By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff
It had everything you could ever expect from a game between Boston University and Boston College –– fast pace, lots of scoring chances, great saves, plenty of physical play, a raucous crowd and an overtime to boot.
When junior defenseman Colby Cohen’s slap pass from the left point deflected off freshman defenseman Brian Dumoulin’s skate and into the back of the BC net a minute into that overtime, the Terrier faithful who made the trip to the other end of Comm. Ave. exploded in jubilation. The Conte Forum regulars either sunk sullenly in their seats or turned in haste for the exits.
Regardless of rooting interests, everyone had to marvel at the rollercoaster game that had just ended. BU (8-10-3, 6-8-2 Hockey East) and No. 10/11 BC (12-7-2, 9-5-2) split four goals in the first. Then the Terriers took control in the second and carried a two-goal lead into the third, only to have the Eagles make a frantic comeback and tie the game with less than six minutes to go.
But BU didn’t break. The Terriers survived the final few minutes, and then took advantage of a late BC penalty with Cohen’s goal, his second overtime winner this season, his fifth goal in the last five games and BU’s third power-play goal of the night.
“That was an unbelievable college hockey game with the opportunities going both ways and great goaltending by both goalies,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “I thought that both teams played extremely well. I think this is the best game we’ve been involved in all year.”
The Terriers made it 1-0 with a power-play goal on a sloppy line change by BC at the 6:20 mark of the first. The two Eagle forwards were slow to get off the ice, and sophomore defenseman David Warsofsky took advantage by rushing down the left wing and ripping a slapper top shelf for his sixth goal of the season.
BC answered a little more than six minutes later on a power play of its own. Senior forward Ben Smith held the puck at the right side of the BU cage before sliding a pass to a wide-open Cam Atkinson in the slot. The sophomore forward promptly fired a shot through that beat sophomore goalie Kieran Millan (career-high 42 saves) five-hole.
The Eagles took the lead with 2:55 to go in the period. Just as a BU penalty was expiring, freshman forward Pat Mullane threw a shot on net from the right circle. Millan made the initial pad save, but freshman forward Chris Kreider pulled the rebound away from a pile in front and buried it into the left side of the net for his third collegiate goal.
But BU came right back and knotted the score with under a minute to go in the first frame. After Millan made a big kick save on senior forward Matt Lombardi’s breakaway attempt, sophomore forward Vinny Saponari finished at the other end by batting a rebound out of the air and into the net.
The Terriers put up another two-spot in the second period while Millan made a number of big saves to keep BC off the board in the middle frame.
“I thought Kieran Millan was the star of our game,” Parker said. “He made some big saves, played with poise.”
Freshman forward Wade Megan made it 3-2 3:27 into the stanza when he stole the puck off sophomore defenseman Malcolm Lyles’ stick, walked out front and beat freshman goalie Parker Milner (26 saves) with a backhander for his third goal of the season. He now has five points in his last four games.
With 2:58 to go in the period, a BC defensive breakdown on the penalty kill allowed junior forward Nick Bonino to make it a two-goal lead. A faceoff to the left of Milner resulted in a loose puck in the corner that Bonino grabbed from between two defenders. He took it to the front and backhanded it through Milner’s legs for his sixth marker of the season.
BC started its comeback 2:13 into the third when Kreider deposited a centering pass for his second of the game. Kreider then made another big play to set up the Eagles’ tying goal. As the puck came toward the front of the Terrier net, he lifted junior defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk’s stick, allowing the puck to go right to freshman forward Pat Mullane, who buried it from point-blank range for the power-play tally.
Game Notes: With the win, BU has now taken the Hockey East regular-season series from its archrival for the second straight year. It’s the first time the Terriers have won the season series in back-to-back years since winning three in a row from 1992-1995. … The Terriers now have sole possession of sixth place in the conference with 14 points. … Parker started the game with junior Joe Pereira on the top line and Saponari on the third line. He switched them early in the second period and said that he’ll keep Saponari on the top line for Saturday’s game against the University of New Hampshire. … Parker said he hadn’t yet decided who would start in goal Saturday.