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College Hockey:
Boston University gets back to .500 by blanking Boston College

— 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.”

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  • Pgmac

    I missed the 1st period, and, as a BC fan, I couldn’t stomach watching any further after BU went up, 4-0, late in the 2nd; but here’s what I saw:

    1.  BC was very uncharacteristically tentative generally, and with puck movement specifically, which translated time and again to missed passes.

    2.  BC often failed to shoot when they had opportunities to do so; the Dumoulin example cited above was the most egregious example, but there were many others besides.  This is a trademark problem for BC, year in and year out; they recruit all kinds of offensive talent, but the the kids are generally so good that they mesmerize themselves with the quest for beautiful puck movement, often forgetting that that’s not the end objective.

    3.  When BC did shoot, they had a hard time gettng the puck on net, and not just from the blue line.  When you’re getting shut out by multiple goals well into the 2nd period, you need to realize that getting the puck on net is more important than trying to pick corners.

    4.  BC allowed BU to out hit them.  Both of these teams know by now that showing up to this rivalry leaving physicality in the locker room is like taking a knife to a gunfight.

    The flow was a little weird, too; in the time that I watched (most of the 2nd period), it almost seemed like BU was allowing BC to more or less carry the play, but BC was just so out of synch that BU’s defensive style was strangely dictating proceedings.

    Perhaps this game was bitter medicine that will do BC good; they’ve started the season off very stongly, so a little humbling might do them good in the long run.

  • leithharbour

    No magic!  1st attacking effort of the season for a normally passive Boston team.  Usually on their heels, when dealing w/ an opponent, who aggressively attacks them, this time they got out ahead of the curl.  It paid off w/ enough transition offense to ease the pressure in their “D” zone by keeping the opponent’s aggressive defense honest (tenative) throughout the game.

  • Michael Brawley

    Watched most of the first period and BC looked really lethargic, got pushed around pretty good, and their passing was terrible. Just looked really uninterested in playing hard. Whomever is responsible for the insistent use of back and forth passing on PP’s looking for just the right opening should be fired. I am tired of seeing PP’s with zero shots on net. Shoot the darn puck and play for a tip or rebound. This PP looked like the B’s last season. Ugg.