An unranked Boston University team arrived at Conte Forum for the newest iteration of the Green Line Rivalry with something to prove when they took on No. 5 Boston College on Saturday night.
The importance of winning a game in this rivalry was evident in the play of both sides, as neither team ever led by more than one goal. In the end, BC’s surplus of talent proved too much for the Terriers to overcome, as the Eagles came away with a 4-3 victory to defend their home ice.
The energy was high for both teams to start the game, with the pace of play moving at a breakneck speed. As a result, the play often appeared sloppy, with neither team showing much value for the puck.
The game was filled with fastbreaks throughout, often to the point where the players were out of control and couldn’t keep a handle on the puck. BC was able to capitalize on this style of play with their significant advantage in speed. BU seemed worn down from chasing after BC forwards by the end of the first period.
The first goal of the game came on one of these fast breaks. Sprinting down the ice, Logan Hutsko was left with only BU goalie Sam Tucker between him and the net. Hutsko was able to bring the puck right up to the edge of the crease before sliding it through the five-hole to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead halfway through the first period.
The first period’s fireworks didn’t stop there, with both BU and BC scoring again before the end of the period. With under five minutes remaining in the period, BU’s Patrick Harper was able to send a wrist shot between a pair of BC defenders and just over the right shoulder of Spencer Knight.
It only took another minute for BC to reclaim their lead, with Mike Hardman wrapping around the goal to give the Eagles a 2-1 lead after the first period.
BC dominated possession throughout the game, but it was especially true in the first period. BU committed three minor penalties, giving BC six minutes on the power play out of the first 22. BC was unable to score on any of these, but it allowed them to set the tone for the rest of the game.
The second period brought a continuation of the Eagles’ dominant play. Yet, BC was unable to convert any of their chances into points. BU, on the other hand, was able to make the most of their opportunities.
BU only attempted five shots on goal in the period but was able to convert the equalizer just under ten minutes in. Cam Crotty hit Logan Cockerill with a pass, setting him up for a shot at the top of the crease. Knight was able to make the pad save, but Patrick Curry hit the one-timer on the rebound as he fell, tying the game at 2-2.
After a brief lull in the action, both teams scored again in quick succession to start the third frame. Within the first five minutes of play, Hutsko scored his second of the game by slapping Julius Matilla’s pass from behind the net past Tucker.
Shortly after, Graham McPhee was assessed a 2-minute minor for cross-checking, giving BU their third power play of the game. Not to be outdone by Hutsko, Patrick Curry unleashed a slap shot with the force of Zdeno Chara from over 20 feet out.
The one-timer was just slightly too quick for Knight, bouncing off his glove and into the back of the net to bring the score to 3-3 with just under 15 minutes to play.
Tension continued to build as the game progressed, with fans on both sides anxious to avoid a second consecutive game ending in a tie between the two rivals. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, and while BC is among the country’s most talented teams, luck was on their side in the end.
On yet another fast break, Julius Mattila attempted to pass the puck to Logan Hutsko. The puck was deflected off BU defenseman David Farrance’s skate before skipping into the back of the net, giving BC a 4-3 lead with under five minutes to play.
With 2:15 remaining, BU pulled Sam Tucker in a last-ditch attempt to send the game to overtime. Typically signaling the end of legitimate competition, BC made it interesting after being assessed another penalty for cross-checking, giving BU a 6-on-4 advantage on offense for the last 1:48. Despite a series of close calls, however, BC was able to hold on and improve to 15-5-0 on the season.
The Eagle's next game will come on Friday when they will have their first of two consecutive home games against the Maine Black Bears. While Maine has been sitting at the bottom of the Hockey East Standings, it is important for BC to stay focused on the game, as they are sitting just one point back of Massachusetts in the Hockey East standings with two games in hand.
Follow @BCGavelSports on Twitter for the latest updates on Boston College athletics.