Monday, December 3, 2012

Weekend Recap: BU/BC split

The first weekend of December is always a big weekend for college hockey in Boston. It is the weekend that BU and BC face off in their home and home series. It is usually an evenly matched weekend as the teams are 37-37-4 now since Jerry York took over at BC in 1994. Both teams came into the weekend ranked top 10 nationally and both seem destined for the NCAA tournament once again this season unless they collapse in the second half. From the puck drop Friday night until the final whistle Saturday, there was no love lost between the teams and the fans. There were was plenty of shoving before and after the whistle and it made for a great atmosphere both nights.

Friday night, BU played one of their best games of the season. The first period went scoreless and I thought the chances were pretty even for both sides. Both goalies played very well at the beginning of this game and that showed as the first goal was not scored until 9 minutes into the second period when BU's Garrett Noonan did his best baseball swing impression and knocked a puck out of mid-air into the open net after an Evan Rodrigues rush. Evan Rodrigues made it 2-0 seven minutes later with a snipe from the right slot that beat Parker Milner high glove side. BC responded less than 40 seconds later with a Pat Mullane goal. BC wouldn't generate much more for the rest of the night until they had a 6 on 3 late in the game. BU sealed control of the game early in the third when freshman dman Matt Grzelcyk took a rush into the zone and just kept skating scoring on a wrap around. He literally out-skated the entire BC defense and goalie Parker Milner. Wade Megan scored his eighth of the year late to seal the game for the Terriers and hand Jerry York his 559th career loss. The final ended 4-2 as Johnny Gaudreau added a late goal and Ben Rosen had an empty net goal taken away because the referees could not figure out the right amount of guys on the ice.

The game got chippy at the conclusion as there was shoving after the whistle and BU's Alexx Privitera was given a game misconduct with a minute remaining from the penalty box. He appeared unhappy with Johnny Gaudreau's flop to give BC the late powerplay. On Friday night, Gaudreau and Bill Arnold were up to their usual tactics of being "light on their skates". Arnold's dive at the conclusion of the second period was horiffic and somehow was not called. BU goalie Matt O'Connor had a great game in net for the Terriers and earned the nod again Saturday night for his effort.

Saturday night was a different type of game as BC came out flying on their home ice out down in Newton. BC was buzzing right away and had a few good chances, including a disallowed goal before Teddy Doherty put them on the board midway through the first. BU rebounded nicely from the early assault and tied it up on a Cason Hohmann powerplay goal from Sahir Gill and Wade Megan. More importantly, penalty minutes were tied at the end of 1. They would not stay that way.

In the second period, penalty minutes were 12-4 in favor of BC which resulted in two 5 on 3 powerplays and 3 powerplay goals for the Eagles. In a game, that was evenly matched in the first, the referees decided to take over and dictate the game. This is not to say it is the reason for the loss as BC played better than BU did but the referees did not have a good night either. The turning point in the second for me was when BU F Evan Rodrigues didn't score on a breakaway and BC then scored twice on their second 5 on 3 of the period. The penalty kill did not perform well, which was most likely due to how much time they spent on it in the period. BU was on the PK over half of the second period. At the end of 2 period, it was a 4-1 BC lead and the game was in their control.

The third period was mostly uneventful as the penalty minutes went down and BC held on for a 5-2 win and took the season series 2-1. Evan Rodrigues put in his third of the year for BU in the third but it was too little too late. The team once again played hard until the end,but the execution was not there to pull off any type of comeback. The one positive for the game was that Johnny Gaudreau's point streak was broken and he took 3 penalties. BU now sits at 8-5-0 on the season and 5th overall in the Pairwise rankings. Thursday is another important game as they face the most likely new #1 team in the country in UNH.  It is a must win if they want to stay in the fight for the Hockey East title.

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