On Friday night, the Boston University Terriers and Boston College Eagles opened their season series with a tight, hard-hitting game that ended with a 2-1 BU victory. After a few needed days off, the teams met again on Monday night, this time at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill. The game had a similar tone to the first meeting, with plenty of hits, shots, speed, and good passing to go around. Ultimately, the Terriers emerged with the victory and got four needed points in the Hockey East standings.
The first period was even on the scoreboard, but BC played a better period. They outshot the Terriers 14-8, handled the puck well, and had the only power play of the period on a Doyle Somerby high sticking penalty. BC did not put a shot in the net with these chances and ran into an improved BU defensive effort. Terrier coach David Quinn praised his team’s defensive effort against a talented Eagles unit. They held their own and gave Jake Oettinger chances to make fairly easy saves compared to Friday night.
When the second period began, BU went out on the attack. They took control of the pace with improved decision making, better neutral zone play, and better puck possession. The special teams also got much better. BU got a power play chance when Colin White committed a slashing penalty. BC came close to killing the penalty, but they couldn’t get one last clear with 10 seconds left. BU kept the puck in their attacking zone on Chad Krys’s outreached stick, then Kieffer Bellows passed the puck to Patrick Curry, who buried the shot to put BU ahead 1-0. BU kept control of the pace for the rest of the period and, remarkable, quieted a raucous crowd at Conte Forum.
The third period was even for most of the way, but BC fell behind at the end with a few penalties that doomed their hopes of a regular season split against their archrivals. Their special teams failed them by not scoring on a power play midway through the period. They also could not get puck control from the Terriers as their fans fell quieter and quieter. The Eagles made two mistakes in the last three minutes of play. Michael Kim and Colin White were called for penalties, and BU made BC pay for those extra chances. Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson put BU up 2-0 on a smooth shot from the left slot and Bobo Carpenter put in an empty net goal to end the scoring.
Oettinger put up his fifth shutout on the season, making 34 saves and handling the pressure of the game and crowd well. He praised his defense’s effort and thought he didn’t have to make too many difficult saves. Quinn agreed with that appraisal and praised the much improved special teams. Jerry York had similar comments about the series and called on his team to improve their offense’s ability to convert on chances. Both coaches were quick to turn attention to their next games.
These teams will play one more time in the first round of the Beanpot on February 6th at the TD Garden. Before then, both teams have in conference games. BU has a home and home series over the weekend against the Maine Black Bears with the first game at Agganis Arena in Boston on Friday. Puck drops at 7:30. BC hosts the Minutemen of UMass Amherst on Friday night at Conte Forum. Puck drops at 7pm.