BOSTON — The Boston University Terriers with the third seed in the Hockey East playoffs and in doing so eliminated the Northeastern University Huskies from playoff contention after defeating the Huskies 4-3 in a battle at Matthews Arena in front of a crowd of 3,165 Saturday night. Kevin Gilroy had the winning goal for the Terriers while NUs Kyle Kramer notched two goals.
Would you believe that, said BU Head Coach Jack Parker. I would believe how hard we played tonight. I would believe how well we played tonight. I wouldnt believe two weeks ago that we were going to end up in third place in Hockey East. It was a heck of a weekend for us.
The Huskies took the ice on a mission to clinch a playoff spot, and their aggressiveness paid off early on. Less than two minutes into the first, Wade MacLeod sent a hard shot from the hash marks in the left circle on a pass from Garrett Vermeersch to put the Huskies up 1-0. The goal marked MacLeods 14th of the season, and Vermeersch his 17th assist.
Kraemer picked up a slashing penalty in the middle of the period. Less than a minute after the penalty expired, the Terriers tied the game at 1-1 after a fortuitous shot for Nick Bonino made contact with both NU defenders and snuck past Chris Rawlings. Colby Cohen and Chris Connolly both picked up assists on the play.
With a little less than seven minutes left in the first, Eric Gryba was sent off for elbowing. Less than a minute later, Kraemer, the Huskies leading scorer, picked up a power play goal, after firing home the rebound of a missed shot from Jake Newton. Garrett Vermeersch picked up his second helper of the night while Kraemer extended his stats to 16 goals.
Seven minutes into the second period, BU knotted the game again. Sean Escobedo passed to Vinny Saponari, who was posted behind the net. Saponari then passed to Zach Cohen who sent a shot past Rawlings from right in front of the net. The goal was the 15th of the season for Cohen.
BUs defense did an excellent job blocking shots in their defensive zone, keeping the Huskies to just three shots on goal for the second. Meanwhile, their offense stepped up big time outshooting the Huskies 33-12 after two. Still the teams headed to the third deadlocked at 2.
BUs shooting gallery, though, paid off early on in the third period as Alex Chiasson notched the third goal for his Terriers and seventh goal for himself a little over one minute into the period. Connolly tallied his second assist for the night on the play.
The Terriers first lead of the game was short-lived. Nearly four minutes into the period, Ryan Santana was sent off the ice for BU on a tripping call. Just 15 seconds later, Kraemer struck again, picking up his second power play goal of the night.
Newton passed to Wade MacLeod from the top of the circles, who then passed across the width of the ice to find the senior ace posted just outside the right circle. The slap shot barely found the top of the net, sneaking past BU goalie Kieran Millan and tying the game at 3.
The go-ahead goal for the Terriers came from Gilroy came with six minutes left to play. According to Parker, the fact that Gilroy was even on the ice was amazing as the sophomore had a cracked rib after Fridays contest against the Huskies and was questionable to play Saturday.
But Gilroys goal would be the necessary tool to end the Huskies season.
Its a tough way to end, said Huskies head coach Greg Cronin. For us, it was a constant battle to stay healthy. If its any consolation, we were nose to nose with every team. We just came up a goal short with every game we lost. Its kind of tragic for the seniors that they wont get a chance to play in the playoffs, but we have to give the other teams credit.
BU will host Merrimack in the Hockey East Quarterfinals starting on March 12th.