It had appeared that Boston College men’s hockey would enter the first intermission of its Friday night contest against cross-town rival No. 4 Boston University up 1–0. The Terriers, however, struck in the fleeting seconds of the frame, completely changing the course of the momentum at Agganis Arena.
BC goaltender Mitch Benson saved a hard point shot, but he gave up the loose rebound. Traffic developed in front of Benson, and the puck fell to BU’s Jay O’Brien, who slotted in the goal as the horn went off to signal the end of the period, sending the home crowd into a frenzy.
Upon video review, officials determined that the puck crossed the goal line with just 0.4 seconds remaining in the frame, tying the score at 1–1 heading into the second period.
O’Brien’s late first-period score was the first of many for the Terriers (18–6–0, 12–4–0 Hockey East), who defeated BC (9–8–5, 5–5–4) 6–3 in the 289th edition of the Battle of Comm. Ave and the first of the two teams’ home-and-home series.
“We were disappointed to have them tie it up,” BC head coach Greg Brown said. “Anytime, even in the last two minutes, you especially don’t want to give up the goal in the last couple of seconds.”
Despite the hostile environment in Agganis Arena—which was at its loudest right before the game got underway—the Eagles scored first.
With 9:44 to go in the first period, BC went on a power play after officials called Ryan Greene for holding. And the Eagles’ power-play unit—which boasts the highest conversion percentage in Hockey East—made sure to cash in. BU netminder Drew Commesso saved an initial shot, but the rebound deflected off Trevor Kuntar’s body and trickled into the back of the net to give BC the 1–0 lead.
With just under four minutes left to play in the frame, Nikita Nesterenko found himself all alone on a breakaway, but Commesso made a save to keep BU within a goal.
Just under four minutes later, O’Brien pulled off his miraculous goal with 0.4 seconds on the clock.
“We started well,” Brown said. “We played a pretty thorough first period. It was tough to give that one. But, up until that point, we did a lot of the things we wanted to do.”
Aidan Hreschuk committed a hooking penalty during the play, forcing BC to attempt to kill off a penalty to start the second period.
The Eagles successfully killed off the penalty, but the Terriers grabbed the momentum in the second period. Benson stopped shots from Case McCarthy and Quinn Hutson, but Jeremy Wilmer got one by him.
Wilmer’s rising wrist shot from the high slot beat Benson high on the glove side to give BU a 2–1 lead 6:48 into the second period.
The Terriers extended their lead with a goal from Dylan Peterson. BU found another loose puck following a Benson save. Peterson took a shot on the rebound that passed Benson into the top of the cage to put the Terriers ahead 3–1 with 7:28 remaining in the frame.
BU outshot the Eagles 17–6 in the second period.
“We weren’t as detailed,” Brown said. “They did a great job at winning puck battles and they were heavier in front of both nets, defending more shots than we did. The game turned there in the second period.”
The Eagles came out of the second intermission with heightened energy. Seamus Powell found himself with a wide-open chance from the right faceoff circle but Commesso sprawled to his left to save the shot with the edge of his skate.
Shortly after, the Terriers padded their lead again. This time, Luke Tuch completed a cross-ice pass to Ty Gallagher, who slotted the puck past Benson to make it a 4–1 game.
Gallagher scored again with 10:54 remaining in the game on a wrist shot from the right point that beat a screened Benson, who was relieved of his duties about two minutes later when Brown substituted him for backup Henry Wilder.
Using the BC defensemen as a screen, Luke Tuch wristed a shot that made it past Wilder to further extend BU’s lead to 6–1 with 5:27 to go.
Mike Posma and Cutter Gauthier scored in the final five minutes to cut BU’s lead, but it was too late in the game for the Eagles to maneuver out of the three-goal deficit.