BOSTON — You might feel a little sorry for the fan who decided to hit the concession stand halfway through the first period tonight, as the only two goals of the game were scored in a 19-second span during that timeframe.
Then again, the other 59 minutes and 41 seconds featured some of the most competitive and entertaining play that youre likely to see in a pre-January college hockey game.
No. 2 Boston College and No. 7 Boston University battled to a 1-1 tie in a game loaded with scoring chances, missed nets, hit posts, fantastic saves, physical play, and a great atmosphere in front of 6,221 fans at Agganis Arena. BC sophomore goalie John Muse was the standout among many excellent performances, making 35 saves. BU freshman Kieran Millan stopped 21 shots for the Terriers, who also got a goal from co-captain John McCarthy. Brock Bradford scored the BC goal.
I thought it was a fabulous college hockey game, Terrier coach Jack Parker said. Great game to watch, great game to be involved in”crowd was great, crowd was into it. In reality it shouldve been 5-5 instead of 1-1. There were so many great chances; it wasnt like there was nothing happening out there. Goalies played great. Guys had great opportunities and missed nets. So, that being said, its nice to go right back at it tomorrow night.
This is the third straight overtime game between BC and BU, Eagle coach Jerry York said. I think that reflects the similarities between the two teams in terms of level of play plus the intensity of the rivalry. I thought it was a terrific hockey game tonight from our vantage point to watch.
BU freshman Chris Connolly had the first golden opportunity of the night at 9:30 of the first period. Connolly picked up the fat rebound of a Vinny Saponari shot but shot it wide of an empty net.
The Terriers took the lead 11:09 on a delayed penalty call. Brandon Yip raced in on the right wing and then curled back to fire a backhanded pass toward the crease for a highlight-reel goal on a tip-in by McCarthy. Johnny made a good outlet pass to me on the far side, Yip said. I took it wide, and I think it was [Nick] Petrecki who had a pretty good gap on me. I just made a tight turn, and ten out of ten times Johnnys going to the net, so I just placed it somewhere near there, and thankfully he found it.
Nineteen seconds later, BC tied it. After receiving a cross-ice pass from Brian Gibbons in the defensive end, Brock Bradford raced in on the left wing and beat Millan with a glove-side shot.
With the help of three BC penalties, BU dominated the second period, outshooting the Eagles by a 14-4 margin. I think we need to play more disciplined at home, York said. I didnt like the penalty situation tonight. The refs did a good job; weve got to cut down on the penalties.
At 3:40, Joe Pereira got the puck in the left-wing corner and hit Matt Gilroy crashing the net for a good chance. Then Colby Cohen fired a 100-foot pass from his own end to Pereira coming off the bench for a breakaway at 5:55, only to have the winger shoot high.
With BC shorthanded and Petrecki without a stick, Chris Higgins had a great rebound chance at 11:40 but couldnt capitalize. The goaltenders made some spectacular saves, York said. I thought Johnny in particular was the sharpest hes been all year.
Nick Bonino almost scored a few minutes later with Muse down, but his shot caromed off a defenseman. Then, on another Terrier power play at 16:50, Kevin Shattenkirk laced a pass from the left point to Higgins at the far post. He was behind Muse but managed to hit the opposite post with the net open.
At 5:45 of the third period, it was dj vu for Higgins. He picked up the rebound of a Shattenkirk shot and hit the post again, low on the stick side. Terrier frosh Corey Trivino then had a decent chance for his first collegiate goal off the rebound of a Kevin Shattenkirk shot at the nine-minute mark.
Kieran Millan made his best save of the game at 9:35, when freshman Cam Atkinson came in on a two-on-one and opted to shoot. It was ticketed for the net, but Millan snared the puck with a dramatic glove save to keep it tied.
Ultimately the game went to overtime, the first extra frame for BU this year. BC dominated territorially for much of it, then BU pressed hard in the last 20 seconds without being able to score.
Weve had four straight great periods of hockey, going back to the third period of the St. Lawrence game, Parker said. If we can match that focus and energy, more often than not were going to win hockey games.
BU (9-4-1, 4-4-1 Hockey East) and BC (9-4-2, 5-3-2) face off again at Chestnut Hill on Saturday. As their records and tonights game indicate, there is not much separating the two teams.
I liked everybody on both teams, Parker said. I thought both teams played hard. I thought both teams played smart. It was a fast-paced game some guys showing off their abilities. And I thought the referees did a good job. So its halftime. We go back and play tomorrow.