By Brian Foisy
In a scene not unlike a midnight opening of Best Buy on Black Friday, streams of Terrier faithful sprinted up the stairs towards their seats when Agganis Arena opened Friday night. Instead of going on the hunt for a new PlayStation or a sick deal on AirPod Pros, these shoppers were in pursuit of something maybe a little more valuable –– a prime seat for the first game of this weekend’s Battle of Comm Ave series.
Friday’s game was the first time this series would be played at Agganis without the former head ice hockey coach of Clarkson University, Jerry York.
Yes, the BC Eagles are now without their program’s equivalent of Emperor Palpatine, and just like at the end of the first Star Wars trilogy, the transition hasn’t been so smooth. What would be the equivalent of BU blowing up the Death Star? Wilmer Skoog hitting a Michigan so hard that Conte Forum fell over?
The sprinting BU students were occasionally stopped by some Agganis Arena staff telling them not to run, much like lifeguards at a waterpark. When they reach the fan section, high levels of somewhat unseemly spot-saving begin. I guess the game plan for some friend groups was to send two representatives to save a whole row of seats while the others slowly make their way to Agganis.
When the second wave of students began trickling in, most prime seats were already gone. Front-row seats are taken up by some senior members of the Dog Pound, tasked with wallpapering the glass with memes and posters taunting Boston College.
A major subplot of the fan section experience Friday was the edict by Agganis Arena and/or BU Athletics that profane chants and general disrespectful tomfoolery be kept to a dignified minimum. Earlier that day, the Dog Pound had posted a warning to their fans on Instagram.
“We’ve been informed that staff at tonight’s game will be implementing a profanity policy,” the statement said. “We don’t want anyone to get kicked out so let’s avoid chants such as “f*** bc” and anything else of that nature.”
When both teams took the ice, it was hard not to feel that the Boston College players were whipping pucks at the fan section glass with a little extra intensity. Either they were hoping to send a message by sending some flying at the glass, or they were unintentionally missing everything on every shot.
As puck drop neared, late arrivals were getting desperate for good seats. My friend and I were offered $20 each to move from the middle of section 118 to his seats in section 120.
The intensity in the Dog Pound reached a fever pitch as the lights dimmed and the Terriers took the ice. Every traditional fan section chant is much better when it’s the Battle of the Comm Ave. Everyone turning their backs during the opposing team’s lineups and yelling “…sucks!!” after each name feels tailor-made for the Eagles.
An early BC goal didn’t really do much to calm down that intensity. Fans were expecting the Eagles to be a tough matchup after the 6-9 loss to that team in December.
“BC sucks,” “Sunday school,” and “Not from Boston” chants continued to rain down despite the Eagles’ early lead.
A quick aside on the ‘Not from Boston’ chant: I know it’s BU’s closest equivalent to ‘sucks to BU,’ but it’s really not as potent as the fan section thinks. Who cares that they’re not from Boston? 80% of all of you aren’t from Boston either.
After a thrilling Jay O’Brien goal at the end of the first period, the fan section quickly turned to pandemonium. O’Brien added to this by slapping the fan section glass after scoring, which basically tore the roof off the place. The pandemonium briefly turned to confusion as the referees checked to see that the puck went in before time expired in the period. But the officials sent fans away to a good first intermission with the game all tied up.
From there, things kept getting better for the Terriers, with BU adding two goals in the second period and Drew Commesso doing Commesso things, saving 24 goals in Friday’s game.
The fan section was getting a little goal drunk as the game went on — you can only lose your mind so many times in one night. When Ty Gallagher stretched the lead to 5-1 with a pretty wrister at 9:06 in the third, the Eagles looked like maybe they wanted to tap out. As many pointed out on Twitter, they seemed content to stop playing hockey and try to start fights during every stoppage of play.
Around this time, the sad tale of poor Mitch Benson — the goalie for BC and a cone for BU — reached its emotional coda. The Dog Pound was able to get so far in their goal chants — going through “you’re not very good,” “needs improvement,” “could be better,” and “not impressed” — that they had to start making up new lines to torture Benson.
As the fan section was finishing throwing everything they could at the poor guy, the Eagles made the demoralizing choice to pull Benson at a random point in the game. Not waiting for a media timeout or after a BU goal. Talk about a confidence-shattering move. Benson had his head down as his replacement Wilder came to the ice and didn’t realize he was getting pulled until Wilder tapped him on the shoulder.
Maybe I’ll send him my El Jefe’s free taco coupon in hopes it might cheer him up.
BU scored once more just to show Wilder what it was like to be a BC goalie Friday night, bringing the lead to 6-1.
After that, I’m told BC scored two goals, but, in all honesty, I didn’t see them, so I can’t confirm or deny the legitimacy of that. Was it before or after Sasquatch made his appearance? I really couldn’t tell you.
As time ran out in the game, BC made sure to get a few more punches in against the Terriers in a cute final dustup before they took their long quiet bus ride back to Newton.
Saturday night BU won again, and the Dog Pound made their presence known and turned Conte Forum into a second home arena.
My message for BC fans: take solace in the fact that you still have stellar football and basketball teams. Wait, actually, never mind. Enjoy the Beanpot!
A poignant, creative, and very funny précis. PSD
the student section is the best, a whole different level at BC games.
Truly lol’d at this recap of one of my favorite nights in the Dogpound – great article!
what about “Puck BC”