BOSTON — Boston College outplayed archrival Boston University thoroughly as a team Friday night, but it was Eagles’ junior Johnny Gaudreau’s individual effort that will stick in the memory banks more than anything.
Gaudreau factored in the first three BC goals, including two spectacular assists, to lead the Eagles to a resounding 5-1 win in front of a sellout crowd of 6,150 at Agganis Arena.
Seniors Bill Arnold and Kevin Hayes added a goal and assist apiece for the Eagles, while goaltender Thatcher Demko (22 saves) remains unbeaten in his collegiate career at 3-0-1.
“I thought we got outstanding goaltending from Thatcher Demko,” BC coach Jerry York said. “I thought our ability to defend on the penalty kill was partly Thatcher, but also blocking shots and making good plays. And then the leadership and the play of our top guys – Billy, Kevin Hayes, Johnny Gaudreau – they were real leaders for us tonight.”
Meanwhile, BU really only looked good on the power play, where the Terriers mustered their only goal and notched 17 of their 23 shots – meaning they managed a meager six even-strength shots in a little over 47 minutes of play Friday.
“We don’t shoot the puck enough – we don’t have the shooter’s mentality,” first-year BU coach David Quinn said.
That was far from the Terriers’ only problem, however.
“I think the score was indicative of the way the game was played,” Quinn said. “That’s a really good hockey team we just played – a lot of depth up front, good defense, very good goaltending. I just thought they beat us in all facets of the game. I certainly don’t think I did a good job of coaching our team or preparing them for tonight, so we have to go back to the drawing board and go to Maine Friday and try to win a hockey game.”
Quinn added that the game was far from what the rivalry between the cross-town schools is all about.
BC scored midway through the first period when Gaudreau found freshman Austin Cangelosi with a terrific back-door pass, leaving Cangelosi all alone with BU goalie Matt O’Connor where Cangelosi had ample time to pick a spot and bury the puck.
Just over two minutes later, it was 2-0 BC as BU forward Mike Moran had the puck on his stick, but couldn’t clear it, and the puck went to Arnold, who teed up Gaudreau for a pretty one-timer from close range for the goal.
BC spent much of the second period in the penalty box and BU responded with its only good period and only goal. On a power play, Nick Roberto redirected a Robbie Baillageron shot past Demko.
BC responded with a highlight-reel goal at 7:41, just a couple of ticks after a power play expired.
BU co-captain Garrett Noonan had broken his stick and Gaudreau responded by skating right around him as he slid. Gaudreau sold the idea of a wraparound shot, and O’Connor looked over his left shoulder in anticipation. Instead, he slipped a behind-the-back pass to Arnold, who shot into a half-empty net with O’Connor still looking back at Gaudreau.
“I think he’s probably the only player I’ve ever played with who would know to not shoot that on a mini-breakaway there, take it behind the net, curl, and throw it back out,” Arnold said. “It was the easiest goal you’re ever going to score. It was just a tremendous play by him.
“He’s dangerous from everywhere. It’s a ton of fun to play with him.”
Quinn was equally impressed with Gaudreau.
“He’s a guy who can create an awful lot of offense,” Quinn said. “If you go to him and you don’t have 100 percent intent to play the body, you’re going to pay the price. For a guy his size, he does an unbelievable job of protecting the puck.”
BC rounded out the scoring with two third-period goals. Kevin Hayes and Ryan Fitzgerald scored on a bang-bang give-and-go play and Hayes then fired a blind backhanded pass into the slot, where Destry Straight fetched it and skated through a few listless BU defenders to tuck in a goal.
BC now owns a 10-3-1 record in Agganis Arena since the building opened in 2005, while BU has a 6-5-1 record at BC in that same timespan.
“That’s an interesting dynamic to the series,” York said.