Game Recaps

Terriers fall 6-2 to Boston College in Hockey East Championship

Photo by Gracie Davenport.

The Terriers, down 2-1 with just over three minutes remaining in the second period, pestered Boston College goaltender Jacob Fowler with shots, hunting for the equalizer.

However, a Luke Tuch boarding call at 17:51 gave breath to the Eagles’ lethal power play in which sophomore forward Cutter Gauthier scored to extend his team’s lead to 3-1 going into the third period. 

That was the story of Saturday night’s Hockey East Championship game at TD Garden. Boston College’s power play and penalty kill each went 4-for-5, neutralizing any of BU’s even-strength efforts, and secured it the conference title with a 6-2 victory. 

“Clearly, we didn’t get it done on the penalty kill. Didn’t have an answer for it. That was really the biggest difference of the game,” BU head coach Jay Pandolfo said postgame.

“Thought we were pushing really well there in the second period to make it 2-1, and then we take a penalty with 2:12 left…We’ve got to kill the penalty.” 

A lack of discipline put BU behind early. Freshman forward Will Smith – who finished the night with five points (4g, 1a) – potted two power-play goals in the first period to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead. 

The first came while freshman forward Shane Lachance sat for slashing. Smith brought the puck down by the far left hash marks before snapping it on net where it bounced off graduate defenseman Case McCarthy’s skate and in for the 1-0 lead at 5:46. 

Photo by Gracie Davenport.

Smith struck again just under three minutes later after sophomore defenseman Lane Hutson was called for tripping. Freshman forward Gabe Perreault carried the puck into the zone and dished it over the Smith on the right side to laser past junior goaltender Mathieu Caron off the rush and put the Eagles up 2-0 at 8:37.

“It sucks. I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s not a fun feeling,” Case McCarthy said postgame. “That’s on us on the PK to shut those guys down. We knew that they had a great power play coming in. Tonight they just found a way.” 

The Terriers had two opportunities on the man advantage in the opening frame as well but couldn’t break through BC’s No. 1 ranked penalty kill. The Eagles suffocated BU’s cycle and ended plays near the blue line. 

In opposite fashion to Friday’s semifinal win against Maine, BU had its better chances 5-on-5 and struggled with special teams. 

“Our power play wasn’t very good early,” Pandolfo said. “[The Eagles] do a good job of blocking shots, getting their clears 200 feet. When you do get a chance, their goalie was good.” 

Gavin McCarthy cut the Terriers’ deficit to 2-1 at 4:24 of the second period. The freshman defenseman chose the biggest stage of his collegiate career thus far to score his first collegiate goal – a wrister from the point that whistled in and gave BU a much-needed boost. 

“It was fun being on the ice with him and being able to go grab that puck,” Case said of his younger brother’s goal. “It was a cool older-brother moment for sure – to be on this stage and see how excited he was to finally get his first one.” 

The Terriers tilted the ice following the tally, showing more tenacity on the forecheck and poise in the O-zone.

Senior forwards Dylan Peterson and Nick Zabaneh had one of BU’s best looks of the period off the breakaway and whacked around Fowler’s crease with second-effort shots, all of which he stopped. The Terriers followed the play with a dominant shift, but the boarding call on Tuch boarding 2:09 on the clock put his team back on the penalty kill. 

“I thought we were going pretty good,” Pandolfo said “We didn’t want to get down because we knew we could come back if we got our game going again.” 

The Eagles snatched the momentum right back with a power-play goal from Gauthier who knocked in a cross-crease pass from Perreault for the 3-1 lift at 18:46. BC, now 3-for-3 on the man advantage, continued its streak in the final stanza.

Smith secured the hat trick at 6:46 with a one-timer from the right doorstep, before Perreault notched his second of the game for the 5-1 lead at 11:32 while Lane Hutson was off for holding.

Former Terrier Jamie Armstrong was dealt a five-minute major for contact to the head at 12:27, allowing Macklin Celebrini to get on the scoresheet. The freshman forward wired home a classic wrister from the right circle to make it 5-2 at 5:15. It, obviously, was not enough. 

Smith collected his fourth goal with an empty-netter at 18:04, sealing the 6-2 Hockey East Championship win – Boston College’s first since 2012. 

The Terriers will now await their NCAA tournament fate. Sunday’s selection show will reveal BU’s opponent in the regional semifinals, and where it’ll be playing. It’s looking like Maryland Heights, Missouri. 

“We’ve got to get past it. We’re still playing, it’s not the end of our season, that’s the positive,” Pandolfo said. “It’s gonna hurt tonight, but we’ll get past it, and we’ll be ready to get going in the NCAA tournament.”


  1. I’m proud of this team. They have played hard all season. Bc is a terrific hockey team no doubt about it. The only way to beat them is play the perfect game or something as close to it. Last night miller certainly was not letting them play which hurt us but he did call a consistent game he called a few iffy calls on bc so we just need to kill penalties hindsight is easy to fix in the moment not so much but bc essentially breaks down the box then hits a streaking player in slot Bu needs to do a better job of keeping them outside and our D needs to see the guy sneaking down twice last night our weak side d looked like a traffic cone that will not work.
    I’m a huge fan of Shane Lachance and I said he needed to get to net and cause disruption well he got to net and for the most part was no issue for Fowler . The reason for this is we could not get in good shooting lanes . I think we play this team again and if their is a team that can beat bc it’s us. I’m sure the kids are scratching their heads confidence is down. In times like this film sessions are important because players might not realize what happened till they see it. Bc is not invincible they tie their skates the same way we tie ours. For large percentages of that game we carried the play the big difference was special teams and lacking the ability to get puck in better shooting lanes . We did go to the net well but against this kid you need to get to lanes or he will control the rebounds. As coach says team is still in it we can beat anyone I truly feel that way and the team needs to feel this way as well. Nothing to hold your head down at just get back to work. Go Bu

    • Colin, the only problem is that BC has continually gotten better as the season wore on and the Terriers have regressed and ae not playing their best hockey at the moment. Earlier in the year when the Eagles won 2 of the 3 meetings between the clubs all the games were close and it seemed just a bit of bad luck or Fowler did BU in. Last night was different, it was a comprehensive beatdown by an Eagles team that is clicking on all 8 cinlanders now. They have 5 players with over 50 points, the only BU player with that many is Celebrini and net closest have 35, 37. I attended the two semifinal games on Friday and BC just obliterated the minutemen and Gauthier is in sublime form. On the other hand the Terriers struggled mightily vs the Black Bears and i thought were quite lucky to win. If Maine had more talented goalscorers who could have made their chances pay off they would have won. The Terriers turned the puck over repeatedly throughout the game as well and also didn’t get many chances in the middle but to their credit did pot the few chances they created.
      All in all though i agree, it has been a successful season though we have no hardware to show for it as yet. We will have a number #1 seed and probably be placed in Springfield for the NCAAs. I just hope the Terriers can get to the Frozen Four and maybe get another shot at the Eagles. However at this point, barring an improbable upset i don’t see anyone beating BC. They are the by far the best team in the nation.

  2. Just a domineering performance by a college team with 4 skaters who could be playing in the show in a matter of weeks.

    In a way Fowler’s highlight reel save on Green is a microcosm of the game. The Terriers did a lot of good things and created chances but the Eagles are just a better team. It would surprise me if anyone gives them any trouble in the tournament.

    If 71 stays and we can solidify our D-zone with motivated talent who can move their feet and not catch turnover-itis, we could challenge next year.

  3. i watched that BU – Maine game (after the UMass dismantling) and I said to my friend: “If we turn the puck over like that against BC, it will be in the back of the net.” All year long, I believe our Achilles heal has been the defense. I know #7 is hurt, but he has been a liability out there. Poor decision-making. I also think the league has caught up with #20. Even as a fan, I can anticipate his moves. Hoping Pando and his staff does a total overhaul of the D.

    Mostly, I am concerned about how deep a wound this will be to their psyche. No shame for any team this year to lose to BC; they are that good. I think we caught them a little bit flatfooted in the Beanpot and got the jump on them, but that won’t happen again this year, as evidenced by last night. Now I am hearing we might be shipped to Missouri. Ugh

  4. Yeah I mean after Lane’s freshman assault on HE everyone’s a lot more aware of him because they all know he’s just waiting to burn ya. By the same token, he’s older and maybe a bit…we’ll let’s just say not super risk averse when it comes to puck handling. Haha who cares tho, with him it’s worth it.

  5. While the region is not ideal for travel, I like the Sioux Falls Region draw. NIT lacks talent, though experience is a plus. UNO has little pedigree, and Minnesota is down this year – and they choke under Motzko. Should be a good run!

  6. I wouldn’t count on that Chad. We’ve seen some incredible upsets over the years in the ncss hockey tourney. Remember air force-minnesota? RIT made a run to the frozen four a few years back. Minnesota is always good and beat us last year and have been a fixture in the frozen four for a few years. In addition I think the terriers have been fading the past several games. They almost blew the lead again to NU, and were thoroughly outplayed and outshot by a maine team who have trouble concluding and were destroyed by BC b/c of that old bugaboo, stupid penalties ar inopportune times after playing the eagles fairly even in their first 4 meetings. BU must step up their game and discipline substantially now if they hope to any chance to advance to the frozen four. The competition and stakes just keep increasing.