By Brian Foisy
Has anyone told you yet that tonight was the first matchup between Boston College and Boston University in a consolation game in 70 years of Beanpot history? All of the college hockey world was seemingly aware that tonight was the Battle of Comm Ave’s first consolation appearance –– except, maybe, the Terriers.
The No.5 Boston University men’s hockey team (20-8-0, 14-4-0 Hockey East) fell 4-2 to the Boston College Eagles (10-12-6, 5-8-5 HE) in the smaller stage of the second Monday in February, the first back-to-back loss for BU this season.
Despite entering this tournament ranked third in the country and the reigning champions, the Terriers finished last in this year’s Beanpot.
“For whatever reason that’s two games in a row where we just didn’t have our game,” head coach Jay Pandolfo said postgame. “It’s the first time all year we’ve lost two in a row and we’re going to need to reset here and find our game again.”
Boston College got off to the attack early, less than two minutes into the game junior forward Nikita Nesterenko got the Eagles their first goal off a wrister assisted by junior Colby Ambrosio and freshman Oskar Jellvik.
The hooking call that went against senior forward Matt Brown halfway through the first was representative of the Terriers’ malaise to start the game, a trend which continued for the full 60 minutes.
The Eagles then doubled their lead on the power play with a goal from junior defenseman Eamon Powell.
The Terriers upped the intensity after going down 2-0, leading to good looks for Wilmer Skoog and Ethan Philips with both being saved by BC goalie Mitch Benson.
Freshman forward Ryan Greene broke through for the Terriers, scoring off the feed from forwards Quinn Hutson and captain Domenick Fensore.
The period finished off with BC as the aggressor, with the Eagles having 14 shots to BU’s eight.
The few fans in the building for the consolation game were treated to a less than exciting second period, with both teams getting off a combined 15 shots.
Despite a few odd-man rushes, the Terriers couldn’t get anything to go for them throughout the middle frame.
A bit of bad blood from last month’s Battle of Comm Ave series returned for both teams, with the game getting chippier in the third. Skoog and graduate BC forward Christian O’Neill were both sent to the box with roughing calls.
Goalie Drew Commesso kept the Terriers from falling back further to BC, saving all four of the Eagles’ shots in the second period.
The third got off to a better start for BU when senior forward Jay O’Brien tied up the game, sneaking one in on the glove side of netminder Mitch Benson.
All momentum from O’Brien’s goal quickly fizzled away as freshman forward Andre Gasseau caught Commesso completely off guard and gave the lead back to the Eagles, 3-2. Commesso, who seemed to be wholly misjudging the location of the puck, would definitely want that goal back.
When asked postgame about the goalie’s status going forward after giving up five goals in this tournament, Pandolfo said “that’s the last of my worries right now.”
“We win, we lose as a team,” Pandolfo said.
With 1:45 to go in the third period, BU pulled Commesso, but having an extra man didn’t help the Terriers at all. Much like the end of last Monday’s loss against Northeastern, the Eagles punctuated their victory with an empty-netter from junior forward Trevor Kuntar.
When asked postgame about whether it’s harder for players to bring intensity for the consolation game, Pandolfo said “I’m sure it’s a little harder.”
“Championship game is a full house and a lot more energy. But at the end of the day these guys are Division I college hockey players, playing against your rival, you should have enough emotion to get up for a game.”
The Terriers next matchup is at No. 20 Merrimack College on Friday, puck drop is scheduled for 7pm. The Boston Hockey Blog will have full coverage so be sure to follow along on Twitter @BOShockeyblog and Instagram @boston.hockey.blog.