Hockey East: BU defeats BC in semifinal OT thriller


Kriby Paulson and Kirby Paulson

Boston, MA – About 10 train stops on the B-Line of the Green Line in Boston, Massachusetts separate two of college hockey’s premier programs: the Boston University Terriers (20-13-4, 13-8-4 Hockey East) and the Boston College Eagles (20-14-3, 18-7-0 Hockey East).

Appropriately dubbed The Battle of Commonwealth Avenue, the two teams had squared off 276 times before Friday night. Thus, it was only fitting that the 277th meeting was a battle when the Terriers defeated the Eagles 4-3 in overtime at the TD Garden in the first of two Hockey East semifinal games.

Patrick Curry was the overtime goal scorer for Boston University and spoke of his team’s resiliency in big game situations.

“We kind of just stick to it, we’re very resilient,” Curry said. “I feel like we’re never really afraid of going to [overtime] because we’re very confident and we just try to stick to what we’re doing and continue to get pucks to the net and drive wide and keep making and we’ve been lucky enough to win tournament time games, so it’s been working for us.”

Boston College head coach Jerry York reflected on the gravity of the game and his team’s performance.

“From my perspective from my viewpoint, that was a classic rivalry game, BC-BU,” York said. “Played for high stakes in a major venue; very proud of how our team played. [We] seemed to get better as the game went on; I thought we had some terrific chances, especially in OT there and then we had to kill a penalty in OT and we did a remarkable job in that area.”

Both the Eagles and Terriers are in a position to not make the NCAA Tournament making the game all the more important. However, Boston University head coach David Quinn said his team isn’t thinking about that.

“You’ve got to block that stuff out and you got to focus on getting ready for your opponent and you can’t let that stuff creep in because all of a sudden you start getting distracted or you’re not doing the things that you need to do to win the game at hand,” Quinn said. “We have not mentioned it once and I can promise you I won’t mention it between now and seven o’clock tomorrow night.”

A mere 46 seconds after the opening puck drop, Boston College found the scoreboard when a Connor Moore shot from the point rang the post and found its way to the back of the net. The second period started in similar fashion when Julius Mattila scored on a David Cotton pass giving the Eagles a 2-0 lead with more than 16 minutes of hockey to still play in the frame.

But that lead wouldn’t last for long.

With 11:03 remaining in the second period, the Terriers were able to cut the lead down to one when Ty Amonte picked up his sixth goal of the season. Less than two minutes later, David Farrance ripped home a feed from Chad Krys to knot things up at two.

The third period held some initial drama for Boston University, as the team thought it had scored the go-ahead goal only to have it overturned by the officials.

“Obviously we were frustrated at first, right, I mean who wouldn’t be,” Terrier assistant captain Jordan Greenway said. “But, you know you’ve gotta keep playing, you gotta keep doing what we were doing the whole game and we thought if we stuck to our system and continued to play hard we’d get another one.”

With 5:19 left and after an initial save by Terrier goaltender Jake Oettinger, chaos ensued in front of net to wrangle a loose puck. Chris Brown got a stick on the puck and got it into the net and after a review, was awarded the goal giving the Eagles a 3-2 lead.

But college hockey playoff season is designed for craziness, right?

Less than a minute later, Jordan Greenway threw a puck to Drew Melanson out front. Melanson didn’t hesitate in burying it home, tying the game up at three apiece with 4:34 remaining in regulation.

However, Melanson’s goal would seal the scoring gates in the third period sending the game to overtime.

It was during that extra frame that Patrick Curry was able to net the game winner, burying a puck with less than five minutes remaining in the overtime frame and allowing the Terriers to skate another day while chasing a Hockey East Championship and an NCAA Tournament berth.

“We played a great opponent, that’s a good hockey team there, I don’t know if many people are surprised that BU-BC semifinals of Hockey East goes to overtime and [we’re] just fortunate and very excited for tomorrow night,” Quinn said.

The Terriers will face off tomorrow night with the winner of the semifinal between Northeastern University and Providence College. Puck drop is scheduled for just after 7 p.m. at the TD Garden.