Men’s hockey dropped the first game of the Battle of Comm Ave to No. 4 Boston University, 2-1, this Friday night at their cross-town rivals’ home arena. The Eagles’ singular goal came from sophomore Colin White.
The rivals kicked off their two-game series by essentially splitting control of the puck, with BU ultimately outscoring BC 15 to 11 in the first period. Freshman goalkeeper Joe Woll played an instrumental role in the Eagles’ game with consistent saves in the face of constant and aggressive shooting from the Terriers for the entire 60 minutes.
The second period saw a frantic BC offense attempting to catch the Terriers after scoring opened early in the period. Forward Colin White scored the Eagles’ only goal off assists from Ryan Fitzgerald and Matty Gaudreau five minutes into the period, equalizing the score at 1-1 before the Terriers answered with the game winner two minutes later. Momentum seemed to shift away from BC at that point, with Gaudreau going to the box for hitting from behind as the game began to spiral into aggression--worsened by the deep-seated animosities associated with the 271-game rivalry. The height of the drama came in the second period when BC freshman Michael Kim blatantly shoved a BU player against the boards with no retaliation, soliciting anger from BU head coach David Quinn and the mostly red-clad crowd.
Head coach Jerry York committed to attacking on offense in the final period, making up their first-period shooting deficit and ending the game tied with BU at 33 shots on goal each. In the last minute, York pulled Woll from goal to give the Eagles an extra attacker, but the extra offensive effort failed as the clock ran out before the puck could find its way into the back of the net. Although BC managed to maintain possession more than BU in the third period, BU’s stout defense would not allow a goal.
This game brought us an Eagles lineup almost restored to its full glory for the first time in months. With Colin White--both an alternate captain and a top scorer for the USA Hockey Juniors team, healthy after dealing with sickness--and Matty Gaudreau, the Eagles’ leading scorer this season, fully recovered from an injury sustained at last Sunday’s game against Providence, the roster for Friday’s matchup was finally strong.
However, despite a strong lineup and active attack, the Eagles failed to convert their opportunities to points. BC’s lone goal came on a power play, but the other four of the team’s five power play possessions came and went without a score. On BU’s end, patience and relentless shooting paid off as the Terriers outplayed the Eagles in the last two periods.
Next up, the Eagles will look to calm down as they face the Terriers again on Monday, January 16th - this time hosting their cross-town rivals at home. The game is expected to pack Conte Forum with the most fans it will see all season.