Watch enough hockey, it’s inevitable you’ll see some strange things. For many, though, what happened tonight in Boston University’s 5-3 win yesterday over Boston College may just have been the strangest sight yet.
The bizarre contest reached previously unexplored levels of weird in the second period, when the Terriers (8-4-1, 6-3-1 Hockey East) managed to escape with a 3-1 lead despite BC’s (10-5-0, 7-3-0) 23-1 advantage in the shot column.
The shot chart handed to media personnel during the second intermission looked like a before and after advertisement for Proactive acne cream. The area in front of BU goalie Kieran Millan’s cage was pimpled with threatening scoring chances. To the right, the space before BC’s Parker Milner had but a few scant dots marking BU shot attempts.
Most of those Eagle shots game on the power play. BU gave BC plenty of man-up chances, trekking to the penalty box six times during the second frame.
The Eagles entered the game colder than the ice they skated on when it came to the man advantage, having failed their last 18 tries. The trend continued in the first period, as BU’s penalty kill kept BC out of the offensive zone for most of it’s one chance.
That changed immediately in the second. Garrett Noonan began the second serving the final nine seconds of a minor penalty earned in the first period. He lasted 22 seconds before returning to the sin-bin, this time for a crosscheck.
The BC power play opened fire, pelting Millan with four shots. When Patrick MacGregor earned two minutes for holding later in the frame, BC hit Millan with five more chances.
During their six man-up tries, BC registered 14 shots on Millan. They scored just once, when Bill Arnold deftly tipped Tommy Cross’s slapper by an already well-tested Millan.
“We generated an awful lot of chances during the power plays,” BC coach Jerry York said. “Millan played outstanding. You have to give him credit in that respect. I thought we certainly could’ve scored more goals if we didn’t come across an outstanding goaltender.”
York and the Eagles have faced Millan 14 times now, and the BU senior has played some strong games against his Comm. Ave. rivals. What the BU senior did Friday, though, was unprecedented in York’s eyes.
“He was really hot, he was on his game,” York said. “I’ve seen him play some really, really good games in his four years, but tonight might’ve been, at least from my perspective, his best game against us.”
What followed the third was a bit closer to the norm for the BU-BC rivalry. The teams combined for 15 penalties totaling 49 minutes, and featured plenty of drama.
Pat Mullane was given a game misconduct five minutes in for boarding a BU player. Later, Steve Whitney earned a 10-minute misconduct for embellishment.
The diving call was welcome to BU coach Jack Parker and the Terriers, who pointed to consistent diving from the Eagles after the game.
“I’m not blaming the referees,” Parker said. “Diving is too difficult to figure out. But it happens. It’s unbelievable guys just feel a stick on them and just jump into a guy. Somebody else besides the referee is going to have to straighten that out.”
Parker’s players echoed the coaches distain for BC’s alleged dives, beyond the one called on Whitney.
“Oh yeah, you could definitely see it out there,” sophomore Charlie Coyle said. “One guy, you know, 21 [Whitney], you could see him doing it all game. There’s just no need for that. It just ruins the game and ruins the flow of the game.”
Diving aside, Parker was irate at his team for taking a number of stupid penalties. The squads square off again tomorrow at Agganis Arena, and when they do, Parker hopes his team will arrive with cooler heads and more disciplined approaches.
Whether they will or not seems to be out of hands, so he thinks.
“I have no idea what the message should be,” Parker said. “I’ve delivered this message over and over again to these guys. They’re not listening.”