Kevin Gilroy visits hospital Friday night, scores game-winning goal Saturday night

By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff

Saturday night, sophomore forward Kevin Gilroy scored his first goal of the season, a wrister right off a faceoff that proved to be the game-winner in BU’s 4-3 win at Northeastern, and that proved to be the shot that clinched home ice in the Hockey East playoffs.

Friday night, Gilroy left in the first period of BU’s 5-4 win and was taken to the hospital with what was believed to be a cracked rib and possibly a punctured lung.

“I took a hit near the blue line on like the first shift of the game,” Gilroy said. “They thought I cracked a rib. I was spitting up a little bit of blood. Then they thought I punctured my lung. I went to the hospital for a little bit and it ended up being nothing.”

Still, there was no way Gilroy was going to play Saturday night. Coach Jack Parker already had his lineup set to go Saturday morning, and it didn’t include Gilroy.

“I thought he wasn’t going to be able to play tonight,” Parker said. “I had already penned him out of the lineup. He showed up in the pregame skate and said, ‘I can play.’ I said, ‘Not according to the doctor.’ So I checked with the trainer and he told me, ‘Yeah, he can play.’

“So I went back to [Gilroy] and I said, ‘Are you sure you can take a hit?’ He said, ‘I’m playing. I can play.’ I said, ‘OK.’ Little did I know he was going to get me the winning goal.”

The fact that Parker had enough confidence to play Gilroy at less than 100 percent says quite a bit about the effort the North Bellmore, N.Y. native has put in over the last couple weeks. From Jan. 16 to Feb. 13, Gilroy was a healthy scratch in nine straight games.

He couldn’t crack the lineup when healthy, never mind cracking the lineup after nearly cracking a rib.

“He’s been in and out all year,” Parker said. “We’ve been trying to find third and fourth lines, and we seem to have found some pretty good combinations lately. Gilroy has played well and he deserves to stay in there.”

“I just worked hard during practice,” Gilroy said. “I talked to the guys who were playing and they just said, ‘Keep going. Keep going.’ My brother helped me out a lot to stay on track.”

Ah, yes. His brother. That would be three-time All-American, 2009 Hobey Baker Award winner and current New York Ranger Matt Gilroy.

“Matt just told me to keep playing,” Kevin Gilroy said. “‘Just believe in yourself and you’re going to get a shot eventually. And when it comes, you have to be ready to play. If you’re not ready to play, then it might never come again.’”

Saturday night, Gilroy was ready to play, bruised rib and all. He was ready when sophomore center Ross Gaudet drew the puck back on the faceoff. He was ready to beat everyone else to the loose puck. And he was ready to shoot it through a defender’s legs and into the back of the net.

“To get the goal is just a bonus,” Gilroy said.

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