Boston University found themselves trailing St. Cloud State 3-2 with 16:31 remaining in the third period. Up to that point in the contest, there had been many memorable plays to report.
Dylan Peterson was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for boarding just over nine minutes into the game. Before the mid-way point of the opening period, BU had lost the player coach Albie O’Connell had praised as the team’s best player in their last contest. But the Terriers were able to kill off the five minutes, in large part to freshman goaltender Drew Commesso.
Right off the second period face off, Wilmer Skoog potted the game’s opening score off a feed from Terrier captain Logan Cockerill. But after that, the Huskies dictated play.
St. Cloud’s State’s first goal was crazy. Easton Brodzinski flipped the puck high into the air and it ended up right in front of the slot. All six Terriers on the ice, including Commesso, lost sight of the puck. But Micah Miller did not, and he promptly ripped home the equalizing score without any BU push back. Commesso’s head was still looking behind the goal line when the forward tied the contest.
Later in the second period, BU was again hemmed in their zone. In desperation, Cockerill fired the puck to the boards. But the puck found Nick Perbix’s stick who promptly fired an attempt. The shot deflected off Cockerill then Terrier defenseman Alex Vlasic to the net and in. A wild double deflection left BU both snake-bitten and trailing 2-1.
But the tide started to shift after the Terriers were given a chance on the man advantage. After setting up their attack, Jake Wise sniped home a score from the right circle, again knotting the score.
But St. Cloud immediately unknotted the contest, again, as no Terrier picked up Brodzinksi in the slot. The forward wristed home the eventual game-winner for the Huskies.
But at the start of the third period, the Terriers had a golden opportunity to seize momentum. Chase Brand elbowed Jay O’Brien in the head and was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct.
So, all of the fluky bounces, failed clear attempts and uncapitalized scoring opportunities could be wiped away if BU was able to find their rhythm on the man advantage. On the hunt for their third goal of the afternoon, Hobey Baker finalist, David Farrance led the rush up the ice. He crossed into St. Cloud’s zone with 4:23 left on the power play.
Before the game, any BU fan would have signed up for this situation. Only down one, practically an entire period left, Terriers at the start of a major penalty and the puck on Farrance’s stick in the Huskies offensive zone.
But unfortunately for BU, the next 4:23 was disastrous, and the reason why they did not move on to face Boston College the next evening in the NCAA tournament.
As Farrance glided below the goal line, his centering pass was deflected back to him. He then re-directed the puck to open space on the right point. But Jami Krannila saw a prime opportunity to make a play.
As if he was shot out of a cannon, the forward put his head down and busted down the ice after the coveted black rubber. After getting in front of Farrance, the race was on between him and Cockerill. Krannila got the puck first which caused Cockerill to trip him up trying his best to stop a prime short-handed bid.
But the referee deemed that Cockerill’s trip on Krannila warranted a penalty shot. While BU disagreed with this ruling, their cries fell on deaf ears. That left Krannila vs. Commesso to seize the momentum of the contest.
Krannila drifted up the ice and into BU’s zone. From the slot, just to the right of the far circle, he wristed home the insurance score. The shot beat Commesso glove side.
While this ended up being a massive play in the game, and appeared to thoroughly break BU’s spirits, the real truth is the Terriers were far from done. While it certainly was not ideal that St. Cloud had potted the uber rare short-handed penalty shot, the fact of the matter is BU still had over four minutes on the man advantage.
But for the rest of the major, BU squandered any chance of getting back into the contest. The power play was unable to either get speed through the neutral zone to capitalize on the rush or set up in the zone to get a cycle firing off. The Huskies were able to stifle the Terriers’ five-on-four attack and clear the puck time and time again.
Yes, Peterson getting disqualified was significant. Absolutely, the first two St. Cloud’s goals were full of Husky puck-luck. And definitely, the Krannila penalty shot score helped swing the tide in the contest.
But to just focus on Krannila’s unconventional short-handed score would be missing the forest for the trees. BU was still in a fine position to re-grab momentum by potting a power play score. They especially could have supplied pressure to the Huskies by immediately finding the back of the net.
You know, like how St. Cloud responded after Wise’s power play goal earlier in the contest.
The Terriers had a chance to show some much-needed mental toughness by collecting themselves and lighting the lamp on the major. Instead, they slipped back into bad habits that have plagued them for the last month-plus.
Krannila’s goal is not the reason St. Cloud moved on to face Boston College. The Terriers season is over because they were unable to respond after the short-handed score.