BOSTON -- Three goals in a span of 44 seconds midway through the third period lifted top-seeded Boston University to a stunning 3-2 win over sixth-seeded Boston College in the second semifinal of the 2009 Hockey East Championship Friday night at the TD Banknorth Garden. The Terriers move on to the championship game where they will face fifth-seeded UMass Lowell Saturday at 7 p.m. The final will be televised on NESN.
OTHER LINKS: Video highlights and features from the semifinals (Courtesy of NESN.com) - Postgame Quotes (PDF Format) - Jack Parker Audio (mp3) - Jerry York Audio (mp3) - Matt Gilroy and Colin Wilson Audio (mp3)
This is the ninth trip to the title game for Boston University (30-6-4) who have captured six Hockey East Championships with the last in 2006. The three-goal barrage stunned the Eagles (18-14-5), the two-time defending league champions and 2008 NCAA title-holder, in their bid to become the first sixth seed to win the Hockey East crown.
After BC took a 1-0 lead into the second intermission, the Terriers struck quickly with goals by Zach Cohen, Nick Bonino and Colin Wilson 44 seconds apart in the third to set a new Hockey East playoff record for the fastest three goals. Cohen, on assists from John McCarthy and David Warsofsky opened the string at 11:01 to tie the contest and 22 seconds later, Brian Strait gave BU a 2-1 advantage converting a feed from McCarthy. Wilson completed the three-goal strike at 11:45 with his 15th of the year with Jason Lawrence and Chris Higgins picking up assists.
The Eagles rallied with a goal by Joe Whitney, assisted by Anthony Aiello and Andrew Orpik, to trim the margin to 3-2 with 5:42 left in regulation. With BC goaltender John Muse on the bench for an extra attacker, BU kept the Eagles at bay and Ben Smith's last chance with two seconds left was wide of the mark.
Boston University had several good scoring chances in the first two periods of the tightly contested battle. BU's Vinny Sapornari saw his power play bid from the right side go just wide of Muse in the middle of the first and late in the period, Muse made a great stop on Joe Pereira at the goalmouth.
In the second, Muse stuck a pad out to stop Colin Wilson's low drive from the right side and on a power play, Jason Lawrence batted a rebound off the post. BU goalie Kieran Millan came up big sliding through the crease to stop Barry Almeida's backhander to keep the game scoreless.
At 17:50 of the second, the Eagles broke through when Smith redirected a rebound of a Brian Gibbons shot from the right circle past Millan. Anthony Aiello also picked up an assist on Smith's sixth goal of the campaign.
Boston University turned up the pressure in the third and on a power play just prior to its three-goal outburst, had several good shots from close range blocked by the Eagles defense prior to reaching Muse.
Millan finished with 21 saves and Muse had 18 as Boston College outshot its Commonwealth Avenue rivals, 23-21. Both teams were 0-for-5 with a man advantage including BU killing an early five-minute major penalty.
- Boston University set a tournament record for the quickest three goals by one team, when they scored three goals in 44 seconds (Cohen - 8:01, Strait - 11:22, Wilson - 11:45 ) - in the 3rd period
- The #1 seed has now advanced to the championship game in for the 18th time in tournament history in 25 years (72%)
- BU will face Lowell tomorrow in the HE Championship game for the 2nd time in history (other time: 1994 - 3-2 BU win)...The Terriers took the season series vs. Lowell going 3-0 vs. the River Hawks
- Ben Smith - Now ranks 3rd in career tournament scoring among active players w/6 g, 6 a = 12 points in 11 career games...He has scored in the last three tournament games at the TD BankNorth Garden
- Brian Gibbons - Recorded his team leading 19th assist tonight - ranks 2nd on the team in points w/28
- John Muse - Had his streak of 179:21 scoreless minutes streak (in HE tournament play at the TD BankNorth Garden) snapped when Z. Cohen scored at 11:01 of the third period
- BU advances to the championship game for the 9th time in history (last time: 2006)...They have gone 6-2 in the championship game
- BU is now 8-3 in tournament history vs. Boston College, including going 4-0 in one-goal games...BU is now 4-0-1 when their opponent outshoots them this season
- Colin Wilson - With his 3rd period goal became the first Terrier since C. Drury (97-98) to record 50 points in a season (Wilson 15 g - 35 a = 50 points)
- BU was held scoreless for the first 2 periods for only the 3rd time this season (others: 11/8/08 at UMA and 2/21/09 at NU
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11:15 p.m. Final thoughts: BU definitly had the crowd on its side. Many of the BC students stayed back to watch the men's basketball team, which was upset by USC. Millan wasn't forced to make many spectacular saves, but he made the saves when the Terriers needed them. Muse played very well for the Eagles, and they will now wait and see if they receive at at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament. The Terriers and River Hawks will face-off at 7 p.m. tomorrow night - BU seeks its first HE Championship since 2006 while the River Hawks try to becomes the lowest seed to ever win the tournament. Until then - you stay classy, and thanks for stopping by.
11:12 p.m. Muse never made it to the bench...he had to come back with Higgins bearing down. The Eagles finally got the extra attacker on with 34 seconds elft, and BU pinned the puck against the boards for the remaining seconds. A whistle was blown with 6.2 left, and BU fell on the ensuing faceoff. The Eagles managed to dig the puck out and fire one last shot on net, but Millan turned it aside. BC outshot the Terriers 23-21 on the evening and play solid defense all night. Jerry York will surely point to the 44 seconds in the third period where the Terriers jumped all over them.
11:11 p.m. Muse to the bench...
11:09 p.m. Great chances at both ends. After a great pass by Wilson through the crease was nearly put home by BU, the Eagles rushed up ice 3-on-2 and Smith wristed a shot that forced Millan to look behind him. 2:20 left...
11:07 p.m. 3:08 remaining, still 3-2 in favor of the red and white. TV timeout. The Eagles are doing their best to fire rubber at Millan.
11:02 p.m. The Eagles refuse to go down without a fight. Just seconds after their PP chance expired, Joe Whitney's low wrister from the right side beat Millan at 14:18. Orpik and Aiello pick up assists on the goal. 3-2 BU, 5:11 left.
11:01 p.m. We must give credit to former Hockey East intern Andrew Bartlett, who immediatly after the first BU goals turned to me and yelled 'Here come's another one!' Good man, that Andrew. Someone hire him, please.
10:59 p.m. The three goals in 44 seconds is the fastest three goals in HEA tournament history. I missed two of the three tryingt o type the first one into this blog - we're still getting caught up as BU's Luke Popko goes off for holding. 7:20 left in the third...
10:57 p.m. Jerry York has called timeout, which allows both the Terriers as well as myself to catch their breath. Three goals in 44 seconds for the Terriers. Cohen tied the game at 11:01, Strait made it 2-0 at 11:22, and Wilson's 15th of the season at 11:45 made it 3-1. Puck is about to drop, we might not be done!
10:55 p.m. And now it's 2-1 Terriers. Brian Strait's second of the year put them in front, and now Colin Wilson has scored to make it 3-1. He walked out of the right corner and fired a shot low to the blocker side.
10:53 p.m.PP is up for the Terriers, but they just tied the game on a goal from Zach Cohen. After being unable to convert on numerous chances with the man advantage, Cohen walked in front with a backhand and beat Muse.
10:52 p.m. Solid pressure from the Terriers, but they seem intent on making the extra pass instead of firing shots. Then again, the Eagles have done a great job all night of blocking shots, including several on this PP chance.
10:50 p.m. BU is going on the PP. They just had a series of shots in close that were blocked or turned aside by Muse. Tim Kunes is off for interference.
10:47 p.m. Gibbons just missed a tap-in off a great pass from Carl Sneep.
10:45 p.m. Undisciplined play by the Terriers may come back to haunt them tonight. Eric Gryba was just whislted for contact to the head - high-sticking. Another PP chance for the Eagles.
10:40 p.m. Five seconds left on the PP for the Eagles. Almeida just whiffed on a one-timer in the slot.
10:36 p.m. PP time is up for BC - I don't want to say BU is going to start taking chances right away, but BC has been extremely solid defensively tonight. Kevin Shattenkirk was just whistled for cross-checking, so BC goes back on the PP.
10:19 p.m. The period closes with BC in front 1-0. Shortly after Smith's goal, Saponari was sent off for BU, but the Eagles didn't get a shot on goal in the finals seconds. They start the third period with 34 seconds left on the PP.
10:15 p.m. Ben Smith gives BC a 1-0 lead. Brian Gibbons fired a shot from the left side that was batted into the air by Millan, and Smith knocked it out of mid-air and into the top right corner, over Millan's glove. The play was reviewed, and it stood up without much discussion.
10:11 p.m. Nick Bonino just stole the puck int eh right corner, walked out and fired a shot that was kicked out by Muse. He's really holding the fort and playing well.
10:05 p.m. We're more than halfway through regulation (no more overtime!). BU has had the better of the scoring chances, but BU is playing smart defense. Muse definitly looks strong tonight - Millan has not been tested much. BU is 0-for-4 on the power play, which to this point might be the key stat.
10:03 p.m. Lawrence just deflected a point shot off the post - not a shot on goal, but definitly the Terriers best chance to this point. The PP ends with the Terriers holding a 15-9 shot advantage (unofficially).
9:50 p.m. Back to the game...Matt Price is going off for holding. The Terriers PP looks much crisper this time around. Saponari was just stopped in close by Muse.
9:57 p.m. During the TV timeout, the crowd panned the crown and landed on one young lady, who rolled her eyes and looked as if you'd just been asked to the prom by the captain of the physics team. Her look drew several laughs from the workers in the press box.
9:55 p.m. BC has bocked several shots on the penalty kills. They are getting their sticks in the passing lanes and baking things difficult for the Terriers.
9:52 p.m. Interference is called on Orpik, so he makes his second trip to the box tonight. BU is 0-2 on the power play, but has looked strong with the man advantage.
9:47 p.m. Five minutes into the second period, no score. Wilson had a solid chance for BU but couldn't break the scoreless tie. John McCarthy just ripped a shot wide of the cage as well.
9:29 p.m. Period ends with donuts up for both sides. BU has had the better end of the offensive play, but BC is hanging tough with the No. 1 team in the country. Shots 9unofficially) are 9-7 in favor of the Terriers. Both teams are still playing a very physical brand of hockey. Back in 15...
9:26 p.m. Joe Pereira was just robbed in front by Muse. 2:48 left in the first and we're scoreless. Another classic BU/BC game in the HE playoffs...
9:22 p.m. Great drop pass to BU's Chris Connelly, who looked like he was going to rip a solid shot on net, but credit the BC defense for getting down and blocking the shot. 3:40 left...
9:19 p.m. PP chance is up, no real chances for the Terriers. Shots are even 5-5, and the play is pretty even right now.
9:15 p.m. Corey Trivino just fired a loose puck past Muse, but the whistle had blown after the official lost sight of the puck. We remain scoreless with 8:38 left, and the Terriers go back on the PP as Andrew 'don't call me Brooks' Orpik is off for obst-holding.
9;11 p.m. Luke Popko just got crunched by Brian Gibbons along the boards. This game is starting off very physical. BU's power play looks much smoother than BC's, but it were unable to score on its first man-advantage chance.
9:08 p.m. Fantastic save on Vinny Saponari in front by Muse. He slid left to right and stopped the hard shop from the freshman forward. The top PP unit is on for BU - Higgins, Wilson, and Lawrence...
9:06 p.m. The Terriers will get their first chance with the man advantage as Benn Ferriero is off for hitting from behind. TV timeout
9:03 p.m. The Terriers have killed it off, but lose Yip and his 38 points off their second line. Buse has yet to be tested while Millan looks steady early.
9:01 p.m. Another flurry around Millan, but BC is unable to poke the puck in. 1:41 left on the kill...
9:00 Barry Alneida just cut to his bandhand in front of Millan and missed an empty net. 2:09 left on the kill for BU.
8:59 p.m. Two minutes gone, no real chances yet for the Eagles...
8:55 p.m. Tim Filangieri was crushed into the boards to the left of BC's John Muse, and BU's Brandon Yip is gone. Five for hitting from behind and a game misconduct. Big chance early for the Eagles.
8:54 p.m. Brock Bradford of BC one-timed a shot from the point that skimmed the left post.
8:45 p.m. The lineups are being introduced. No surprises here - Muse in goal for BC, Millan for BU. (Note: I saw some of the UML staff downstairs, and they are estatic to be playing tomorrow night. For a program that was nearly done away with, this means a lot to them.)
8:18 p.m. After the thrilling 3-2 overtime win in the opening game by UMass Lowell, we are looking to get the nightcap started at about 8:50 p.m.