BOSTON — It was the second night of a home-and-home series between the No. 1 Boston University Terriers (23-5-3, 14-5-3 HEA) and the No. 4 Northeastern Huskies (20-8-4, 15-5-3 HEA) and just like Friday night, 65 minutes was not enough hockey to bring out a winner, as the teams tied for the second straight night, this time 1-1.
Both netminders Brad Thiessen for Northeastern and Kieran Millan for BU made spectacular saves throughout the game to keep the scoring low. Thiessen made 25 saves on 26 shots while Millan made 31 saves of his own.
The first two periods were a back and forth affair, but neither team was able to gain an advantage and after 40 minutes of hockey the game was tied at zero. Penalties were plenty, with 14 being called in the first two frames, yet neither team could convert.
BU opened the scoring at the 7:39 mark of the third period when Matt Gilroy scored a short-handed goal, giving the Terriers the first lead of the game. Gilroy came in with Nick Bonino on a rare short-handed two-on-one. Bonino was driven to the outside by Northeastern defenseman J.P. Maley, but was able to float a pass to Gilroy, who was trailing down the center of the ice alone. Thiessen had followed Bonino to the far side post and did not have enough reaction time to get back in front to make the save on Gilroy.
“Nick made a great move; I don’t know how he got it across to me, but I was wide open so just put it in the open net, great play by Nick,” said Matt Gilroy about his goal.
Northeastern played the next ten minutes of the game a goal down before adding the equalizer at 17:39 of the third. Steve Quailer scored his eighth goal of the season from right in the slot after receiving a pass from Joe Vitale from down low. Much like the BU goal earlier, Millan was hugging the post, leaving him out of position for a pass to the middle.
“Joe threw it at the net, and it squeaked through, it just kind of popped out to me so I slapped it in,” said Steve Quailer after the game.
The two teams battled through the rest of the penalty-filled third period without either squad being able to put the game winner in. A hooking penalty was called on Brian Strait with only 1:08 left in the game, and the Huskies set the power-play up, but were turned away each time by Millan.
Thanks to the Strait penalty, the Huskies started overtime with a power play but were unable to convert once again.
Northeastern got one more shot on the man advantage for the last 1:04 of the game after Brandon Yip was issued a five-minute major and a game misconduct for checking-for-behind, but in what was a trend all night long, the Huskies could not score on the man advantage.
Both coaches were reserved after the game, seeming to settle for the point, but both feeling they had a chance to win.
“I’d say these teams are real close; I didn’t think last night’s game was anywhere near as exciting, anywhere near as well played as this game,” BU coach Jack Parker noted.
“What do you say about that game; it was an incredibly emotional game,” Northeastern coach Greg Cronin said. “If you were going to say Northeastern was going to have ten power-plays and BU was going to have nine, and neither one of them would score, I would say it would be the most bizarre game you would ever see.”
Both BU captain Matt Gilroy and NU captain Joe Vitale spent a lot of the game talking to the refs about the abundance of calls.
“It was an emotional game,” said BU captain Matt Gilroy. “The refs called it real tight; they called a ton of penalties and wouldn’t let us go. I think [Joe Vitale] was frustrated like me. We just wanted to play.”
BU remains a point behind the Northeastern with two weekends left in the Hockey East regular season. BU will try and make that point up starting with UMass next weekend while the Huskies try and maintain their lead in a home-and-home with UMass-Lowell. BU does control the first Hockey East tiebreaker due to their 1-0-2 record against the Huskies in HEA games during the season.