It was a tale of two halves in a classic Hockey East semifinal battle Friday night at Boston's TD Garden, as Boston University defeated Boston College, its most bitter rival, by a final score of 6-3. Trailing 2-0 and being heavily outplayed midway through the contest, the BU Terriers stormed back with three unanswered second-period goals and tagged on two more on the power play from freshman Danny O'Regan (Needham, Mass.) to seal it in the closing frame.
The first half was all Boston College, as the Eagles had chance after chance after chance to convert, but were stopped by either fate or by BU rookie netminder Sean Maguire (Powell River, B.C.) who finished with 45 total saves. Two of those chances did make it past Maquire, a shot from Bill Arnold (Needham, Mass.) that tipped off the stick of BU defenseman Garrett Noonan (Norfolk, Mass.) late in the first and a clinic tic-tac-toe play midway through the second that was finished off on a perfect backhanded shovel shot from Eagle sophomore Quinn Smith (Fairfield, Conn.)
But Quinn's score marked the definitive end of the BC momentum as the Terriers quickly got back-to-back goals on great individual efforts from sophomore Evan Rodrigues (Etobicoke, Ont.) and freshman Matt Lane (Rochester, N.Y.) to tie the game. Rodrigues' score was particularly impressive as he took the puck at center ice, spun backwards over the blueline as he bounced off a bodycheck, evaded an aggressive poke check from Smith, and finally launched a high wrister from the left dot that lasered into the upper part of the net behind BC senior stopper Parker Millner (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Just two minutes later, Lane (Rochester, N.Y.) got Millner to open the five-hole on a clean solo breakaway up the left side. It was justice for Lane who had an earlier breakaway chance nullified when he was judged to have collected the breakout pass with a high stick. Millner was able to deftly turn aside two more BU breakaway attempts in the closing minutes of the period, but yielded BU's third goal to Noonan, who was perched at the far right goal line on a late BU power play and managed to snipe in a pass from the point from Matt Grzelcyk (Charlestown, Mass.) before Millner could close the door.
O'Regan potted two power play goals early in the third to make it 5-2 BU, the first a turn-and-shoot from the high slot that made its way just over Millner's outstretched left leg pad. BC's Steven Whitney (Reading, Mass.) made it 5-3 late in the period with a seeing eye shot chipped over Maguire's shoulder from just five feet down the right goal line, but it was too little, too late for the Eagles.
With the victory, Boston University advances to its 10th Hockey East championship game, seven of which the Terriers have won. Saturday's title game opponent is top seed UMass Lowell, who had previously advanced to just two Hockey East final games, both losses to BU, in 1994 and again in 2009. The win also extended the 40-year career of legendary BU head coach Jack Parker by at least one more game. Parker announced his upcoming retirement two weeks ago, and Friday's semifinal will mark the final time he faced his archrival Boston College unless the two happen to meet in this year's NCAA tournament.
- BU senior captain Wade Megan skated in his 150th career game on Friday night
- Boston University is 16-‐1-‐0 this year when leading after two periods and 34-‐2-‐0 over the last two seasons; Boston College is 1-‐10-‐0 when trailing through 40 minutes
- The two schools have met 262 times in the all-‐time series dating back to Feb. 6, 1918 and faced one another for the 12th time in the Hockey East playoffs
- Boston College's penalty kill had a streak of 18 straight kills snapped in the second period on Garrett Noonan's tally
- BC has scored at least one power play goal in each of its last five contests, netting a total of seven power play tallies over that span
- The Terriers have won five consecutive games and seven of their last eight
- The Eagles' six-‐member senior class dropped its first game in the Hockey East Tournament in 15 outings after entering the night at 14-‐0
- Boston College suffered just its second loss of the season after scoring first
- BC allowed five unanswered goals in a game for the first time since Dec. 30, 2012 in a 8-‐1 loss at Minnesota in the Mariucci Classic
- Jack Parker, who is set to retire after 40 years behind the BU bench, has led the Terriers to seven tournament titles and 10 championship game appearances
- All eight of Quinn Smith's goals this season have come since Jan. 19, and four of his 13 points have been recorded at TD Garden
- Evan Rodrigues has 11 goals over the last 22 games
- 16 different players recorded at least one point on Friday
- Saturday night's championship game between BU and UMass Lowell will mark the eighth title game matchup between the No. 1 and No. 3 overall seeds and the first since 2006 when BU beat BC 2-‐1 in overtime
- No. 3 seeds are 3-‐9 in 12 previous title games and have not won in 14 years
- Boston College will see a streak of three straight Hockey East championships end
- Since 2004, the championship game has featured either BC or BU every year
1-0 BC PP Goal 18:33
Goal: Bill Arnold (24)
Assists: Steven Whitney (21), Johnny Gaudreau (13)
(+) - 21,24,13,5,11
(-) - 5,13,18,7
After Johnny Gaudreau won a battle along the boards in his defensive zone, and moved the puck to Steven Whitney. Whitney found Bill Arnold streaking down the right side, as Arnoldʼs wrist shot beat Sean Maguire to give the Eagles a power play goal.
2-0 BC Goal 8:46
Goal: Quinn Smith (27)
Assists: Pat Mullane (11), Patrick Brown (23)
(+) - 27,11,7,3,23
(-) - 15,28,7,23,4
Isaac MacLeod dug the puck out his defensive zone, found Pat Mullane who sent a perfect pass through the slot to Quinn Smith. Smith deflected the puck passed Sean Maguire from just outside the crease for Boston Collegeʼs second goal of the game. 2-1 BU Goal 12:17
Goal: Evan Rodrigues (17)
Assist: Patrick MacGregor (4)
(+) - 17,13,10,4,19
(-) - 27,11,21,5,6
Patrick MacGregor recovered the puck behind his own net, and found Evan Rodrigues at the BU blue line. Rodrigues carried the puck up the right side and beat Parker Milner blocker side to bring the Terriers within a goal.
2-2 BU Goal 14:21
Goal: Matt Lane (23)
(+) - 23,8,5,3,16
(-) - 5,10,23,18,9
Off a defensive zone faceoff, Matt Lane took the puck off Danny Linellʼs stick at the blue line. Lane rushed on a breakaway and beat Parker Milner to even the score, 2-2. The goal was the Terriers second strike within 2:04.
3-2 BU PP Goal 17:59
Goal: Garrett Noonan (13)
Assists: Matt Grzelcyk (5), Cason Hohmann (7)
(+) - 13,5,28,7,18
(-) - 18,7,23, 6
Cason Hohmann possessed the puck along the board and found Matt Grzelcyk at the left point. Grzelcyk propelled a pass through the slot to Garrett Noonan. Noonan onetimed the puck passed Parker Milner to give BU their first lead of the game, 3-2.
4-2 BU PP Goal 1:42
Goal: Danny OʼRegan (10)
Assists: Ahti Oksanen (3), Matt Nieto (19)
(+) - 10,3,15,19,17
(-) - 21,5,3,11
Matt Nieto passed the puck to Ahti Oksanen at the BC blue line. Oksanen then found Danny OʼRegan in the slot, who buried the shot passed Parker Milner to give BU the 4-2 lead. The score marks the Terriers second power play goal of the contest.
5-2 BU PP Goal 8:57
Goal: Danny Oʼ Regan (10)
Assists: Ryan Santana (15), Matt Nieto (19)
(+) - 10,19,17,3,15
(-) - 10,19,17,3,15
Matt Nietoʼs blast from the right point left an unclaimed rebound in front of Parker Milner, which bounced off of Ryan Santana. Danny Oʻ Regan slammed the rebound home to give the Terriers a 5-2 lead and their third power play goal of the game.
5-3 BC Goal 13:43
Goal: Steven Whitney (21)
Assists: Pat Mullane (11)
(+) - 21,10,7,13,24
(-) - 16,13,8,4,23
After Pat Mullane dumped the puck behind the BU goal, Steven Whitney pounced on the rebound and beat Sean Maguire over his left shoulder. The goal cut the BU lead to 5-3.
6-3 BU EN Goal 17:31
Goal: Rodrigues (17)
(+) - 17,28,2,3
(-) - 24,27,5,11,13,21
Evan Rodrigues picked up the puck and fired it into the empty net from the opposite zone faceoff circle. The goal was a shorthanded tally, while BC had a two man advantage with the empty net.
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