BOSTON – In such a high profile tournament like the Beanpot, heroes can be made instantly and moments can define collegiate careers. For Boston College junior defenseman Tommy Cross, that defining career was made Monday night against arch-rival Boston University.
With the game tied at 2-2 after regulation and after BC’s penalty kill (like it did all night) came through killing back to back penalties, the team rode the momentum heading into the locker room just before overtime.
“Our penalty kill was huge,” Cross said about the Eagles’ penalty kill that killed all four BU power plays – including three in the third period. “They blocked shots, they cleared the puck…and without those guys, we could’ve been down two or three goals quickly and we wouldn’t have gotten to overtime if we didn’t kill those penalties in the third.
“That was definitely a turning point in my opinion. To get those kills and if we got a penalty then we knew we could kill it off.”
Just 3:01 into the overtime session, BU junior defenseman Ryan Ruikka got called for cross-checking giving the Eagles their second power play of the game.
Sixteen seconds after Ruikka’s penalty, Cross became the hero when he shot a laser past BU goalie Kieran Millan for just his fourth goal of the year at 3:17 to give BC the 3-2 win and a birth in the Beanpot Championship game next Monday night against Northeastern.
“We were on the power play obviously and we were kind of focused on just getting pucks to the net,” said Cross about his game-winner. “Jimmy [Hayes] made a great play by winning the face-off and snapped it right back, and the wingers came in to help push it back. I just took a step to the middle and our guys went to the net and I kind of got it by the first group of guys to under the net and it found it’s way in.”
“Steven Whitney drew that penalty in overtime to give us that situation.” Cross added. “The shot was just kind of the cherry on top. There was so much that led up to it by a bunch of guys.”
For Cross—who has been dealing with multiple knee injuries throughout his collegiate career—the game-winner felt special for him and his team.
“It feels really good,” Cross said about his feeling of becoming the hero. “It feels good for our team and it such a huge win for our team. It’s just an awesome feeling.”
Being a Bruins prospect, firing a game-winner at TD Garden is an added bonus. And while the Bruins’ 2008 second round pick is might be a few years away from donning the Black and Gold, his potential should certainly be noticed a little bit more after tonight’s heroics.
“Its so fun to play here because it’s a big arena,” Cross said. “The Garden is a great place to play and the crowd was great tonight. There were so many students who were up there in the stands and that’s always good to see, but it is always fun to play here. Hopefully I get to play here some more.”
Whether he’s wearing the Maroon and Gold or the spoked ‘B’, Cross is getting accustomed to the 17,565 at the Garden.