Men's Hockey, Sports, Winter, Hockey

Eagles Hand No. 7 BU 9–6 Loss on Jerry York Night

Hanging down from the rafters in Conte Forum is a lineup of retired jersey banners. Names such as John “Snooks” Kelley, Brian Gionta, Brian Leetch, and Joe Mullen—all Boston College men’s hockey legends—stand out. But one of these banners is different—it stands on a level of its own. This one’s got Jerry York’s name on it. 

BC hosted “Jerry York Night” on Friday during the 288th Battle of Comm. Ave., honoring York’s historic career through showing a York tribute video during the first- and second-period intermissions, with York himself out on the ice to watch it unfold. 

The winningest coach in NCAA hockey history and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, York retired on April 13 after the conclusion of BC men’s hockey’s 100th season. York’s retirement came after his 50th season as a Division I head coach and 28th year at the helm of BC’s program. 

After a scoring frenzy unfolded in the second period, the Eagles (6–5–4, 5–3–3 Hockey East) capitalized on their 7–5 lead heading into the third frame to pummel No. 7 Boston University (10–5–0, 7–4–0) 9–6. 

“Nice to win, especially against them,” BC head coach Greg Brown said. “Over the years it’s been such a great rivalry, and tonight was one of the crazier games. I actually heard a stat [that] I played the last time it was a 9–6 game.”

The scoring barrage got underway—and never stopped—after 15 minutes in which both teams’ goaltenders stopped a combined 24 shots.

Twelve minutes in, BU’s Luke Tuch outskated Marshall Warren to the puck and went on  a breakaway, but Mitch Benson redirected the puck out of bounds. 

The Terriers skated circles around BC throughout much of the first period, and the Eagles could not get a break in the crease, where they consistently lost tight-window situational battles. 

“We’re growing,” Brown said. “I would say we’ve been, on the whole, pretty sound defensively, we weren’t really a high-flying offensive team until tonight, but defense will still be our calling card. [It was] a little bit more of [a] grind game.”

With 7:40 left to play in the first period, BC got its first powerplay of the night.

On the man advantage, Oskar Jellvik sauced the puck from one side of the offensive zone to the other, setting up Gustafson with a one-timer. Gustafson ripped the puck to Drew Commesso’s short side, putting the Eagles up 1–0.

Seconds later, Cutter Gauthier sent the puck high toward the net but missed wide. The puck ricocheted off the glass behind Commesso and landed on Charlie Leddy’s stick. Leddy fired the puck into the net. 

Courtesy of Matt Brown and Quinn Hutson, the Terriers bounced back right away with two goals of their own, tying the game at two apiece. 

After BU’s Case McCarthy missed a shot to start the second period, Cade Webber regained possession and took the puck to the net. Wilmer Skoog found an open lane for another BU goal, and the Terriers went up 3–2. 

BC tied the game again five minutes into the period with a tic-tac-toe passing series. Liam Izyk received a pass from Nikita Nesterenko and slotted the Eagles’ third goal of the night. 

The scoring spree didn’t stop there. 

BU took the lead for a second time off a Jeremy Wilmer empty lane shot from Benson’s blocker side. Wilmer found himself in position to pot a dainty chip shot right over Benson’s pad. 

BC didn’t stay quiet, though. On the next offensive line shift for the Eagles, Gauthier skated right into the middle of the two circles and redirected a wrap-around pass from Connor Joyce through Commesso’s legs, tying the game at 4–4. 

“The design of the game was keeping on working,” Gauthier said. “Keep on honing in, the more we do that, the more team structure we have, and we just executed well.”

With 9:31 remaining in the second period, Gauthier netted the go-ahead 5–4 goal for the Eagles. Gauthier—who finished the game with two goals and four points—handled the puck all the way from BC’s defensive zone and dribbled it into the net from the wing. 

“He’s pretty composed … all the time,” Brown said. “Really haven’t seen Cutter get rattled in any game. I think he kind of knows who he is as a player, and he goes about his business in a very efficient way.”

BU never retook the lead after Guathier’s second goal, but the scoring barrage didn’t stop. 

The Eagles scored four more goals and BU scored two more goals in the remaining 30 minutes of regulation. The crowd in Conte Forum danced on their feet all night long with the sound of the goal horn ringing again, and again, and again. York was there to witness it all. 

“There aren’t enough honors you can give a guy who’s done that much,” Brown said of York. “That much for the sport, that much for the school. [York’s] put such a stamp on college hockey for Boston College hockey, and for Boston College. He’s as good an ambassador as you could ever hope for.”

December 10, 2022