Boston, MA- Boston College and Boston University have both been disappointments this season. BC opened with five consecutive losses highlighted by a home ice thumping against St. Cloud and a Thanksgiving weekend loss to upstart Bentley. BU, meanwhile, was annihilated by Merrimack and Providence to begin the Hockey East schedule and came up just short on the offensive end against Union for the Friendship Four crown.
The titans of Hockey East looked weak entering the final day of November, but had a chance to close the month well. The ancient rivals played their 278th all-time matchup at Agganis Arena infront of a frenzied, full house, and put on a show worthy of the Green Line Rivalry: a physical war.
BU controlled the pace of the first period by setting a physical tone. BC answered blow for blow early, but were penalized. Jack McBain let an elbow fly high and caught Terrier center and Flyers draft pick Joel Farabee. Farabee would return to the ice, but the freshman from Toronto was ejected for a game misconduct and BU went on a five minute power play.
BC held firm and allowed nothing, but shortly after their first kill, Aapeli Rasanen sat for boarding and BU’s power play clicked. Shane Bowers whipped a pass to Chad Krys at the left circle and the junior from Ridgefield, CT, wired the puck for a 1-0 Terrier lead. BU continued to dominate the opening frame, outshooting BC 16-9. But as he’s done repeatedly through his career, Joseph Woll stonewalled the Terriers and kept his team afloat going into intermission.
BC’s offense struggled to score to open the season, getting shutout three times in four games and scoring three or more goals only twice. Logan Hutsko, in particular, had struggled to put marks on the board. He only potted one goal through ten games this season. With BU’s DogPound rolling and his team needing a boost, the star talent from Tampa, FL, put his stamp on the game. His first tally came on a wire from the circle off a faceoff for the equalizer.
With 2:50 remaining in the frame, Hutsko gave his team the lead permanently. His second was like his first, a wire off a faceoff from near the slot. Woll held firm at his end, and BC held a 2-1 lead at the second break.
BU got the better of BC on the shot counter, but failed to make a dent in Woll and helped sink themselves with critical mistakes. Jake Oettinger tried playing a puck behind his own net and mishandled it. BC took possession and capitalized. Oliver Wahlstrom saucered a pass to Captain Christopher Brown, who jammed it through Oettinger for a 3-1 lead.
BU mounted a late assault, but failed to crack the Woll. The Terriers pulled Oettinger for the extra skater, but to no avail. Freshman Marc McLaughlin worked a puck out of his end, through Chad Krys, and potted the empty netter. The goal was his first collegiate point and ended the scoring at 4-1 in BC’s favor.
Terrier Head Coach Albie O’Connell was frustrated following his first tilt with Jerry York as BU’s lead man.
“First period, I thought we played probably our best period of the year,” O’Connell said. “Second period was a little back and forth, they had two faceoff goals. That was obviously the difference in the game. The third period, I thouht we got away from how we played in the first and through stretches of the second. We reverted to not playing the same way all the time, which was frustrating. We didn’t wear down physically. Mentally, that goal put the team in a little bit of a rut there. They couldn’t quite find their game again as the game wore on. Really frustrating loss. Tip your cap, they played well.”
BU falls to 4-7-1 overall and 4-4-1 in Hockey East.
Logan Hutsko lost a tooth in the game but was smiling after the night. He spoke highly of his teammates.
“I thought we played well. Finally played a full 60. Everyone was pulling for each other, it was a good team victory.” On Joseph Woll, he had the highest praise. “Joseph Woll is unbelievable. Every day practicing against him you know you’re getting better, because you never really score. He’s an unbelievable goalie and having him back there gives us all the confidence in the world.”
Head Coach Jerry York echoed his star scorer’s sentiments on the junior goaltender from St. Louis, MO. “I think he deserves three #1 stars tonight.”
On the season’s arc, York harkened back to prior Eagles’ success stories. “Someone made a point that this is the latest BC has gone under .500 since November 30th of ’07. And we went on to win a National Championship that year, ’07/’08. That just tells you it’s a long year. There’s a chance to improve and get better. A lot of teams don’t do that, but we still feel we have a good club and we have a chance to get better. But a the other teams feel that way too.”
BC improves to 4-6-1 overall and 4-1-1 in Hockey East, jumping into a three way tie for third place in the Hockey East standings with BU and Providence at nine points. Northeastern is second after beating Merrimack 9-1 tonight with 11 points, and UMass Amherst remains unbeaten in Hockey East, good for 14 points.
The Terriers and Eagles rematch on Saturday night at Chestnut Hill. Puck drops at 7 pm ET at Conte Forum.