Somewhere in the FleetCenter, we trust there is a fill-in-the-blank script:
Boston College is ranked No. [small number]. Boston University is ranked No. [larger number]. BC won [two or more] of three regular-season meetings to date. BC outshot BU, [large number] to [half that or less]. BU goalie [Larocque, DiPietro, Fields, whoever] made [large number minus 1] mostly spectacular saves. BU’s offensive hero was [gritty winger with hands], who had a career night in the Terriers’ one-goal victory, [final score].
Monday’s answer key: 1, 13, 2, 37, 18, Stephan Siwiec, 36, John Laliberte, 2-1.
There you have it. Another Beanpot Monday in 73 words.
Naturally, Laliberte’s two goals marked the first multi-goal game of his BU career. Not that he’s a rare goal-scorer. He leads the Terriers with 25 points (10 goals, 15 assists).
It’s just that he chose Monday night, before 17,565, against the nation’s top-ranked team, to have the biggest offensive night of his three seasons on Babcock Street. How convenient. And how predictable for the Terriers, who have claimed eight of the last 10 Beanpots, 11 of the last 15, and 25 of 52 overall.
“I’m happy for him, and happy for us,” said BU coach Jack Parker.
Monday marked Laliberte’s third straight two-point night. He had two assists in a 3-2 home victory over Providence on Jan. 29 and a goal and assist in a 4-4 tie with Massachusetts-Lowell on Friday.
Laliberte had seven goals by Dec. 4, but went 11 games without one prior to scoring against Lowell. Now, he’s returned to skating with classmates and roommates Brad Zancanaro and David Van der Gulik.
Monday, he was the game’s first star.
“He was scoring early in the year and then suddenly went without [scoring], but it wasn’t because he wasn’t playing well,” Parker said. “We put him back with Zancanaro and Van der Gulik, and that really helps him. He plays well with those guys. They’re on a pretty good hot streak.”
Van der Gulik started the scoring play on Laliberte’s first goal — which began with the Terriers losing a defensive-zone draw. But Van der Gulik caused a turnover, pushed it up the left-wing boards, and found Laliberte coming through the neutral zone.
Laliberte warded off a defender as he crashed from the right side. As he collided with BC goaltender Matti Kaltiainen, the puck became visible in the back of the net. Referee Scott Hansen did not immediately signal a goal, but did so upon video review. Hansen later told BC coach Jerry York that the puck crossed the line prior to the collision.
York called the goal “pivotal,” since it tied the game at 1-1 with only 16 seconds left in the first period.
“I got past the backchecker and had a little window to get the puck on net,” Laliberte said.
The winner came from more hard work, as he followed up his own rebound on the power play at 6:40 of the second.
Prior to Monday, Laliberte had not scored a goal in 13 career games against BC. He was a combined minus-4 in the Eagles’ weekend sweep of the Terriers last month.
But there are two kinds of history at work when these teams play at the FleetCenter — one that seems to matter, and one that doesn’t. On Monday, Laliberte and his Terrier teammates ended up on the favorable side once again.