By: David Souza
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Trailing 2-0 just over two minutes into Friday’s contest with the No. 15 Boston College Eagles, Boston University quickly turned an early rally into a showcase of offensive firepower, as they pumped half a dozen goals past Joe Woll en route to a 7-4 victory at Conte Forum.
“We’re definitely playing much better offensively, and I knew we were going to score,” said Head Coach Dave Quinn. “Our power play is getting better, our younger kids are getting more acclimated […] and our D contributed offensively.”
The atmosphere within Conte began at a thunderous volume, and approached near deafening as the Eagles (8-6-2, 8-2-0 Hockey East) jumped out to a two-goal lead on their first three shots. The first Eagle tally came from freshman Aapeli Räsänen, who tucked home a loose puck just 1:32 into the contest.
Less than a minute later, sophomore Ron Greco snapped a rebound chance past Jake Oettinger as the announcement of Räsänen’s goal rang out overhead. Greco would add another goal at the beginning of the second.
But, the Terriers (7-8-1, 5-4-1 Hockey East) would not go quietly back to Agganis Arena. Instead, BU began imposing their will offensively.
“Unfortunately, we’ve had a lot of practice being down 2-0; it happened against Denver, it happened against Cornell, it’s happened a few too many times,” Quinn said. “We have shown some resolve. We’ve got resolve, [and] we’ve got grit – we’ve got to get more brains […] if we do that we’re going to have some success.”
The Terriers’ might showed prominently in the first two frames, where they recorded consecutive three-goal periods. Captain Brandon Hickey led the way for BU, earning the game’s first star with a pair of goals.
“You just tell the guys you’ve just got to bounce back, forget the first two minutes, and just keep playing,” Hickey said. “We started playing the right way, and getting pucks in and getting pucks out, and then we started getting rewarded for it.”
Hickey recorded his first two-goal performance of his career, striking for the Terriers’ first goal and later the game-winner. With his team trailing by a pair, Hickey let go a point shot at the halfway point of the opening period. The puck looked to be sailing wide left, before deflecting off of a BC defenseman and past Woll to halve the BC lead. Three minutes later, Logan Cockerill would bring the Terriers even after rifling home a shot that bounced in and out of the net.
After the scarlet and white rose from what looked like apparent defeat, the Terriers began to heat up on offense. With goals coming in bunches, Hickey’s game-winner gave BU breathing room in the second after Chad Krys’ power-play strike again gave the Terriers a one-goal lead.
Just over two minutes after Krys slotted a shot from the point behind Woll to make it 4-3, Hickey collected the disk in the slot with just one Eagle standing between him and the goalie. The captain swiftly moved to his left – before a sprawling Woll could move back into position – and then wristed home his second of the night.
Bobo Carpenter added another insurance goal less than a minute later. The junior center took a pass from Patrick Harper to the right of Woll, before going short side on the BC net minder in one quick motion. Shane Bowers added the empty netter with 35 seconds remaining in the contest to ice the game for the Terriers.
The Eagles had the opportunity to stage a comeback of their own, as Julius Mattila brought BC within two on a last-minute goal in the second period. However, the Eagles were unable to cash in on BU’s late mistakes. Despite a pair of power plays in the final frame, Boston College failed to solve Oettinger in the third.
“We scored early, got two goals up, and just got really excited […] and kind of lost our poise,” said Head Coach Jerry York. “We got a chance to get back into it when it was 6-4 […] we just couldn’t get any closer.”
In the first period, Brady Tkachuk converted on his second breakaway chance of the period, bringing the scarlet and white ahead with less than two minutes remaining in the opening frame. The freshman broke through the neutral zone on a pass from Jordan Greenway, and skated in alone on Woll. While his first chance was easily sticked away by the BC net minder, Tkachuk adjusted on his second attempt, deking twice before roofing a shot into the top right corner for a short-handed goal.
“The past week I’ve been trying that out, that high move,” Tkachuk said. “Ty Amonte on the bench after that first breakaway [said] ‘you’ve got to go back to that move,’ so luckily I got that second breakaway, and I tried it out, and [I’m] happy with the outcome.”
While both teams’ offenses operated at high levels, that didn’t stop Oettinger from making 29 saves for BU – including nine in a highly competitive third period. Arguably the best save of the night came at the midway point of the final 20 minutes, as Oettinger flashed the glove on a stellar split-save against BC’s JD Dudek.
Both teams will get another chance at victory on Saturday night, as the Battle of Comm Ave heads down the Green Line to Agganis Arena. Coach Quinn called Friday’s game “just the first chapter” of the weekend, and said that his team has plenty to focus on for tomorrow.
“Two things: puck management and our d-zone coverage has to get better,” Quinn said of the necessary adjustments needed for BU. “This is a game that you’re constantly going from offense to defense and there’s plenty of times during the course of the game where you’re not sure […] if you don’t know what we’re doing, play defense.”