By Tim Healey/DFP Staff
By the end of the game between the No. 13 Boston University men’s hockey team and No. 2/3 Boston College at Conte Forum Friday night, the crowd said it all.
“This is our house” chants rung loud and clear from the four-plus buses worth of BU (8-4-1, 6-3-1 Hockey East) students that made the trip up Commonwealth Avenue, a clear indicator of the Terriers’ 5-3 win over the Eagles (10-5-0, 7-3-0 Hockey East).
But that doesn’t mean it was pretty. The Terriers took 17 penalties – two more than their total amount of shots, 15 – allowed 45 shots on net and played as their usual, lackadaisical selves with a lead in the third period.
“Beat BC 5- for the second time in a row up there, you’d think we should be ecstatic about our team,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “Instead, it’s hard to watch . . . It was absolutely insane the way we played tonight. Nothing else that went on in that game compares to how stupid we were.”
After looking sluggish coming out of the gates, the Terriers got on the board on the power play at 10:15 thanks to sophomore forward Charlie Coyle. Sophomore forward Matt Nieto and junior defenseman Max Nicastro were credited with assists as Coyle slipped one right under the cross bar and by BC goaltender Parker Milner for the 1-0 lead.
The goal gave the Terriers a bit of momentum, which eventually led to another BU goal at 17:03, this time from red shirt freshman Yasin Cisse, his first point in a BU uniform. Cisse found a hole over Milner’s shoulder for the tally, which was assisted by freshman defenseman Alexx Privitera, who also picked up his first career point.
Offense wasn’t the only highlight, though, as team also killed two penalties – both from sophomore defenseman Garrett Noonan – to preserve the lead.
In the second, a period controlled by the Eagles, BU made what offense it could muster count. An unassisted Noonan goal – a slapper from near the blue line – at 13:21 put BU up 3-0, but was the only Terrier shot on goal of the period.
The goal-scoring blueliner continued his first-period trend by taking two of BU’s seven penalties in the second, tempting a struggling BC power pay.
Despite a 23-shot barrage on senior goaltender Kieran Millan, the Eagles couldn’t break through on the man-advantage until 16:59 when forward Bill Arnold found the back of the net.
Seconds later, the Eagles and their fans thought they netted another, but the no-goal call was upheld after the referees went to the replay. After a skirmish in front of the net that resulted in an Eagle on top of Millan, the puck ended up in the net – but only after the whistle blew.
BU picked it up in the third, thanks in large part to a five-minute penalty on forward Pat Mullane after he slammed freshman forward Evan Rodrigues into the boards head-first.
The Terriers took advantage when Rodrigues’ linemate, freshman Cason Hohmann, found a rebound at the right post and put in in for a 4-1 BU lead at 8:00. It was Hohmann’s first goal as a Terrier and was assisted by sophomore defenseman Adam Clendening and junior defenseman Sean Escobedo.
BC made it closer at 14:36 on a goal from defenseman Edwin Shea, but senior forward Corey Trivino effectively ended the game with an empty-net goal from the BU defensive zone to make it 5-2 at 16:57.
Second later, BC forward Barry Almeida made is 5-3 at 17:16 with a power-play goal, and much of the remaining time was one long scramble by BU. Junior assistant captain Alex Chiasson took a slashing penalty when the scored, and served two more minutes for tripping 20 seconds after he got out of the box.
Parker was disheartened at the amount of penalties BU committed – and frustrated with how BC handled itself.
“They’re diving all over the place,” Parker said. “I’m not blaming the referees. Diving is too difficult, is just too difficult for referees to figure out. But it happens. It’s unbelievable . . . Somebody else besides the referees is going to have to straighten that out.”
When it was all said and done, BU got the win, and a memorable one at that. It is the team’s fifth straight, it clinches the season series against the Eagles, and it gives them back-to-back wins against BC as visitors for the first time since the 1993-94 season.
“We didn’t play great tonight. We know that,” Millan said. “But we won, which is in the end all that matters.”