CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Boston College and Boston University came into their 264th all-time contest going in different directions, and kept going that way.
With a 6-4 win, BC extended its unbeaten streak to eight games (7-0-1), while BU’s winless drought stretched to seven (0-6-1).
The victory marked the 950th in BC coach Jerry York’s career.
The nation’s leading goal scorer, Johnny Gaudreau, scored twice, including an empty-netter, but arguably the fourth line of freshmen Adam Gilmour and Chris Calnan along with sophomore Brendan Silk led the offense. Gilmour scored his first of the game late in the first period to knot the score at 1-1. Then in the third, after BU had narrowed the margin to 3-2, Calnan and then Gilmour gave the Eagles the cushion they needed.
BC scored on its only two power-play opportunities, and thanks to a raft of third-period penalties, had to kill five-of-six BU man-advantage chances.
“Our game was pushed by Adam’s line,” York said. “They were outstanding tonight. They’ve come together, three big kids. They did a lot of positive, positive things.
“Our power play and penalty kill were also very good tonight. They had to be.”
Gilmour’s two goals were his third and fourth of the year. Calnan’s was his third.
“I owe pretty much everything I did on the scoring to Brandon and Chris,” Gilmour said.
While BU once again failed to pick up its first win since Nov. 30, first-year coach David Quinn still saw the game as a positive.
“We took a big step in the right direction,” he said. “We competed more than we had been in this stretch when we’ve been struggling. You get down 5-2 to that team and you could pack it in easily, but we made a game of it.
“Anytime you face [BC], you have to be on your ‘A’ game. Their power play was the difference.”
BU got off on the right foot when midway through the first period, Robbie Baillargeon sniped a wrister from the left faceoff dot into the upper far corner. It was the freshman’s sixth goal.
The lead held until the closing minute of the period. From the left point on a power play, Teddy Doherty found Gilmour on the doorstep and the freshman stuffed it around BU netminder Sean Maguire to tie the score, 1-1.
The pace picked up for the Eagles in a second period in which they outshot their rivals, 19-9, and took a two-goal lead they would never relinquish.
Four minutes in, Kevin Hayes dropped a nice pass for Bill Arnold, who deked Maguire beautifully only to watch the netminder stop the puck anyway. Soon after though, Quinn Smith put in the rebound of a Danny Linnel shot and BC enjoyed its first lead of the game.
When BU countered briefly with a partial break by Matt Lane, Brian Billett, who would struggle in the third period, made the save.
The Eagles threatened again when Gaudreau fed Arnold as he cut to the net on a delayed penalty, but Maguire made the save. However, he couldn’t stop the BC power play from capitalizing for a second time as it utilized tic-tac-toe passing from Hayes to Arnold to Gaudreau in front.
BC’s second-period dominance continued even on a BU power play, as Brown and Austin Cangelosi broke in two-on-one short-handed. Maguire stopped Brown’s shot and held the puck long after the whistle, but the BC crowd still howled its disappointment when no goal was awarded after Cangelosi knocked the puck loose and stuffed it in.
Less than three minutes into the third, however, BU freshman T.J. Ryan scored his first collegiate goal to make it 3-2, collecting a centering pass and putting it into the top of the net.
Calnan and Gilmour widened the lead back to 5-2, but Billett’s shaky third-period goaltending opened the door for the Terriers.
BU’s Mike Moran shot from barely above the goal line, yet the puck slipped through Billett’s short side for an especially egregious softie.
BC then weathered a brief five-on-three disadvantage only to see Cason Hohmann put a shot through defenseman’s Scott Savage’s legs on the resulting five-on-four and beat Billett.
The Terriers created some nervous moments for the capacity crowd in the closing minutes until Gaudreau backhanded a shot from the center ice boards into an empty net.