Big play: Boston University’s O’Connor misplays puck for tying goal

Boston University’s Matt O’Connor kneels after allowing the tying goal (photo: Jim Rosvold).

BOSTON — It looked routine. And then it didn’t.

From the neutral zone, Providence’s Tom Parisi lobbed the puck at Boston University goaltender Matt O’Connor, a high fluttering arc of a shot that O’Connor should have been able to handle like a center fielder handles a routine pop fly.

But he didn’t.

“I couldn’t really see it in my glove,” said O’Connor, a junior. “I thought it rolled out of it. I tried to drop and throw it … [but] it was too late.”

Parisi’s toss hit O’Connor’s right in the glove. The goalie’s hand actually closed on the puck briefly, but he turned his glove over immediately and let the puck go, never realizing that he had possession of it.

The puck dropped to the ice just as O’Connor jerked his head to look back over his right shoulder to see where it may have landed and instinctively dropped to his knees to protect the goal.

But the puck dropped a second ahead of O’Connor, hit the ice and bounced backward into the BU net, a self-inflicted five-hole goal that tied the game for Providence at 11:24 in the third period.

The BU players were shaken. Skating near the net, Terriers players Brandon Fortunato and A.J. Greer — both freshmen — brought their hands to their helmets in disbelief, each still clutching his stick and holding it aloft. Fortunato’s head dropped.

Two minutes and 19 seconds later in the Terriers’ right faceoff circle, the Friars executed a perfect play to get the puck to Brandon Tanev, who fired it over O’Connor’s right shoulder to score the game-winning goal.

“Everyone in this locker room deserves a lot better,” said O’Connor. “They deserve to be hoisting the national championship right now. Sports are tough.”

After the game, BU coach David Quinn tried to preempt any suggestion that O’Connor was to blame for Providence’s two third-period goals.

“We got to this point because we won as a team,” said Quinn, “and we lost the game tonight because as a team we didn’t play well enough. Bottom line: Providence played better and they won the hockey game.”

Quinn said that the Terriers, the youngest team in the country, may not have been able to prepare for what they encountered in the third period Saturday.

“We have four 18-year-old defensemen playing in the game tonight,” he said. “We’ve got eight freshmen in the lineup. Sometimes experience is the best remedy for situations that we were in tonight. And we don’t have a lot of it.”

1 COMMENT

    • Said the loser whose team didn’t make it to the final game.What’s that now 7 out of the last 8 have come from the East? Cry somewhere else.

      • Coincides well with the number of eastern Frozen Fours in that time. Oh wait, maybe it’s not coincidence.

        ESPN has ruined college hockey.

        • There have been a lot of bad UND commenters I’ve seen over the years. But you my friend, top them all. You need to let it go. Move on like most UND fans have. All the whining is not going change the outcome of what happened. You are an embarrassment to your fellow UND followers.

          • So calling for something resembling fair treatment = whining now? Would like to see the crying if you New Englanders had to go to Minnesota and North Dakota practically every year for the Frozen Four and sometimes for regionals too.

            You don’t get it because you are the privileged class, in more ways than one, and it is you who are spoiled and would cry a flood if the situations were reversed.

          • Sorry pal, I live in MN and follow the Gophers. Were you making this much noise in 2002 when the Gophers won the title in St Paul? I never heard complaints from the eastern fans when that happened. What’s the purpose of this crusade you’re on? From all the articles I’ve seen comments on, you are pretty much the only one crying wolf.

          • 2002 was a long time ago, a lot has changed. I stand by my conviction that if 7 of 8 Frozen Fours were in North Dakota and Minnesota, some eastern people would have a problem with it.

          • Back then the Frozen Four and Regional sites were picked 2-3 years in advance, just as they are now. The one thing I can agree with you on is why the selection committee placed PC in Providence when they were seeded 15th. They should have been sent to Fargo instead of 14th seeded Quinnipiac.

          • The Frozen Four should trade off each year between western (WI, MN, ND, CO), central (MI, IN, OH, FL) and eastern (PA, NY, New England) sites, regionals can be on campus sites and championships need not be in NHL cities (only in a stadium of suitable size, say 10k or more), the regionals should not have two sites in New England practically every year, and efforts should be made to make sure teams earn their way.

            Unless you’re a top 4 seed, you should not get to stay close to home. I remember in small school baseball when a school used to host the championship tournament — they always had to play the regional on the road, so they couldn’t win a national championship without leaving home. And going into a regional where you’re still the team closest to home doesn’t count.

            If I was king of the NCAA, that’s what would happen and it would be a lot more fair and equitable than what happens now. No one could complain then. It’s about being fair to schools and fans, and about providing the best experience for the players — not about bending over backwards for ESPN and being limited only to cities connected to pro hockey for completely illogical reasons.

          • You should start now to figure out your excuses and compaints going forward. Next three Frozen Fours: Tampa, Chicago and St. Paul in that order. God forbid an east coast team wins any one of those years!

          • Yeah, I will apologize for all UND fans for this guy. He is a tool who doesn’t represent the rest of us. He makes it sound like UND was so far and away better than BU that BU didn’t earn their way to the Championship game. Obviously he is a dolt, so please excuse him and know that he is very much the minority of UND fans. I think that most of believe that if UND and BU played a 7 games series it would be awesome and either team could win it. They were pretty evenly matched and BU earned everything they got. Wasn’t their fault they got to play in Boston this year.

  1. Since the NCAA has become simply a step between juniors and the AHL I give credit to BU for making it as far as they did with as many actual 18 year old freshmen as they have. That was a heck of a run. If they can keep them for a couple more years they could easily win it all.

  2. pics look pretty accurate – so union will play princeton – no real worries there – that should guarantee them a spot in the ncaa’s – how they do in placid s/b a direct indicator as to how they do in the big tournament – not sure i would have picked union much higher this year – really a surprise this year – not sure why – would have liked to see them beat n dak, BU, or Harvard twice – i think that would have made them more legit

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