BOSTON — It was yet another hard-hitting game typical of the two cross-town rivals and for Northeastern’s seniors, it was also their last home game of the year.
But while the Huskies gave it their all hoping to end the year in a positive way, Friday’s game capped a rough season on Huntington Avenue.
Boston University used two third-period goals to defeat Northeastern 4-2 in front of 2,987 at Matthews Arena.
“I thought it was a really good college hockey game,” BU coach Jack Parker noted. “Northeastern has done nothing but play us hard all year. They certainly did the first two games and did again tonight.”
The loss adds another sting for the Huskies who, despite mounting injuries and a last-place finish, desperately wanted to send their graduating players off with a win at home.
“[We] wanted to go out on a good note for them,” Northeastern coach Jim Madigan said. “Each of them worked hard for four years, competed, and did it again tonight.”
It was a rebound gone awry from Chris Rawlings (33 saves) that created BU’s first goal. At 12:19 into the first period, Ryan Santana wristed the puck through traffic, pinballing off Rawlings’ pads right back in front to senior Jake Moscatel, who potted his first career goal.
Moscatel might be the epitome of a journeyman at the college level. A transfer from Division III University of New England, he started last season on BU’s club team, then got the call-up to the big club when Charlie Coyle left the program in December 2011.
“He’s one of our most improved players,” Parker said. “He was always dying to come to BU – his father used to work here, his grandfather had season tickets – he was always a BU fan. We’re very happy to have him and we’re happy it’s working out for him. It’s obviously working out for us.”
Wade Megan doubled the lead minutes later, firing a wrist-shot that audibly knocked off Rawlings’ pad, but trickled through the five hole and over the goal line to make it 2-0.
The Huskies got a lift in the closing seconds of the period when Cody Ferriero rushed over the BU blue line virtually untouched to wrist the puck short-side past freshman Sean Maguire (31 saves) with just 1.2 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to 2-1.
The Terriers counterpunched Northeastern’s momentum well in the third period with two quick strikes.
The first came from Danny O’Regan in transition with a late redirection on a Matt Nieto feed, the second from Matt Lane, who walked down to the goal line unabated and ripped the puck top shelf past Rawlings to make it 4-1, giving the Terriers all they would need to hang on for the win.
“We continue giving up one to two goals a game where we just have breakdowns,” Madigan said. “At this stage where our team is, we just can’t afford to give the opposition easy goals.”
The win gave the Terriers a fighting chance at a home ice berth in the Hockey East playoffs next week, needing another win over Northeastern tomorrow night, and for Providence to lose in order to clinch a top-four seed. That said, BU will have to do it without defenseman Garrett Noonan, who suffered a separated shoulder after being slammed into the boards in the first period.