So much for home-ice advantage.
For the third time this season in games between archrivals No. 2 Boston College and No. 13 Boston University, the home team outshot its opponent only to lose.
And one night after BC was outscored 1-0 in a second period in which they outshot BU by a stunning 23-1 margin, BC outscored BU in the second period by a startling 4-0 margin—despite a 22-8 shot advantage for the Terriers.
The upshot was a resounding 6-1 win for BC in front of a disappointed crowd of 6,150 at Agganis Arena.
One night after BU goaltender Kieran Millan stole the game for the Terriers, BC freshman Brian Billett was the standout tonight with 40 saves in just his second collegiate start. Defenseman Brian Dumoulin added three assists for the Eagles.
Despite the lopsided outcome, BU coach Jack Parker actually was happier with his squad tonight than he was after last night’s victory.
“It’s as bizarre a three games I’ve seen us play in 20 days,” Parker said. “I thought we played great and they disappeared [in BU’s 5-0 win over BC on November 13]. I thought they played great last night and we got fabulous goaltending. And then I thought we played extremely well tonight for two periods [despite getting outscored 5-1 in that span].
“We had 27 shots on our stat sheet in the second period and ended up losing big. Their goalie played really well and as sharp as Kieran was last night, he didn’t have it tonight. All in all, I thought it was a pretty good game for us with a couple of mental mistakes.”
Despite losing the season series to his archrival, BC coach Jerry York was pleased with his team’s performance all weekend.
“We were very, very solid in all three zones,” York said. “Brian played exceptionally well in goal. From our defensive corps up to our forwards, I was very happy with how we played. I thought last night was an indicator that we had kind of meshed as a club. I thought it was an outstanding effort by our team last night. It’s not very often you see 42 saves for one goaltender and ten for the other and you lose a game. So even though it was a tough loss for us, I kept looking at the tape and we had so many chances. Millan was just terrific.”
As for the head-scratching results between the two teams, York was bemused.
“I wish I could figure it out. It’s not the number of first downs; it’s getting across the goal line,” he said. “Sometimes a goaltender just plays so very, very well.”
BC got its first goals from their all-freshman fourth line at 5:51. On a two-on-two rush, left wing Quinn Smith got a shot off and Millan made an excellent save. The rebound was right around his pads, but he never quite covered it. The referee could not have been blamed if he blew the whistle because of losing sight of the puck, but he wisely held off. Danny Linnell finally knocked it in.
Astonishingly, it marked the 14th time this season that the Terriers allowed a Hockey East player to score his first collegiate goal against them.
BU tied it up on an odd goal late in the period. Ryan Ruikka fired a shot toward the goal from the right point, and Chris Connolly – back in action after missing Friday’s game with a separated shoulder – redirected it wide. Corey Trivino got the puck behind the goal line and threw it toward the crease. It bounced off the skate of BC’s Pat Mullane and went into the net.
The next goals proved to be the turning points. Early in period two, Connolly rang a shot off the post for a near BU goal, only to have Tommy Cross make a great move before roofing a shot for BC within the subsequent minute. Later in the period, Alex Chiasson almost beat Billett with a shot, only to have Chris Kreider race off the other way with the rebound before sniping a shot from the left wing off the far post and into the net to make it 3-1.
Two minutes later, freshman Johnny Gaudreau got the puck in the slot and beat Millan with a high wrister.
Then BC all but ended the game at 18:24. Dumoulin fired a long pass up ice to Bill Arnold breaking in on the right wing. Arnold blasted a slap shot past Millan to make it 5-1.
Grant Rollhesier replaced Millan in the BU net for the final period and he gave up a goal on the first shot he faced at 3:48. Paul Carey got a great pass and raced in to score on a high shot.
The remainder of the game was a quagmire of penalties. Parker praised York at great length for playing his fourth line and his third pairing of defensemen on the power plays to avoid running up the score, describing York as a “class act” and acknowledging that it’s not easy to do when the top BC scorers probably would’ve liked to pad their numbers in the rout.
BU (8-5-1, 6-4-1) travels to New Hampshire on Thursday, while BC (11-5-0, 8-3-0) has to get ready to host Providence on Tuesday night.