The Boston University Terriers were victorious Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, defeating the Cornell Big Red 3-2 in regulation, and capturing the Kelley-Harkness Cup.
BU Terrier Goaltender Matt O’Connor was the difference maker on the night.
O’ Connor faced constant pressure and a flurry of shots during all three periods (10, 13, 16), as the Terriers were out shot 39-11 by the Big Red. Even with the drastic difference in shot totals, O’Connor still managed to stop 37 of the 39 shots he faced on the night against the dominating Cornell offense, and sealed the win for the Terriers.
During the first 40 minutes of hockey, BU scored 2-unanswered goals by Mike Moran (17:50 1st) and Robbie Baillargeon (14:38 2nd).
Shortly after Cornell managed to earn 2-consecutive power-plays as the Big Red pressured the Terriers. The consecutive power-plays overlapped for a total of 31-seconds, giving Cornell a 5-on-3 advantage briefly. The Terriers and Matt O’Connor blocked shot after shot, before killing off the penalty and frustrating the Cornell fans.
Opening the 3rd period, Cornell’s Dustin Mowrey was called for an interference penalty (1:52). On the ensuing power-play BU’s Nick Roberto scored (2:44) to add insult to injury, and gave BU the 3-0 lead.
Even after giving up 3-goals, the Big Red never gave up. After holding off consistent pressure all game and keeping Cornell off the board for 44-minutes, Big Red came roaring back, and Matt O’Connor was beaten by Cornell’s Christian Hilbrich (4:05) and Cole Bardreau (16:20) in the 3rd period.
With a little over 4-minutes to complete the comeback, BU’s Matt Grzelcyk was called for a holding penalty at 18:13 of the 3rd period. The late power-play seemed to make Cornell’s chance at a comeback become all-the-more possible and fueled the capacity crowd.
Both teams used their timeouts to game plan, before Cornell’s 2nd best power play in the nation pushed for the final goal to complete the comeback. After shot, after shot, and multiple defensive zone face-offs due to icing and holding the puck, somehow Matt O’Connor kept Cornell from scoring the game-tying goal. The Big Red ran out of time, and came up short on the power play for the 7th time on the night.
The Terrier’s best penalty killer Goaltender Matt O’Connor, just wouldn’t be denied on the night, even after the dominating performance by Cornell and 7 power-play opportunities.
The final score was Boston University 3 – Cornell University 2.