CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — For the second straight night, the No. 11 Boston College Eagles fell behind 2-0, and for the second straight night, the Eagles were able to battle back.
Unlike Friday night’s 5-4 victory over Mass.-Lowell, though, the Eagles never took the lead and after 65 hard-fought minutes for both teams, both BC and Boston University settled for a 2-2 tie.
The fact that BC earned a point after falling behind by two goals to its cross-town rival may have seemed like a silver lining, but the game likely felt like a loss when the team found out that top-line forward Brock Bradford re-broke his left humerus for the second time this season.
Bradford returned to the BC lineup on January 9 against Vermont after missing 17 games. Bradford originally injured his arm in the season opener against Michigan and seemed to be back to 100 percent since his return, registering three goals and two assists in four games.
However, while killing a penalty with less than three minutes remaining in the second, Bradford skated off the ice again holding his left arm. X-rays at nearby St. Elizabeth’s Hospital showed the bone was broken once again, this time approximately two inches higher than the original injury.
“Its a hard, hard thing to stomach,” said Eagles’ coach Jerry York, obviously dejected to once again lose to top point-scorer. Late reports said that the injury will not require surgery, but it will end the season for the talented junior.
Bradford’s injury aside, the Eagles certainly were fortunate to earn even a point. BC was outplayed by BU from the get-go and outshot 40-20 on the game.
The Terriers on the other hand, might have believed that they deserved a better fate. They were clearly the quicker team throughout the evening, winning most of the battles to loose pucks and playing a solid, physical game along the boards.
The shortcoming for BU came on special teams. The Terriers allowed two power-play goals while failing to score on seven chances with the man advantage.
“I was extremely pleased with our effort tonight,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “They got two power-play goals and we didn’t get any; that’s what hurt us.”
Both teams got solid efforts from their goaltender. BC’s John Muse (38 saves) kept the Eagles in the game throughout. BU’s Brett Bennett was called upon to make just 18 stops, but many were high-quality chances while BC was on the power play.
For Bennett, who struggled much of the first half of the season, Saturday’s tie was his third straight performance in which he played well.
“I think [Bennett's] got a lot of confidence after the last couple of games,” Parker said of the freshman netminder. “He’s played the way that we thought he would.”
For the second straight night, Boston College was dominated by its opponent in the opening period. The Terriers controlled the flow of play throughout and outshot the Eagles 16-3 in the opening stanza. The only negative for BU was that it only had a one-goal lead to show for its efforts.
The lone goal came off the stick of John McCarthy, his first of the season at 9:58. After Brian McGuirk blasted a shot that Muse saved, the rebound flew high into the air before McCarthy got a glove on the puck and almost simultaneously to it reaching the ice tapped it into the empty net for the 1-0 lead.
In the second, the Terriers continued to capitalize on the momentum. After failing to score on an extended five-on-three early in the frame, BU increased the lead at 5:37 as Bryan Ewing crashed the net after a Colin Wilson shot and poked the puck past Muse to give the Terriers a two-goal cushion.
Later in the frame, BU had a chance to deliver a crushing blow as Peter MacArthur skated in on a shorthanded two-on-one with Matt Gilroy at 9:13. Gilroy’s pass sent MacArthur in all alone but Muse made the glove save.
“I knew [Gilroy] was going to pass the puck,” said Muse of the play. “I got over and played it and he (MacArthur) kept going towards the same side.”
That save was a major momentum shift in the game that translated directly to the score sheet just seconds later. Benn Ferriero one-timed a loose puck just inside the blue line at 9:50 to get the Eagles on the board at 2-1 and ignite the sold out crowd of 7,884.
BC and Ferriero had a chance to even the game before the period ended, but the junior misfired on a breakaway with two minutes left, sending the Terriers to the third with a one-goal lead.
In the third, both teams skated with speed, but it was the Eagles who scored the equalizer, the lone goal of the period. Carl Sneep unleashed a rocket from the left point that Bennett never seemed to see, beating him glove side at 8:11.
BC had the most glaring chance to end the game in the closing minute. Joe Whitney fired wide at the right post while starring down an empty net with 14 seconds left.
The Eagles held a 4-1 advantage in shots in the extra session, but neither team had a quality scoring opportunity as the clubs settled for the draw.
The point pulls the Eagles (11-5-6, 7-3-5 Hockey East) into a tie for first place with New Hampshire, which lost a non-league contest to Dartmouth on Saturday. BU (7-11-4, 6-6-3 Hockey East) drops from a tie for fourth to fifth, a point behind Lowell, which won 4-1 over Massachusetts on Saturday.