BOSTON, Mass. — What a difference a season makes.
The last time Boston University played Boston College, the Terriers broke open a tight game with three third-period goals to win the Hockey East semifinal. Tonight, the Eagles returned the favor, scoring a trio of goals in the final 20 minutes to beat their archival going away with a 4-1 win in front of a sellout crowd of 6,150 at Agganis Arena.
Offensively, Joe Whitney led the way with a goal and an assist for the No. 15 Eagles, though Carl Sneep’s tying goal late in the second period undoubtedly was the biggest tally of the night for BC. That said, Eagles’ goalie John Muse was the No. 1 star of the game, stopping 30 of 31 shots.
Nick Bonino scored the lone goal for the Terriers. The loss ended a 39-game unbeaten streak for BU when Bonino scored at least one point.
With two resounding road wins in two nights, Eagles’ coach Jerry York was glowing afterward.
“It was a terrific weekend for our club,” York said. “We’ve been on a little run the last three weeks; I’ve seen some improvement in a lot of different areas. But this weekend, I thought we were very solid defensively. Both goaltenders played well. Our young defensive corps made good decisions and managed the puck very well. I think that was the key to last night’s game [against UMass] but also tonight’s game. We got exceptional goaltending and managed the puck well in our own end.”
Despite the loss, Terriers’ coach Jack Parker found some consolation in the fact that his team battled much harder than they had the night before.
“Let’s start by saying that we got beat by an awfully good college hockey team tonight,” Parker said. “I thought they played extremely well. They’re very quick; they’re tenacious, and they did a great job in front of their net.
“I thought we played hard tonight; I was happy with my team’s effort. We were ready to play and more vested in the outcome. There were some good signs, but we’re a long way from being as good as they are and a long way from them in the standings.”
Both teams came out battling hard, limiting scoring chances dramatically in the early going. On their first power play, BC very nearly scored at 7:00 of the first period when Matt Lombardi found himself all alone against BU goalie Kieran Millan, only to have his backhander hit the post. BU’s best chance came on a power play as well, when Colby Cohen set up Nick Bonino for a shot in tight, only to have Muse make the save.
The Terriers came out on top at 2:10 of the second period on a harmless looking play. Bonino got the puck behind the net, shadowed by BC defensman Brian Dumoulin. The centerman cut the corner tight on the wraparound, and Muse didn’t have the side of the net secured as well as he should have. That made it 1-0 BU.
BC averted disaster on a five-on three around the eight-minute mark. Defenseman Philip Samuelsson broke his stick, and the Terriers had tons of possession time and shots, but nothing to show for it.
“It was like a shooting gallery out there,” York said.
The Eagles got a huge goal to tie it up at 17:42, when Carl Sneep sniped a shot through traffic from just inside the blue line, beating Millan high on the glove side. It was the defenseman’s sixth goal of the season. BU almost got one back within a minute, but apparently the whistle had blown before Bonino jammed it in.
With that boost, BC came out and scored on the first shift of the third period. Cam Atkinson didn’t get the goal, but looked great regardless. He shot just wide at the 17-second mark and then pinged a right-wing side shot off the post 18 seconds later. The rebound caromed out along the right-wing boards, where defenseman Edwin Shea golfed it toward the net. The puck bounced off BU captain Kevin Shattenkirk in the crease before going in.
At 5:38, BC made it 3-1 on a goal by Joe Whitney.
“I think it was a three-on-two,” Whitney said. “My brother Steve came down the right wing and drove to the net. Jimmy [Hayes] made a good drop pass, and the defenseman went with Jim. So I walked down Broadway and tucked it upstairs.”
The Eagled rounded out the scoring at 12:37 when Brian Gibbons raced in on the left wing and beat Millan with a backhander.
The disheartening loss leaves BU at 4-8-3 (2-7-2 Hockey East) with just a non-conference game with Rensselaer left before Christmas. For BC, the wins over No. 9 Massachusetts and BU should move them into the Top Ten for the first time this season at 8-3-2 (6-3-2 Hockey East). The Eagles play on the road twice next week, playing at Harvard Wednesday and Providence Saturday before having the rest of the month off.