CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — The Boston University Terriers entered Sunday desperately in need of a win.
And there’s nothing like a drubbing of your archrival to satisfy that need.
The No. 16 Terriers (4-4-1, 3-3-1 Hockey East) got balanced scoring from their top three lines, solid performances on special teams and a 21-save shutout from goaltender Kieran Millan to beat No. 2 Boston College (9-3-0, 7-2-0 Hockey East), 5-0, in front of a sellout crowd of 7,884 at Kelley Rink.
BU scored early – the Terriers netted a goal in their first shift – and often, tallying two in each of the first two periods and a single goal in the third to earn the victory.
“Getting the first goal in a game like this is huge,” said BU’s Wade Megan, who paced the BU offense with two goals. “We were able to build off that and just didn’t stop. We didn’t get complacent. We just kept coming at them.”
The shutout is Millan’s seventh of his career and second of the season after blanking New Hampshire, 5-0, on opening night. Needing to make just 21 saves made the game seem routine for the senior, but especially early, he had to be solid to hold BC at bay.
It was remarkably the first time the Terriers have shutout the Eagles in the history of Hockey East, the last BU shutout of BC coming on March 1, 1983, when both teams were members of the ECAC.
“I didn’t know that, that’s kind of neat, I guess,” said Millan of the milestone shutout. “At the same time, that’s a full team effort. People were starting to doubt us a bit, maybe even ourselves, but after that game, it’s pretty clear that if we come to play we can beat anybody.”
Possibly the most impressive aspect of Sunday’s game for the Terriers came shorthanded. Entering the game just 80.4 percent on the penalty kill, the Terries held BC, which came into Sunday with the sixth-ranked power play in the nation, off the board in all seven attempts. Adding insult, Megan scored his second goal of the game with 1:38 remaining while the Terriers were shorthanded, putting a bow on the final.
“The game changer was we killed the [three] penalties in the first period,” said BU head coach Jack Parker. “If we give up a couple, we’re back on our heels. Special teams were the difference because we got two power-play goals and a shorthanded goal.”
BU owned the opening two periods, possibly not territorially, but certainly on the scoreboard, building a 4-0 lead through 40 minutes.
The Terriers got first-period goals from Corey Trivino, who finished off a 3-on-2 rush just 54 seconds into the game, and Megan, who buried a wraparound goal over Parker Milner’s left pad on the power play in the closing minute of the frame.
The Eagles had ample opportunities to tie things early in the second but patience, which was rewarded in BC’s 2-1 win over Northeastern on Friday, hurt the club two days later.
Brian Dumoulin, who patiently drew the defense to feed Tommy Cross on Friday’s game-winner over Northeastern with 2.8 seconds remaining, elected to pass on a 4-on-1 shorthanded break at 8:03, the result of the play a block by BU’s Sahir Gill sending the puck out of play.
A minute and a half later, BC broke again shorthanded, this time 3-on-0 only to have Barry Almeida feed defenseman Patch Alber, who fired two feet wide on the shot.
“When the puck is in that grade A – from the net out to the tops of the circles – that’s a pretty good chance to score the goal,” said BC head coach Jerry York. “You might get a better chance if you move the puck in that area, but it might not be a completed pass, it might get intercepted, it might not result in a shot.
“So I think we have to address grade A opportunities. When we get them, let’s shoot the puck.”
BU capitalized on the Eagles’ missed opportunities.
Alex Chiasson buried a blast from the left point while 5-on-3 at 9:58. Then Matt Nieto caught the Eagles defense sleeping and one-timed home a centering pass from Charlie Coyle at 15:43 for a 4-0 lead.
Megan’s second of the game in the closing minutes closed out the scoring.
“BU outworked us,” said York. “They won a lot a lot of loose puck battles and that’s not a good recipe if you want to win a game.”