Nearly 100 years after after their 1st meeting Boston College & Boston University renewed acquaintances for the 1st (of 3 definite) games this season. Both teams are on the young side, BC has 13 Freshman on their roster while BU has 10 and both have 7 Sophomores. BC has 0 Juniors and relies on 5 Seniors to lead its young squad. BU on the other hand has 5 Juniors and 3 Seniors to shoulder the experience load. Make no mistake though, both squads are stacked with talent, no matter the grade. 13 players from the 2 schools participated in the World Juniors tournament over the last few weeks.
Briefly, all fans in attendance put aside their collegiate loyalties to cheer on those 13 players as Boston University honored all 10 Gold medal winning Americans, 1 Silver winning Canadian, & 2 participating Finns. For the BU 8 it was their 1st game back in front of their home crowd. The lovefest was over once the BC starting line-up started to be announced.
The opening frame of this one was a fast paced physical affair. Both teams were buzzing around trying to crush the other. Anything less in this rivalry would be a disappointment. BU outshot BC 15-11 but there weren’t any real threats to get a puck past BC’s Fr Joe Woll or BU’s Fr Jake Oettinger. Both were back-up keepers on the US squad in Canada. Each team had had a man advantage but did nothing with it. A 4-on-4 opportunity @ 11:59 provided some flash but no scoring. The game was scoreless after 1.
The 2nd period saw all the scoring action. BU opened the festivities @ 3:47 with a Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson tip of a Dante Fabbro shot from the point. It was to be a short-lived lead for the Terriers as Patrick Curry was called for tripping @ 5:02. It only took BC :13 to tie the game, the amount of time for a BC face-off win and a crisp Tic Tac Toe pass from Casey Fitzgerald & Matthew Gaudreau to a wide open Colin White. He buried a shot from the low post to continue his hot streak. Not to be outdone by their recent World Jr teammates BU’s Jordan Greenway set up Clayton Keller for the GWG @ 7:10. Greenway’s strong forecheck caused a turnover behind the BC net, he picked up the lose puck and circled the net where he fed Keller out front for his 8th goal of the season. The remainder of the period was trading power plays, but it would end 2-1 Terriers.
The 3rd was more sloppy from a BU perspective. BC carried the play and outshot BU 12-5 but Oettinger was up to the task. BU looked to slow down and be more fatigued. Whether it was a change to a more defensive tactic or the toll of the World Jr’s catching up to the 6 skaters involved, BU was lucky to hold on. With Woll pulled from goal around the 1 minute mark, neither team was able to take advantage of their situation. This one would end in BU’s favor 2-1.
It was a fairly even tilt overall. Both teams ended the night with 33 shots, BC had the face-offs won category 30-27, and BU led the shots blocked tally, 23-11. The difference in the 2 squads may just come down to a more experienced Defenseman corps for BU. Other than that these two are pretty evenly matched. The 271st meeting went BU’s way but a return trip up Comm. Ave. awaits on Monday night @ BC’s Conte Forum. BC (9-2-1) sits atop Hockey East with a 5 point lead over their rivals but have 2 games in hand on BU (6-2-2) as we delve into the thick of Hockey East action. This year’s rubber match is an opening night battle at the TD Garden in the 65th Beanpot, on February 6. Which incidentally is the 99th Anniversary of the first time these two historic rivals faced off. Stay tuned…