BOSTON — Freshman Goalie Chris Rawlings shutout the defending national champions Boston University, giving the Huskies their first conference win of the season in front of a crowd of 4,666 at Matthews Arena. This was the first road game shutout for the Terriers since March 15, 2004.
Ive never experienced anything like this in my life. I cant even explain it, it was unbelievable, said Rawlings. I was thinking about it all week in practice what kind of things they do and going over stuff with my goalie coach. It was a big game and I stepped up to the challenge.
Rawlings saved 42 shots against the Terriers, who outshot the Huskies by over half, giving him his first career shutout. Despite puck domination from BU, including a 5-on-3 power play in the second period, Rawlings proved that he has what it takes to play with college hockeys elite.
Hes gotten better every game, said NU head coach Greg Cronin. Hes a super athlete and hes starting to get into a rhythm psychologically.
While Rawlings stepped up to the plate for some aggressive goaltending, NU coach Greg Cronin felt the rest of his team played intimidated. Freshman nerves were present on the ice, which according to Coach Cronin was uncharacteristic since his first year players have been performing well.
BU controlled most of the game with concise passing and great speed and took a lot of shots on the power play. Even without the help of team veterans David Warsofsky and Nick Bonino who are out on injury, they still managed to dominate the puck for most of the night. But according to Cronin, it wasnt BU who was intimidating his players.
I thought they took the game to a level we didnt really master for a good chunk of the game, said Cronin. Our guys looked nervous in front of our own crowd. Our crowd is so intimidating that I kept trying to tell them that they were cheering for us, and they should use it to motivate themselves. There wasnt a lot of snap on our part. I thought BU played a game on their toes and we played on our heels.
Neither team was able to put points on the board in the first two periods. Despite fancy stick handling and solid communication from the Terrier front line, Rawlings kept his eye on the puck snagging some great saves in his glove. At 5:39, a crosschecking penalty on BUs Joe Pereira sent Husky defenseman Mike Hewkin to the locker room with an ankle injury. The only penalties for the Huskies came from Chris Donovan for elbowing and tripping, respectively.
The Terriers came out in the second period shooting, as they attempted three times as many shots as the Huskies, yet they were still unable to score as Rawlings recorded 18 saves in the second period alone. Where both teams lacked in scoring, they made up in penalties. The Huskies sent players to the penalty box six times, giving BU a 5-on-3 advantage at one point. At 7:55, NUs Jim Driscoll and Randy Guzior and BUs Zach Cohen all served two minute penalties for hitting after the whistle.
The game shifted gears in the third period at 11:37 when BU suffered a questionable interference call sending Alex Chiasson to the penalty box for a two minute minor. One minute later, after a missed shot by Mike Hewkin, Jake Newton passed to Wade MacLeod who was able to put the only goal in the net for the night.
BU head coach Jack Parker was less than pleased with the outcome of the controversial Husky power play.
I never think the refs make the right decisions and this was a great example of it, said Parker.
Injury wasnt the only reason Mike Hewkin left the ice. At 15:51 in the third, Hewkin left the game after being charged with a five minute major penalty for hitting Alex Chiasson from behind. Hewkin was escorted off the ice for the remainder of the night for game misconduct.
With a little over four minutes left to play in the game, the Husky defense stepped up to ensure their victory. Strong defense from David Stratham in particular helped to keep the puck out of Northeastern territory. At 19:21, BU pulled their goalie in a final attempt to tie the game. A series of close shots and scrums ensued in front of Rawlings but he kept his cool.
Although the Terriers didnt record a win, the night wasnt a complete bust. Improved shooting and passing has them going on the right track to improve their record.
I thought Kevin Shattenkirk and Colby Cohen played their best games of the year tonight, said Parker. We were focused and we played harder. The way we played last Saturday night and the way we played tonight was like night and day. Tonight we looked like we were really ready to play.
The Huskies will look to keep their momentum going tomorrow night against cross-town rivals Boston College in Chestnut Hill. The Terriers will try and turn their luck around against Maine on Sunday afternoon.