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MEN'S HOCKEY: Freshman Terrier Goalie Shuts Down BC Offense

Sports Editor

Published: Monday, December 3, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

It was set up all too perfect—all No. 1 Boston College had to do was win on Friday night at Agganis Arena and then it would have a chance to get Jerry York’s record-breaking 925th win on Saturday night at Kelley Rink in a rematch against No. 9 Boston University.

Matt O’Connor and the Terriers had other plans.

The BU goalie had the hot hand and 35 saves, en route to a 4-2 win over the Eagles, snapping BC’s 10-game winning streak and denying York of tying the all-time win record in college hockey.

“I thought BU was better than we were tonight,” York said. “We had some excellent flurries where O’Connor made some very good saves. But for the most part, I thought BU had the territorial edge. Their transition game was very good tonight. They had a lot of odd-man rushes off turnovers. So hats off, they played better than we did tonight. They deserved to win the game.”

After a competitive but scoreless first period, the Terriers came out in the second frame with a vengeance. They thoroughly outworked the Eagles in the neutral zone, and it paid off first with 10:56 left in the period. Garrett Noonan collected a rebound in midair with Parker Milner caught out of position, and he finished the puck into the back of the net to take the 1-0 lead.

“I thought we picked it up a little bit,” said BU head coach Jack Parker about his team’s second period effort. “Obviously, we outshot them a bit more in the second. That had something to do with it. But I didn’t notice any momentum swings, one way or the other.”

Seven minutes later, the Terriers struck again. Evan Rodrigues scored on a snipe that found its way over Milner’s shoulder and into the goal, making the score 2-0 and sending the Agganis crowd into a frenzy.

But the Eagles were quick to silence those cheers, as they finally got on the scoreboard less than a minute after Rodrigues’ tally. Steven Whitney skated down the right side of the ice and dished a pass over to Johnny Gaudreau, who was unable to get a great handle on it. Luckily for BC, Pat Mullane was right there to collect the puck and flung it on goal past O’Connor to cut the deficit in half.

Overall, the Eagles struggled in the second period, as they let BU control the possession for the majority of the 20 minutes.

“I don’t think we were as sharp as I would’ve liked to see passing the puck,” York said. “Part of that is BU played good defense—it prevented that sharpness. But I still thought we had some passes that we were bobbling. We weren’t as dynamic going through the neutral zone as I would have liked to had there.”

The third period didn’t start much better for BC, as it allowed the Terriers to stretch their lead to 3-1 only 1:46 into the frame. Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk carried the puck down the left side of the ice into the zone, staying close to the boards. He sped behind the net and used a wrap-around to confuse Milner, sneaking the puck into the net for his second goal of the season.

For the next 17 minutes, the Eagles went 0 for 3 on the power play, unable to capitalize on the man advantage to get back into the game.

“I thought we moved the puck well at times and created some pretty good scoring chances,” York said of his team’s power play unit. “But the bottom line is that you need some goals from power plays. More goals.”

One of those opportunities came with 1:58 left, when York called a timeout and pulled Milner to make it a 6 on 4 for BC. That plan backfired, as the Eagles turned the puck over coming out of the timeout, and Wade Megan scored an empty-netter for BU.

After the Terriers were called for another penalty with 55 seconds remaining, BC finally capitalized on the power play with a 6 on 3 advantage on a goal from Johnny Gaudreau. The goal came with 24.7 seconds left on the clock, but it was too little, too late for the visitors, as time soon ran out in a 4-2 defeat for the Eagles.

BC finished with 37 shots on goal and some great opportunities to capitalize, but O’Connor shut the offense down time after time.

“We did have probably four or five grade-A chances to score there,” York said. “We didn’t capitalize on those. But for the most part, BU had more chances than us during the game.”

York said he didn’t think his team was distracted by the possibility of clinching the record-tying win for him, and instead credited BU for outworking the Eagles.

“That’s not in our fabric as a team or myself as a coach,” York said. “We’re looking for two points. Let’s give BU credit—they just played better than we did tonight and they won the game.”

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