping on it — backing up with it and losing it to ourselves, having complete control and not having to pass it to anybody and instead we pass to a guy who’s covered,” Parker said. “We gave away some opportunities, and John was there for us.”
Likewise, York had high praise for his netminder. “I thought Cory was really on top of his game this evening — similar to Wisconsin, when he went out there and gave up one goal in two games, and against Vermont,” York said. “Those are his four best games of the year.”
Scoring opportunities were tougher to come by for both teams in the third period. Both teams had nominal chances, including Brock Bradford ticking the outside of a post on a strong shot at 16:50 .
Things got really interesting on Gerbe’s one blemish in an otherwise great game. He got called for hooking with 2:07 remaining, so BC had to kill a six-on-four once Curry was pulled for the extra attacker. There was substantial pressure, but the rowdy crowd was silenced in the end.
“We pretty much had four guys out there the whole time that absolutely battled,” Schneider said. I think I only made one or two saves; everyone else was out there blocking shots. It was just amazing — they were all dead tired, and they still got it done.
BU had hoped for a little payback after losing to BC in NCAAs last year. Instead they can only hope to channel their disappointment into an even stronger effort when the teams next meet.
“We felt like we deserved to win the game; we felt like we were playing hard,” MacArthur said. “We just couldn’t get to rebounds; Schneider did a good job covering all the shots that we got from the side. He smothered everything. They had good chances with their quick forwards; I thought Bradford and Gerbe were unbelievable.”
BU (5-3-5, 3-3-4 Hockey East) hosts Providence on Friday, while BC (8-4-1, 5-2-1) goes home and home with UMass next weekend.