CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — It may have taken 45 days, but when Boston University can beat its archrival Boston College on the road, it’s worth the wait.
More than six weeks after a Dec. 1 game between BC and BU was postponed due to poor ice conditions at BC’s Kelley Rink, the Terriers used two goals from junior winger Pete MacArtuhr and a stellar 32-save performance from goaltender John Curry to beat the Eagles, 4-1, in the makeup of the original game.
The victory extended BU’s winning streak to five games and its unbeaten streak to eight, while Boston College lost its third straight for the first time this season.
Though on paper Wednesday’s game was the second between the two teams this season, it was the third time that the clubs donned the pads versus one another. The opening game of the series took place at BC when temperatures in Boston reached unseasonably high temperatures in early December, creating a massive fog cloud that hovered above the ice, forcing referee Scott Hansen to call the still-scoreless game at the 10:21 mark of the first period.
BC defeated the Terriers, 1-0, at BU’s Agganis Arena the following night when MacArthur accidentally knocked the game’s only goal into his own team’s net. His two goals on Wednesday, one of which was the game winner, were certainly a form of redemption.
“I guess I can say I’ve scored the game winner in each of the two games versus BC this year,” joked MacArthur. The junior’s two tallies, both of which came in the first period, were his 10th and 11th of the season and were part of his fourth multi-goal game of the year.
Defensively, both teams limited grade ‘A’ scoring chances, but when there was a breakdown, Curry stood extremely tall in the nets for BU.
“Curry played really well again,” said BU coach Jack Parker, whose record against Boston College improved to 68-50-10 all-time. “It’s like Groundhog Day with him.
“The guys in front of [Curry] don’t get jumpy because they don’t pay for mistakes that they make. [The mistakes] don’t look bad because it doesn’t end up on the scoresheet too often.”
Special teams played a major role in Wednesday’s game, as BU scored twice in seven chances on the power play and kept the Eagles off the board in six tries. The only special-teams light for BC came in the opening minute of the second period when Nathan Gerbe scored the Eagles’ lone goal on a shorthanded breakaway.
“The penalty kill was probably was the best part of our game tonight,” said Parker, “and we got two power-play goals ourselves, which is nice.”
The Terriers quieted the near-capacity crowd of 7,288 early thanks to the stick of MacArthur. At 9:55 of the first, he got BU on the board lifting a shot of BC goaltender Cory Schneider (18 saves) just a split-second after he’d fanned on his original attempt.
At 13:37 , MacArthur doubled the BU lead, firing a shot short side on Schneider from the top of the right faceoff circle.
“Cory for sure would like to have that back again,” said BC coach Jerry York of what amounted to the game-winning goal. “He got turned a little bit off his angle and he wasn’t square to the puck.”
The only goal of the second came off Gerbe’s stick just 54 seconds into the frame when he picked the pocket of Brandon Yip at the right point and skated in alone, beating Curry between the legs to bring the BC crowd back to life.
The Eagles had what seemed like infinite chances to tie the game thanks in part to four power plays in the second period. Joe Rooney deflected a pass just wide of the right post when staring down a wide open net at 10:47. And Gerbe was robbed from nearly the same spot when Curry moved from his right to left at 18:22.
In the third, the Eagles continued to pressure and senior Brian Boyle appeared to have the tying goal on his stick in the opening minute. Somehow, though, he pushed the puck wide of the right post with Curry out of position.
With the Eagles still pressuring offensively, Curry made a blast from the point off the stick of Brett Motherwell look like a routine save, and Yip along with center Chris Higgins, started a two-on-one rush the other way. After Higgins’ shot was saved by Schneider, the sophomore didn’t give up and instead threw a shot from the right corner towards the net that hit the right post, then Schneider’s left skate and eventually squeaked over the goal line.
After Curry again quelled numerous BC flurries in front, Jason Lawrence added a goal with 1:59 remaining to spell lights out for the Eagles.
The loss was the third in a row for BC, the first time it has lost three straight since February 13-19, 2006. The frustrating point, York says, is his team’s inability to put pucks in the back of the net.
“We really created some terrific offensive chances and we weren’t able to bury pucks,” York said. “It’s something that’s starting to concern us.”
BU, as it does most seasons, seems to be hitting its stride just in time for the Beanpot, which begins in less than 12 days, and more importantly in the midst of a tough stretch. Because Wednesday night was a rescheduled game, both teams are stuck playing five games in the span of nine days.
“It’s a tough stretch for us — three [games] in four [days] and five in nine,” said Parker. “But getting the first three [wins in that stretch] is pretty good.”
BC and BU will meet for the final time in league play Friday night at Agganis Arena.