BOSTON, Mass. — Boston College scored just 40 seconds into the game tonight, but it was all downhill for the Eagles after that.
After spotting a goal against their archrivals, No. 2 Boston University bounced back with five unanswered goals, including four power-play tallies, en route to a 5-2 win over No. 12 Boston College in front of a sellout crowd of 6,221 at Agganis Arena.
One night after being benched by coach Jack Parker due to a lack of defensive focus, blueliner Colby Cohen went from doghouse to top dog, earning top star honors with a goal and an assist on top of a solid showing in his own end. Freshman David Warsofsky added three assists for the victors, while BC netminder John Muse kept the Eagles in the game despite lopsided shot totals, stopping 41 shots.
After a first period in which BU trailed 1-0 despite outshooting BC by a whopping 18-6 margin, Parker acknowledged that he worried that Muse would continue to stand on his head and win a 1-0 game.
That fear was laid to rest with three goals over the next 20 minutes.
“Obviously, we got untracked in the second period,” Parker said. “Our power play was great. Our penalty killing was great. We had a lot of legs, and I thought it was our best game of the year the way we moved the puck through center ice, kept the pressure on with team speed because we were moving the puck so well. When you move the puck as well as we did tonight, you look a lot faster.”
Boston College is now winless since November 30, going 0-4-2 during that span.
“Cleary, BU is a very, very good hockey team,” BC coach Jerry York said. “They were much better than we were during the course of the 60 minutes here. That being said, I don’t think that we’ve played our best in the recent stretch we’ve been on. We’re in a funk, there’s no question, these last three or four weeks.
“We’re just a step behind the play. We’ve just got to play at quicker tempo, defensively and offensively. That’s our trademark, quick and fast.”
BU got a lift before the game even began. In last night’s game, Terriers’ seniors Matt Gilroy and Chris Higgins were injured by brutal hits from behind that left Parker livid when the officials failed to call major penalties against Merrimack. Higgins suffered a concussion while Gilroy suffered a dislocated shoulder as well as bruises to the chest. Though Higgins was out tonight and is questionable for next weekend, Gilroy surprisingly was able to play and performed quite well.
“I was concerned about Matt Gilroy after he got hammered last night, whether he’d be able to play and how well he’d be able to play because I thought that this would be a physical game,” Parker said. “I thought he played great.”
It didn’t look so great in the opening minute for the Terriers. Jason Lawrence got called for interference in the offensive end and BC took all of ten seconds to capitalize on the power play. Brock Bradford took a shot from the right point and Benn Ferriero buried the rebound.
After that though, BU dominated the period. Muse waited out Zach Cohen on a good chance at 2:20, and then the BC sophomore made a nice glove save on Brian Strait at 8:45. Ferriero had a good bid for BC at the 13-minute mark, but otherwise the Eagles mustered very little in the way of an attack except for a really good shift with two minutes left in the period.
Meanwhile, Muse made a terrific save at 16:20 when Colin Wilson slipped a last-second pass across the crease for the tap-in bid by Lawrence, only to have the goalie make the great pad save and then see Wilson’s rebound attempt pop up on top of the net. BU came right back with several more chances in a scrum seconds later, but Muse covered it.
A BU power play that carried over into the second period set the stage for the equalizer when John McCarthy fed it to David Warsofsky for a cross-ice pass followed by a one-timer by Nick Bonino that ticked the post on the way into the net.
“We were moving the puck around well,” Warsofsky said. “We knew that BC was going to pressure a lot on the power play. The quicker we moved, we figured the more likely we would be to find some open lanes. I think it was John who got the puck to me at the point, and I found Nick across the slot, and he buried it.”
Another nice pass led to the second BU goal. At the tail end of another power play, Jason Lawrence got the puck in the left-wing corner and fired it to Colby Cohen at the far point. Cohen’s slap shot found the net high on Muse’s stick side at 8:04.
“It was a good feeling,” Cohen said of his great night after being a healthy scratch. “Obviously, it’s no fun to watch. It felt good to go out and help the team win.”
Colin Wilson and Zach Cohen had some good chances later in the period, but a great individual effort by Vinny Saponari finally made it 3-1 BU at 18:16. Muse had the puck on his stick and attempted to dump it behind the net, but he put it right on the stick of Saponari, who went for the wraparound. Muse got his skate over to make the initial save, but Saponari flipped the rebound in high before the goalie could cover the whole side of the net.
Terriers’ goalie Kieran Millan made a great save on a subsequent scramble by BC, and that kept the two-goal cushion intact going into the third period.
Senior co-captain John McCarthy had a pair of short-handed chances early in the final frame, and the second one led to yet another BU power play. Wilson set up Colby Cohen at the left point for a shot that Muse stopped, but Kevin Shattenkirk collected the rebound and roofed it with a backhander for a goal to put the game out of reach.
“Everyone was unselfish, and the puck was moving,” Gilroy said of the Terriers’ power play success tonight.
Gilroy made it 5-1 with a slap shot during a five-on-three in the last two minutes, and Cam Atkinson followed 30 seconds later with a short-handed breakaway and a goal for BC, but it was all academic at that point.
“Overall, it was as solid as you can get, especially against your archrival,” Parker said.
BU (16-5-1, 9-5-1 Hockey East) plays New Hampshire in a home-and-home series next weekend, while BC ((9-8-3, 5-7-3 HE) hosts Maine for a pair.