David Quinn said it was typical of a Boston University-Boston College game. Jerry York said it capped off a “good college hockey weekend.”
The standings will say it was a tie.
In about as evenly matched a game as you’ll see, No. 10 BU and No. 4 BC skated to a 1-1 tie in the second game of a home-and-home series.
The Terriers gained a lead midway through the second period with a goal from senior captain Matt Grzelcyk and looked poised to come away with a win, but BC forward Ryan Fitzgerald knotted things up with a bar-down strike with 2:05 left in the third period.
Back-and-forth action with a lot of chippy play made this one a fun and exciting one to watch. We’ll break down the 65 minutes in this Pluses and Minuses.
Oh captain my captain
Injuries have limited Grzelcyk to just 10 games this year — less than half of BU’s total number.
But that’s been really the only thing getting in the way of BU’s (11-7-4, 5-4-3 Hockey East) captain, because when he’s been on the ice, he’s been a solid force at the blue line.
With the game scoreless on Saturday night, Grzelcyk was in perfect position to redirect a shot from senior assistant captain Danny O’Regan past Thatcher Demko. It was Grzelcyk’s seventh goal of the season and 12th point in his 10 games played.
He played well on the defensive side, too, staying on his assignments and closing any gaps. Now that Grzelcyk’s getting healthier and more playing time, Quinn said he’ll continue to be a force on both ends of the ice.
“I think he’s the best defenseman in college hockey,” Quinn said, “and when you add that to your lineup, you have a whole different look and I don’t know what our record is with him but I bet it’s a lot better than without him so he makes everybody on that D corps better, he makes everybody up front better and we’re just glad to have him.”
Maguire stands tall
Not much separated senior goaltender Sean Maguire from a shutout, but a well-placed BC (15-4-3, 8-1-3, Hockey East) screen and shot ended any chance of that. But that’s not to say Maguire didn’t play well.
The senior was in good position all night, making a few terrific saves to stop BC odd-man rushes. In all, Maguire finished with 38 saves. Sarah will have more on his game in her sidebar.
Penalty kill comes through
Less than 22 hours after a power-play goal decided Friday night’s fate, the Terriers got a chance to right the ship on the penalty kill.
Freshman forward Jordan Greenway and sophomore defenseman John MacLeod were called for successive penalties halfway through the first period, and BU was forced to kill of an extended 5-on-3. The penalty-unit came up big, as it did the other three times on the night, going 5-for-5.
It wasn’t as if BC didn’t have chances on goal (eight power-play shots), but the Terriers limited grade-A shots, and the ones that were good opportunities, Maguire was generally there to make the stops.
“I liked the fact that we backchecked a lot,” Quinn said, “we did a better job coming back and they didn’t get as much out of it as last night so baby steps and they’re a fast team, that’s the strength of their team, their speed up front and they work hard so we’re a work in progress and I thought we did a lot of good things tonight.”
Making it tough on Maguire
As noted before, Maguire was on his game from start to finish. However, his defense didn’t make his life easy. BC had numerous odd-man rushes — like the 2-on-1 in the second period that forward Colin White nearly scored on — and 39 total shots.
There were sequences in the game, which York even said afterward, where both teams sort of lost their way and let the opposition get good shots at the net. It wasn’t as if this happened the whole game, but if Maguire hadn’t been playing so well, the score might have been different.
0-fer on the power play
BU’s penalty kill was good and BC’s matched up just as well.
Like the Eagles, BU had five opportunities with the man advantage but could not convert. The first two opportunities for the Terriers looked good, though they didn’t score. The problems came after those first two tries, as the Eagles made life tough in the neutral zone on BU entries.
The power play wasn’t awful, but a goal with a man up could have gone a long way.
Fortunato to the box… again
For 60 games, sophomore defenseman Brandon Fortunato never once sat in the penalty box. In back-to-back games against BC, Fortunato became much more acquainted with the sin bin.
Fortunato took his second penalty of his collegiate career on Saturday with a holding call in the second period.
“Yeah, he probably won’t dress next Friday,” Quinn said jokingly after the game. “I don’t know … the penalty he took tonight, that was a strange call, but we all make mistakes.”