By: Jake Reiser
Championship season was on the line for No. 7 Boston University. They had a chance to advance to the Hockey East finals for the first time in two seasons, looking to accomplish what Coach David Quinn has called the mission of the season.
In their way was No. 14 Boston College, a team that looked re-invigorated after a stellar performance against Vermont in their quarterfinals. In the end, the fourth time was the charm for Boston College, as the Terriers were downed by a final score of 3-2.
The Terriers had beaten BC three times prior this season and a fourth would have marked the first time since 1994-95 that BU had been able to defeat their Comm. Ave. rivals four times. Jake Oettinger made 32 saves for the Terriers while Joseph Woll stopped 42 for the Eagles.
Both teams played a strong first period, ceding not too many shots and playing somewhat cautious hockey. Early in the second, it was Julius Matilla whose wrister just snuck through Oettinger from the top of the circle to put Boston College on the board.
Later in the frame, BC’s Austin Cangelosi sat in the box for holding and the Terriers had a chance to even the game. However, on a turnover at the blue line, Bruins prospect Ryan Fitzgerald had a sly wrister of his own bust through Oettinger shorthanded, making a 2-0 Eagles lead a reality. That goal, Coach Quinn said, felt like a backbreaker.
“I thought the shorthanded goal really changed the complexion of the game,” Quinn said. “It was 1-0, we have a chance to make it 1-1 or get momentum off of a power play, and the complete opposite happens.”
Not even one minute in the third, Ryan Fitzgerald potted another goal, taking advantage of miscommunication for the Terriers down low and tucking one into the net. From then on, Boston University took control of the game, with power play chances and an inordinate amount of shots. To end the game, BU outshot BC 22-9 in the third period alone.
With all those shots did come goals and life for the Terriers. With under three minutes left, Clayton Keller worked himself to the front of the net with the puck on his stick, and Jordan Greenway was able to jam from the other side and push the puck over the goal line.
Only a minute later, Keller found the back of the net himself, grabbing a rebound from a Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson shot and making a deposit in the goal. Both goals coming with Jake Oettinger on the bench for an extra man, Forsbacka-Karlsson continued to win key face-offs to keep the extra man on and BC away from getting an empty netter.
Unfortunately for him, Ryan Fitzgerald fell on top of the all-important last draw with 8.9 seconds to go, draining the clock amidst chaos, inducing a slew of penalties and fights as the horn sounded.
“This is going to hurt,” Quinn said. “This is going to hurt for a while, but we’re going to move past it quickly.”
While No. 7 Boston University may not have captured a Hockey East title, they await their seed in the NCAA Tournament. The selection show is on Sunday at noon on ESPNU and from there, the Terriers will find out their seed, opponent, and the location of regional they will travel to play.