Boston, MA — The rivalry between Boston University and Boston College has seen plenty of important situations. From Beanpots to National Championships, the Terriers and Eagles have done battle for 100 years. On Friday night, the ancient rivals met at TD Garden for a spot in the Hockey East Championship game and a continuation of their seasons. The game met all expectations and will be remembered by many on Comm Ave.
It did not appear to be so early. BC broke the ice by forcing a Terrier turnover and Connor Moore lasering a shot by Jake Oettinger 46 seconds into the game. On the shot counter, the game appeared to be dominated by BU. In reality, BC had control. The Eagles played crisp, clean defense, while the Terriers played sloppy and couldn’t get inside pressure on Joseph Woll. The Eagles held their 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
BC again landed an early blow in the second period. This time, Julius Mattila converted on a faceoff win 3:16 into the frame to give BC a 2-0 lead. With their backs against the wall and season’s end staring them in the face, BU turned on the attack. The Terriers forced an Eagles turnover deep in their zone and Ty Amonte converted the chance with a left crease shot. Less than two minutes later, David Farrance lasered home a perfect Chad Krys pass to tie the game and thrill the Terriers fans. BU dominated the shot totals 14-7 for the period but Joseph Woll stood strong for the Eagles and kept the game tied into the second intermission.
The third period saw some necessary controversy, hitting, and clutch goals that define this rivalry. First, early in the period, Jordan Greenway apparently scored to give BU a 3-2 lead. The officials looked at the play and determined that Brady Tkachuk committed a goalie interference despite not hitting Woll but still screening him in the crease. While the sport of hockey continues to sort out what goaltender interference is, the teams played on and BC benefited from the next flurry of controversy. The Terriers tried to clear a puck out. In their hurry, it got behind Oettinger and hit the post. A mad dash ensued, leading to a Christopher Brown putback that gave BC a 3-2 lead with 5:19 left in the game.
With their season on the line, BU answered almost immediately. After being robbed by Woll earlier in the game, Drew Melanson got to the slot and beat Woll 45 seconds after BC claimed the lead. The Eagles peppered Jake Oettinger late in the frame but to no avail. For the 42nd time in the history of the rivalry, and first time since the 2016 Beanpot Final, BU and BC played overtime.
The Eagles thoroughly dominated the extra session. They outshot BU 14-7 and nearly won the game a few times. Jake Oettinger had maybe his best stretch of hockey this season, notching 14 of his 36 saves and keeping his team afloat. He needed some help from the offense and with time winding down, he got exactly that. With 4:20 left in the overtime, Shane Bowers wrapped around the net and fired on Joseph Woll. The sophomore Eagle made his 41st save of the night but did not control the puck. It came to Patrick Curry who put it in, and the Terriers stormed the ice in jubilation.
After the game, Eagles Head Coach Jerry York was subdued but still optimistic about his team. “From my perspective, that was a classic rivalry game. Very proud of how our team played. It seemed to get better as the game went on. Especially in the overtime. There are still some things to shake out. There’s an opportunity for us to play on, which I’d love to. I wasn’t willing to shake everyone’s hands tonight.”
The Eagles drop to 20-14-3 overall. Depending on how the other conferences shape up on Saturday, BC may either be playing in the NCAA Tournament or on the outside looking in. Plenty remains to be sorted out.
Terrier Head Coach David Quinn was relieved after proceedings.
“Certainly an incredible hockey game. Not surprised it went to overtime. We played a good 60 minutes. Our overtime wasn’t what we wanted. But I’m so proud of our guys coming back down 2-0. We never quit. I liked a lot of our game. We played a great opponent. Excited for tomorrow night.”
BU improves their record to 20-13-4. They clinch their first trip to the Hockey East Championship game since 2015. The Terriers will face the Providence College Friars on Saturday night at the TD Garden for the Lou Lamoriello Trophy. Puck drops at 7 pm.