CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — The Boston College Eagles entered the weekend with the chance to write a Hollywood-like story for head coach Jerry York, who was one win shy of tying and two wins away from passing legendary coach Ron Mason for the most all-time wins and facing heated rival Boston University.
After a lackluster effort, though, on Friday night in which the Terriers took a 4-2 victory at home, the Eagles left no doubt on Saturday night, scoring four times on the power play in a 5-2 rout of the Terriers.
With York tying Mason’s mark of 924 wins, he can now take the top spot on the all-time list next Friday when the Eagles travel to Providence.
“Compared to last night’s effort, we were smarter and our effort was better,” said York. “We were just that much better than we played last night – whether it was loose pucks, goaltending or special teams.”
Special teams – particularly the power play – were the story on Saturday. A night after being limited to an irrelevant six-on-three power-play goal in the game’s closing seconds, the Eagles connected on four of their first five attempts, peppering the BU net with shot after shot from everywhere and anywhere.
“I don’t know if we did anything different, but we all got pucks to the net, which coaches stress,” said Bill Arnold, whose second power-play unit scored three goals on Saturday, two coming from his stick. “We got some gritty goals.”
The game’s major turning point, not surprisingly, involved power plays. It came late in the second period with the Terriers trailing, 2-1. BU’s Evan Rodrigues was sent on a breakaway from the red line and, after making a move to catch BC’s netminder Parker Milner (21 saves) out of position, Rodrigues lifted the shot wide of the net.
Just 10 seconds later, Wade Megan picked up a tripping penalty and 18 seconds after that, defenseman Alexx Privitera got a bit aggressive on the penalty kill and hauled down a BC player, drawing a holding penalty.
With an extended five-on-three for 1:42, the Eagles’ power play went to work. Rookie Mike Matheson blasted a howitzer from the right point past BU netminder Matt O’Connor (31 saves) at 15:48.
And 50 seconds later, Arnold lifted a rebound over O’Connor to give BC a 4-1 lead, from which the Eagles never looked back.
“Those two goals ended the game,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “Up until that point, I really liked the way we were playing.”
The Eagles controlled the game’s opening period, outshooting BU 13-7, but had to settle for a 1-1 deadlock through the first 20 minutes.
It looked like Johnny Gaudreau had potted an early goal, firing a puck into a empty net at 8:00. The reason the net was empty, though, is because Steven Whitney was interfering with O’Connor, a fact that was confirmed by video review forcing the officials to disallow the goal.
“We were prepared either way,” said York about the video replay. “The disallowed goal did not take any jump from our game.”
In fact, BC still drew first blood on the power play at 10:40. Kevin Hayes made a series of moves through the slot in an attempt to get off a shot. The puck instead deflected off a BU defender and right to rookie defenseman Teddy Doherty at the left post, who promptly buried his first career goal.
BU answered, though, with a power-play tally of its own. Sophomore Cason Hohmann took a nifty feed from Sahir Gill and fired his fourth goal of the year into an empty net at 12:52.
As the first period expired, BU’s Yasin Cisse was called for interference, giving BC its second power play to begin the second. Looking like the Terriers has successfully killed the penalty, the Eagles struck with just one second left on the man advantage as Arnold scored his first of the game, banking a rebound off O’Connor at 1:59 to give BC the 2-1 lead.
After the Eagles struck twice late in the second to open up the 4-1 lead, BC’s Brendan Silk scored his first career goal at 4:16 of the third. Rodrigues fired home a power-play tally with 6:58 left, but that was as close as the Terriers would get.
The Terriers drop to 8-5-0 on the season (6-4-0 Hockey East) and remain in third place, six points behind the first-place Eagles.
BC improves to 11-2-0 (9-2-0 Hockey East) and now can move forward to Friday’s game at Providence, where once again the spotlight will shine on York as he looks to hold the all-time wins record to himself.