BOSTON— When Boston College and Boston University face off on the ice, it’s never a dull affair.
In the semifinals of the Hockey East tournament, it took overtime to separate the two familiar foes in what Boston College head coach Jerry York called a “classic rivalry game”. In the end, York’s Eagles came up short.
The Terriers claimed the overtime win thanks to a late goal from sophomore Patrick Curry, who slotted home the game-winner from close range at the far post off a cross-crease pass by Shane Bowers. Boston College goaltender Joseph Woll—who had 41 saves on the night—could only watch as the puck slid into the empty net, sending the Terriers to their 12th Hockey East Championship game.
The Eagles got off to a hot start as the scored only 46 seconds into the semifinal. The Terriers failed to clear the puck out of their zone which resulted in a giveaway at the blue line. Boston College’s Conor Moore got the puck at the point and fired a slap shot past Jake Oettinger to give the Eagles an early 1-0 lead.
Terrier’s head coach David Quinn said the quick opener from Boston College was not the ideal way to start such an important game.
“To give a goal that early in the game, before people are sitting down and guys are still strapping on their helmets [was] demoralizing,” Quinn said.
Despite trailing 1-0 early on, the Terriers dominated much of the first period with a strong presence in front of the net but were unable to convert their chances. Even when the Terriers had a man advantage after Julius Mattila was sent to the box for tripping, the Eagles managed to hold out, only allowing one shot on goal during the power play.
An action-packed second period followed the underwhelming first with the Eagles doubling their advantage only seconds into a four on four power play—Boston College’s Logan Hutsko was sent to the box for slashing while Boston University’s Jordan Greenway was in the box for embellishment. Directly off the offensive zone faceoff, Mattila doubled the Eagles’ lead to make it 2-0.
This two-goal lead did not last long, however, as Boston University scored two goals in under two minutes to tie the game. The first goal came a great solo effort from Ty Amonte, who deked out Woll and slotted the puck home to make it 2-1. The equalizer came not long after with defenseman David Farrance firing a shot past Woll from just beyond the circle.
The Terriers had a chance to take a 3-2 lead through Greenway, but the goal was called off due to Brady Tkachuk interfering with the goalie. Greenway ended the night with two assists and four penalty minutes. The junior and former Team USA Olympic player described the scene on the bench after the goal was called back following the game.
“[We were] frustrated at first. Anyone would be,” Greenway said. “We felt that if we stuck to our system and continued to play hard that we would get another one.”
Christopher Brown gave the Eagles a brief 3-2 lead in the third period by sliding the puck past Oettinger in a scrum in front of the net, which was later confirmed by video review. 45 seconds later, however, the Terriers answered through Drew Melanson to lock the teams at three with under four minutes to play in the third.
York said his team was not deterred by the quick answer from the Terriers.
“You’d think that would be a momentum shift,” York said. “But I thought we played our best hockey late. I thought OT was outstanding as far as creating offensive chances. Credit to BU, they bounced back from a one-goal deficit but as far as our psyche and as for as our mental attitude for the rest of the game I thought we got better.”
Quinn was thrilled to advance to the final of the Hockey East Tournament because it not only gives them a chance at the title but also gives them a shot at making the national tournament, which is something that appeared to be a pipe dream early on in the season.
“We don’t want it to end that’s for sure,” Quinn said. “It’s a great group to coach. I can’t tell you how much fun I’ve had coaching this group. [They’re] an incredibly likable, they work hard, and they understand the situation we put ourselves in. If you had told me that we were going to be 20-13 and looking from the outside in on the national tournament on March 16 I would have laughed. That’s not what we expected, but college hockey is hard. There’s a lot of good teams in it and that’s the situation we’ve been in since Jan. 6. Since then we’ve righted the ship.”
The Terriers will face off tomorrow against the winner of the Providence College versus Northeastern University semifinal.