Terriers, Eagles set for Battle of Comm Ave in front of fans for the first time since February 2020

For the first time since February 29 2019, the Boston University Men’s Hockey Team will lace up their skates to take on the cross-town rival Boston College Eagles in front of a packed Agganis Arena crowd at home. The last time the two teams met, the Terriers took down the then No. 1 Eagles 3-1 at Walter Brown Arena in front of a limited COVID crowd, after falling in overtime the night before.

The Green Line rivalry dates back over 100 years to the teams’ first meeting in February 1918, when the Eagles took down the brand new Division I hockey team down the road at Boston Arena. Since then, the Battle of Comm Ave has seen 290 goals, 284 puck drops, and plenty of tournament play. 

As both teams celebrate their respective 100th seasons, this home matchup is one to set the tone heading into the mid-year break. The programs are nearly identical, with 100 years of conference play, five national championships and three Hobey Baker Award winners to each. The only areas in which BU has an edge is in NCAA tournament appearances with BU cracking into the bracket 37 times to BC’s 36 and NHLers, with BC having 78 former players turn professional to BU’s 83. 

Despite the similarities, the rivalry is undoubtedly one of the highlights of any Terrier’s BU Hockey career, whether in a regular season game or on the big stage of the Beanpot or an NCAA national championship game.  

“You have a big responsibility to represent yourself, your university, the people who came before you,” former Terrier Captain Matt Gilroy said in an interview October 4. “When you get to skate every Friday or Saturday night at Agganis, and then you get to play in Beanpots and national championships. It’s just so special and to do it for your school, the history of the program; it’s just every night you put that on you feel it.”

When BU and BC last met on February 6 2021, the Eagles had sat at the top of the US College Hockey Organization’s DI Men’s Poll for four weeks, with the Terriers inching closer to the top in the 15th slot. In a year that was anything but normal, the Eagles relied on star goaltender Spencer Knight in their net, along with then-sophomore sensations Matt Boldy, Mike Hardman, and Alex Newhook. After falling to St. Cloud State in the second round of the Northeast Regional last March, all of the aforementioned stars turned in their Eagle jerseys for professional ones, heading to the Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild, Chicago Blackhawks, and Colorado Avalanche, respectively.

Without Knight in net, the Eagles have turned to senior Eric Dop to take over the crease. The Lewis Center, Ohio transfer student has a 6-4-2 record so far, with a 2.56 goals against average and a .90 save percentage, just slightly above Knight’s 2.18 GAA and .932 sv%. Leading the Eagle’s offense right now is veteran forward Jack McBain with 19 points on nine goals and 10 assists in 14 games. The assistant captain scored a hat trick in his second game of the season.

Despite impressive numbers from their seniors with Brandon Kruse, Jack St. Ivany, and Captain Marc McLaughlin each with 13 points, the Eagles have struggled compared to last season. In their first 14 games last year, BC went 11-2-1 vs their current overall record of 7-5-2, in the grand scheme of a struggling Hockey East league.

Things aren’t necessarily brighter on the other side of Comm Ave. however, as the Terriers had their worst start to a season since 2000-2001. Despite going four straight weeks without a regulation win, BU seems to have turned their game around, most recently sweeping the University of New Hampshire Wildcats 3-1 and 2-1 thanks to goals from veteran players.

“We’ve had better systems today than we’ve had in the past,” senior captain Logan Cockerill said after scoring in the Friday night victory on October 3. “I just think us realizing as a group what winning hockey looks like and how we can start to implement it consistently- that’s gonna be big for us.”

The Terriers continue to lean on their sophomore and junior classes for the majority of their offensive production. Wilmer Skoog and Domenick Fensore lead the way with 13 points each, thanks to six goals and seven assists from the forward and two goals and 11 assists from the defenseman. Also worth noting is junior Case McCarthy who is having his best season to date. McCarthy was recently named Hockey East Defenseman of the Month for November, and has 11 points to show for it.

Protecting the BU crease is sophomore starter Drew Commesso. Despite giving up six goals to the Cornell Big Red two weeks ago, Commesso came into the UNH series poised, making 55 saves and only allowing two goals all weekend. Despite having better stats last season, Commesso’s 2.82 GAA and .90 sv% is still something the Terriers can always rely on.

“I thought he [Commesso] stood tall when he needed to. He closed the door in the third and made a couple of key saves, and I thought managed the game,” Head Coach Albie O’Connell said October 3.

Heading into a rivalry weekend, the Terriers will aim to play the way they did in the UNH series. “That was a taste of winning hockey, even though, you know, it wasn’t a 6-1 game. It’s winning hockey,” Cockerill said. If the Terriers can pull out a win on Friday, they’ll be in a much better place heading into the break

BU and BC will drop the puck at Agganis Arena on December 10 at 7:30pm. Follow @BOSHockeyBlog on Twitter for updates throughout the week and for live coverage of the game Friday night.

9 thoughts on “Terriers, Eagles set for Battle of Comm Ave in front of fans for the first time since February 2020”

    • U also said that about Huskies and umass and so on at this point u will get one ot these pridictions right.. I like your energy.. .. Why even bother buddy..

    • Ozzie they can’t go 0-2 they are only playing 1 game this weekend.Saturday is a scrimmage which I would assume be full of guys who don’t usually play much as it should be. I always respect bc they have a legendary coach and hard working players. As much as I respect them I don’t fear them we can definitely beat them. The key to the game is do the little things and control your emotions. Bu has to eliminate going to the box and if you go take someone with you. I don’t want to see the slash after the whistle called for 2 . Take a number hit the guy clean.

      Having O’Brien back in line up as I expect will definitely help the offense the kid is very gifted. He hustle’s makes plays and is always involved in the play. I think the kids feed off his energy.

      Some of our other forwards had good games I think they will continue to build off of that this weekend. Agganis should be rocking Friday go bu 🐾

  1. All I am saying is that they are playing two games this weekend. Call Saturdays game what ever you want but someone will be a winner. Last time we played the U18 team it went to a shootout.
    So I still say 0-2

  2. Cockrill Amontee and KaUfmin on the same line tonite? BU needs to spred the leadership across the lineup, thats why theres no dissaplin with the young guys

  3. 2-0 lead going into the 3rd, and no win. Unreal, but not really surprising.

    Side note: why does #7 just keep letting the opposing forwards just walk around him and score. This has happened over and over in recent games. The coaches should be all over him about this. Keep your eyes on the middle of the puck handler’s chest and take the body. Don’t stare at the puck and wave at it like you’re swatting flies. That’s how the puck ends up in the back of your own net. This is basic stuff. Unforced errors continue to plague this team. No excuses.

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