On Friday, December 9, the Boston College Men's Hockey team defeated the No. 6 Boston University Terriers at Conte Forum. With Jerry York, the former coach of the Eagles for 28 years, in attendance at the game, the Eagles decided to put on a show. They scored nine goals in the back-and-forth game that kept all fans engaged.
In the first 15 minutes of the game, there was not a lot for fans to be excited about, as both teams struggled to find any offensive rhythm. The first penalty of the night, a face-off violation by the Terriers' Jay O’Brien, changed all of that. Commanding the puck in the offensive zone, the Eagles were determined to take advantage of the man advantage. A pass from Oskar Jellvik set up Lukas Gustafsson for a one-timer that he blasted past the goaltender.
No one was ready for the remainder of the period. Within 45 seconds of Gustafsson’s goal, BC's Charlie Leddy scored one of his own. The goal was the first of Leddy’s collegiate career. However, the Terriers did not give either Gustafsson or Leddy any opportunity to celebrate. In the final four minutes of the period, they capitalized on Trevor Kuntar’s interference penalty to tie the game at 2-2 after the first period.
In the second period following a ceremony celebrating Jerry York, both teams continued to trade blows. BU quickly took their first lead less than two minutes into the second period. Liam Izyk responded a few minutes later, redirecting a pass from Nikita Nesterenko in front of the crease. The Terriers did not let the game stay tied for long, as they took the lead back 48 seconds later. After a quiet few minutes, Freshman Cutter Gauthier decided he wanted in on the scoring. He scored the next two goals of the game, giving the Eagles the lead halfway through the second.
When everyone in Conte Forum thought they could relax, the scoring spree continued. After Gauthier’s second goal, the Terriers went on the attack, determined to tie the game once again. Eventually, they scored a goal to tie it at five goals apiece with seven minutes remaining in the period. In the final seven minutes, Connor Joyce scored the game’s only unassisted goal, and Trevor Kuntar scored on another power play to end the second.
When the dust settled in the second period, eight goals were scored and the Eagles led 7-5. Seemingly everyone in the building exhaled together and sat down to prepare themselves for what would surely be a continuation of the excitement that happened in the first 40 minutes.
The start of the third period was all about defense. Both teams locked down in the first 10 minutes until there was a power play opportunity for the Eagles. With the backup goalie in for the Terriers, Nikita Nesterenko scored off of a rebound that the Terriers couldn’t handle, essentially putting the game out of reach. The Terriers only had one goal in the final period, which happened with under two minutes left with their goalie pulled from the game. However, Christian O’Neill ensured there would be no comeback with an empty net goal in the final minute.
In the highest-scoring matchup between the Eagles and Terriers since 1986 when BC won 9-6, the defense was hard to come by. This has been the end that the Eagles have struggled the most this season, only shutting out one opponent. Even though they only allowed 36 shots, the Terriers scored on six of them. Giving up quality opportunities off of rebounds and losing track of your man will not work if this team wants to achieve the level of success they are capable of. Luckily, they have plenty of time left this season to improve on that end. While nine goals are impossible to maintain, if they can stay efficient and take advantage of power plays (BC went three for three against the Terriers), we can expect a great second half of the season.
Now, the Eagles take a break until December 30th, when they take on Arizona State in Tempe, Arizona.