NCAA rules may dictate that freshman forward Wilmer Skoog’s double-overtime game-winner won’t count towards season statistics, but he may never score a more significant goal in his life.
The Terriers (10-8-7, 7-4-5 Hockey East) clawed back from two goals down in the third period to take a late lead in Monday night’s Beanpot semifinals, and after No. 4 Boston College (16-7-1, 10-5 Hockey East) equalized in the final minute of regulation, Skoog came up with the deciding goal 7:20 into a second frame of overtime.
It was a game BU’s midseason addition will never forget.
“It’s the biggest game I’ve ever played,” Skoog said. “I was just super happy.”
Boston College jumped in front with two quick goals from sophomore forward Patrick Giles and freshman forward Alex Newhook within the opening eight minutes before BU senior forward Patrick Curry got one back for his team-leading 15th goal of the season.
Senior forward David Cotton restored BC’s two-goal lead with 2:12 left to play in the second period, and in the ensuing intermission, the trailing Terriers rallied around their leaders.
Senior forward Patrick Harper, one of BU’s three assistant captains, said the team talked in the locker room about playing to the final buzzer and winning it for their seniors.
“We just spoke about resiliency and doing it for the guys who only have one Beanpot left,” Harper said.
Harper helped the Terriers turn the tides with 7:24 left in the third period on a net drive that set up junior defenseman David Farrance to end his six-game scoreless streak, and 70 seconds later, Farrance returned the favor to assist Harper’s game-tying snipe from the slot.
To Terrier head coach Albie O’Connell, the comeback was all about the veterans, like Harper and Farrance.
“The leadership group stepped up and got the guys going in the right direction,” O’Connell said in the post-game press conference, who was previously 0-3 at the TD Garden as a head coach.
BC head coach Jerry York said the Eagles made mistakes that allowed BU to get back into the game.
“We had a good lead there with eight minutes left, and we took an unnecessary penalty, which gave them some life,” York said.
The come-from-behind third period effort nearly pushed BU to a win in regulation after freshman forwards Trevor Zegras and Robert Mastrosimone combined to give BU its first lead of the game with 1:42 left, but Cotton struck again inside of the final minute to send the game to overtime.
With the Eagles and Terriers knotted up at 4-4, five minutes of NCAA-mandated overtime couldn’t separate the two teams, and Beanpot rules took effect, setting up an additional 20 minutes of sudden-death overtime on a clean sheet of ice.
Reverting to tournament rules meant that statistics within the second overtime would not be factored into the NCAA’s official totals, but when Skoog buried the loose puck in front, the only numbers that mattered were on the scoreboard, which read 5-4, BU.
O’Connell said BU found an extra gear in the final minutes, and that made all the difference.
“We came out looking to win, and the guys did a good job of getting chances,” O’Connell said. “It was a huge win for the team.”
The Terriers will move on to face Northeastern University (15-7-2, 8-6-1 Hockey East) in the 2020 Beanpot Championship next Monday, but first, they will host Merrimack College (6-18-3, 4-10-3 Hockey East) in Hockey East play on Friday night.