By: Jake Reiser
Photo: Brian Fluharty
On Monday night, the Terriers traveled to TD Garden to take on the Northeastern University Huskies in the late game of the Beanpot semifinals. The Terriers expelled their TD Garden demons and earned a 3-1 victory.
Coming off of a big 4-0 win at Agganis Arena against the Merrimack Warriors, the Boston University Terriers turned their eyes to arguably the biggest regular season college hockey tournament in the country. The last time these two squared off in the Beanpot was last year’s finals, and despite giving up a two-goal lead in the third, BU earned the win on an overtime goal from Matt Grzelyck.
The two also faced each other earlier in the regular season, BU sweeping the series, 5-4 at home and 4-1 at Matthews Arena.
The first period went by with rapid pace, no penalties to either side. Chance after chance was generated, and finally, it was Boston University who struck first.
As Bobo Carpenter rushed through the middle of the ice, he shifted to a sideways-skating position and backhanded a puck on NU starter Ryan Ruck. Carpenter’s shot seemed destined to go wide, but with hand-eye coordination, Robbie Baillargeon batted the biscuit out of the air, bulging the twine for a 1-0 lead.
Just 3:26 later, the Terriers would strike again. Charlie McAvoy would fly into the zone wirh Danny O’Regan, take a pass, toe drag around defensmean Jarrett Fennell, and snipe a wrister over Ruck’s blocker shoulder. After 20 minutes, BU would only lead in shots by a 8-6 margin, but blocking eight Husky shots.
Only 56 seconds into the second period, Jordan Greenway would take a holding call, sending Northeastern to the power play. The Terriers stood strong on their only penalty kill of the night. BU would have two power plays of its own, a Matt Benning holding penalty and a hooking infraction on Adam Gaudette, but the Terriers could not convert. Despite that, Coach David Quinn said that he felt the unit has improved compared to the last few weeks.
“I thought our power play looked a lot better than it has in the last three weeks. We’ve been really methodical and not a lot of puck movement, I thought tonight we had some great chances,” Quinn said. “If we’re going to have success moving forward, if we’re gonna have success in tournaments against really good teams, you have to capitalize on your chances and we had some chances. There was good puck movement, and it’s certainly something to build on.”
The Terriers would continue to pepper Ryan Ruck with chances, Matt Lane speeding in on a rush with Jordan Greenway getting the rebound, the top line generating grade-A chances, but Ruck would stop them all. Boston University would finish with 15 shots in the middle frame.
The final 20 minutes played out very similarly to the first 20 minutes, no penalties, a very fast pace to the game. With just over 9 minutes to go, Ruck lost a puck to his left, and on his backside, senior Danny O’Regan tried to hammer the puck in with his stick and fist. While a goal was called on the ice, it was taken way since the rubber never fully crossed the goal line.
With 3:26 to go, Northeasten coach Jim Madigan, pulled Ruck, and 14 seconds later, John Stevens would backhand a rebound from a Matt Benning shot through BU netminder Sean Maguire, cutting the lead to one.
But O’Regan said that didn’t discourage the team, and how they played after that shaped the end result.
“I thought we had a great response from the guys, a little bit of a dagger, three minutes left, guys are starting to get worried, but I think Laner’s line jumped out next and they were able to pin Northeastern in their own zone for 30 seconds to a minute and I think that was a huge shift to get momentum back and ease everyone up a little,” O’Regans said.
Once again, Ruck would be pulled, but with 41 seconds on the clock, Doyle Somerby would heave a 175-foot shot past center ice and into the back of the net, sealing the deal.
Quinn said, “From start to finish we were ready to play. I thought our forwards had a good night, our d-corps had a good night, our goalie had a good night, it was just a good team effort.”
The Terriers return to action at the University of Massachusets Amherst on Friday night at 7:00p.m., and in the Beanpot final, BU will face its historic rival in Boston College.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play them in the finals, it’s how you draw it up and we definitely owe them after what happened a few weeks ago,” O’Regan said. “We’re all definitely excited to play them.”
“It’s gonna be special next Monday, that’s for sure,” Quinn said. “Any time you play [BC], even if we’ve played them in the last 10 in a row, it doesn’t take any of the excitement away from it, and it’ll be an exciting game next Monday night.”