GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The ninth-ranked Boston University men’s ice hockey team had its season come to a close on Friday evening, dropping a 5-1 contest to No. 10 Michigan State in the first round of the NCAA Midwest Regional at Van Andel Arena. The Terriers struck first with an early tally, but the Spartans rattled off five unanswered goals, including three in the second period, to come away with the victory. BU finishes the year with a record of 20-10-9.
Sophomore Tim Crowder scored two goals, including the game winner, for the Spartans, while junior Ryan Weston registered BU’s lone goal.
In goal, sophomore Jeff Lerg made 27 stops for MSU, while senior John Curry recorded 21 saves in his final collegiate game for the Terriers.
Michigan State, who improves to 23-13-3, advances to Saturday’s regional final against top-ranked Notre Dame in a match-up of CCHA teams. The Fighting Irish escaped an upset with a 3-2 double-overtime victory against Alabama-Huntsville in the evening’s first game.
The Terriers were hurt by penalties, racking up 42 minutes, including game misconducts to senior Tom Morrow and freshman Luke Popko.
After anxiously waiting to hit the ice, the Terriers came out energized and recorded the game’s first six shots on goal. BU was rewarded for its strong start, using a goal in transition from Weston to get on the board first at the 6:05 mark.
Freshman Luke Popko kick-started the play, clearing the puck out of the BU zone with a pass to sophomore Matt Gilroy. Weston waited at the blue line for Gilroy and then received a great feed just inside the right faceoff circle. The junior attacked the cage and backhanded a shot that went off Lerg before sneaking past the goal line.
After matching penalties created a 4-on-4 situation 12 minutes in the first, the Spartans drew another penalty to get a 4-on-3 advantage. Just nine seconds later, sophomore Tim Kennedy backhanded his own rebound past Curry to knot the game at the 12:51 mark.
MSU took a lead it wouldn’t relinquish in the early moments of the second, as Crowder knocked in a pass on the doorstep of the cage at the 1:11 mark with assists from Kennedy and senior Tyler Howells.
The Spartans took a 3-1 lead just over four minutes later when freshman Jay Sprague poked in a rebound and then capped their three-goal period at the 17:19 mark on a tally by junior Daniel Vukovic.
BU held a 24-20 edge in shots after the first two periods, but needed to score early in the third to have any hopes for a comeback. Unfortunately for the Terries, Lerg was sharp in between the pipes, stopping the final 20 shots he faced.
MSU sealed its victory with 11:56 left in regulation when a long pass from junior Jeff Dunne created a breakaway for Crowder, who slipped a shot past Curry to complete his two-goal night.
The game marked the final contest for Curry and fellow seniors Morrow, Kenny Roche, Kevin Schaeffer, Sean Sullivan and Eric Thomassian. The class turned in 81 wins during its four years with the BU program. Curry’s career marks in save percentage (.923) and goals against average (2.07) are school records.