CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – It was a wacky hockey game at Kelley Rink on Friday night as the No. 2 Boston College Eagles and Northeastern Huskies continued their three-game Hockey East season series – a rivalry that has been turned up a notch over the past two seasons.
In the last eleven meetings, the teams have skated into overtime four times, and the score of this contest was a close one for the duration until the Eagles pulled it out in the end.
Despite being a more even game, the teams set their sights on a second-straight extra period after a 4-3 win for the Eagles on Oct. 22 at Matthews Arena that saw sophomore Bill Arnold score the game-winner.
BC controlled play for the majority of the contest, out-shooting NU by a 36-18 margin, as it scored the game-winning goal with time ticking down in the final moments of regulation to earn a 2-1 victory.
“It was a much closer game than the shots indicate,” said BC head coach Jerry York. “I think the score indicated the equality of the two teams. I thought our club played well in a lot of areas.”
”I thought Parker was solid in goal, I thought our special teams were very, very good tonight and our energy level was outstanding. That is a pretty good recipe for winning a Hockey East game…I thought we controlled how well we played and I feel very excited about how the game ended for sure.”
In the end, Boston College garnered 61 total chances to just 33 for the Huskies.
“Obviously, they are a very good hockey club,” said Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan. “They’re fast, they put pressure on you all night long…They just come at you with four lines.”
“Fundamentally, we were not as sound as we need to be to beat a team like this. Two costly turnovers were the result of the game.”
The Eagles came out flying in the first period, holding a 9-4 shots on goal advantage and 16 total chances in the stanza.
Hockey is a wacky game, however, as the Huskies took the lead at the 12:41 mark of the first period. Sophomore Cody Ferriero was crashing the net and was able to poke the rebound low past BC goaltender Parker Milner for his first goal of the season. Garrett Vermeersch and Alex Tuckerman were credited with assists on the play – the Essex, Mass. native’s first goal in 11 games dating back to last year.
Carrying all the momentum into the second period, the Eagles were able to tie the score at 1-1 on the heels of some nifty passing by the conference’s top offensive unit, which had been stagnant for most of the night.
At the 11:50 mark of the middle stanza, junior Chris Kreider batted a Huskies clearing attempt back into the offensive zone before skating through the defense and hitting Kevin Hayes with a short drop pass in front. Hayes fired a one-time shot past NU goaltender Chris Rawlings on what was virtually a one-on-one attempt on goal.
The Eagles dominated play in the second period, out-shooting the visitors from across town by a 17-8 margin and 27-13 in total attempts.
In the third period, the Huskies defense looked to have struggled as it gave up numerous chances for the Eagles. Rawlings was on his A-game for the entirety of the contest, making 34 stops to eclipse the 30 mark for the fifth time on the season.
With just under one minute remaining in regulation time, Husky sophomore Luke Eibler took a tough interference call in his own defensive zone to give the Eagles a power play.
The game-winning goal came off a mad scramble in front of the net as defenseman Tommy Cross let one go from the top of the left circle, beating Rawlings through traffic with just 2.6 seconds remaining.
“We were trying to enter the zone with possession there,” said Cross on his game-winning play. “A couple miscues there, but we finally got possession in the zone and we got some great shots and some great net presence.”
“It was a scrum, they collapsed down low and [Brian Dumoulin] got it…Most guys would have panicked with less than five seconds to go and he somehow had the clock in his head and looked over to me, gave it to me and I just got it off quick. I think it hit one of their defender’s hands in front and dropped straight down.”
Despite losing his second-straight game to the Eagles, Madigan commended his junior netminder from North Delta, British Columbia, as he kept the Hounds within striking distance all night long, but the offense was unable to muster anything more.
“He’s given us some great games,” Madigan added. “It would have been nice to reward him for a great effort on his end.”
On the other end of the ice, Milner was rarely challenged by the Huskies attack as he stopped just 17 in the game to earn his ninth win of the season – this time in dramatic fashion.
“Both goaltenders were tough to beat tonight,” said York. “There were some terrific saves by both goaltenders.”
The Huskies will have a quick turnaround tonight as they make the trek to UMass for a Saturday night contest at Mullins Center.
BC returns to Kelley Rink on Sunday for the first meeting of the season between the Eagles and Boston University Terriers. Game time for that match-up is 4 p.m. for a nationallytelevised contest on CBS Sports Network with Eric Frede and Dave Starman.