Terriers hang on for 3-2 win over BC at Fenway

By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff

The Boston University men’s hockey team picked up its second straight win over a ranked opponent when it defeated No. 7/8 Boston College, 3-2, on Friday night at Fenway Park.

The Terriers (6-9-3, 4-7-2 Hockey East) scored the game’s first three goals to take a commanding lead, but the Eagles (10-6-2, 7-4-2) stormed back in the second half of the game to pull within one. They had several chances to tie it in the final 10 minutes, but BU was able to hang on for the victory thanks to some big saves from sophomore goalie Kieran Millan (27 saves) and some timely blocks from the BU defense.

With the win, the Terriers jump from an eighth-place tie in the conference standings to a sixth-place tie. BU and the University of Vermont both have 10 points, nine behind first-place University of New Hampshire.

“We played pretty thorough,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “It was one of our better games as far as being smart with the puck, not too many turnovers. We could’ve been better as far as penalties that we took. I thought we played a very, very solid game from start to finish.”

BU controlled play for most of the first period with aggressive forechecking and crisp breakout passes that limited BC to very few extended possessions. The Terriers capitalized at the 6:58 mark with a power-play goal from sophomore defenseman David Warsofsky, his fifth of the season.

The Marshfield native, fresh off winning the gold medal with Team USA at the World Junior Championships, took a pass from senior forward Zach Cohen at the left point, walked toward the middle and fired a slapper through a screen that beat junior goalie John Muse (28 saves). A lifelong Red Sox fan, Warsofsky celebrated by tossing an invisible ball into the air and driving it deep to right field with his stick-turned-bat.

The Terriers made it 2-0 a little more than two minutes into the second. Junior defenseman Colby Cohen shook two Eagle defenders at the blue line and stepped into a slapper that got redirected to the end boards. Junior forward Joe Pereira quickly backhanded the rebound toward the net, and it banked off Muse’s right skate and just inside the post for his fourth goal of the season.

A little more than eight minutes later, it was 3-0. Junior forward Nick Bonino took a pass from freshman defenseman Sean Escobedo and skated in from the right half wall. He threw the puck on net and freshman forward Wade Megan flipped the rebound up and over Muse for his second goal of the season. The assist for Escobedo was his first collegiate point.

“We thought that if we got the puck down low, we could go to work and protect it and get the puck to the net,” Bonino said. “And the last two goals were right in front of the net, just getting to the net. That was our game plan, and it paid off.”

The Eagles finally got on the board with 1:41 to go in the middle frame. Sophomore forward Paul Carey beat Warsofsky down the right wing and had two jam attempts from the crease stopped by Millan. Millan could only hold his ground for so long, though, and junior forward Brian Gibbons streaked in untouched to bury the third chance for his eighth goal of the season.

Aside from the three goals scored in the second, a critical moment in the game was a 1:56 5-on-3 for the Eagles that they couldn’t convert. Leading the way on the crucial penalty kill for BU was junior defenseman and captain Kevin Shattenkirk. He intercepted two passes cleanly and cleared them down the rink himself, and then went down to one knee to block another centering pass, leading to another clear. BC finished the game 1-for-8 on the power play.

“That was a disappointing part of our game for sure, especially the 5-on-3,” BC coach Jerry York said. “That’s a golden opportunity to put some points on the board. I think these conditions –– the outdoor ice, the wind, the snow –– if we had to do it over again, we’d just think about shooting pucks and try not to make many passes.

“It made it difficult on the power play to execute three or four passes, and I think the game plan should’ve been just back to the point and shoot pucks . . . BU did a nice job of blocking shots when we did shoot from the point.”

The Eagles cut the lead to one 7:43 into the third. Gibbons broke in on a shorthanded 2-on-1 with sophomore forward Cam Atkinson. Gibbons’ first centering pass was blocked by Shattenkirk, but the puck came right back to him. Gibbons sent it back out front and Atkinson one-timed it past Millan for his 10th of the season.

BC kept the pressure on for the remainder of the game, ultimately outshooting the Terriers, 13-7, in the final 20 minutes, but BU didn’t break. The Eagles had two golden chances on scrambles in front of the net where Millan was caught out of position after making the initial save.

Midway through the period, freshman forward Pat Mullane corralled a rebound in the slot while Millan was off to the left side of the net, but senior forward Luke Popko dropped to one knee in the crease to block Mullane’s point-blank chance.

Then, with just under five minutes to go in the game, Millan was caught facing backward after stopping not one, but two chances in close. Senior forward Ben Smith was left with a third chance and an empty net, but Warsofsky slid in at the last moment and batted the puck away with his glove.

“We knew they were gonna come out hard in the third,” Warsofsky said. “But we hung in there, we took their shots. We took every battle they could offer. In the end, we had some guys make some big plays in big situations. Ultimately, that won us the game.”

Warsofsky nets goal in return from WJC

By Jake Seiner/DFP Staff

There isn’t much Boston University men’s hockey sophomore David Warsofsky hasn’t done in the last eight months.

Pick up an assist to help boost his team to a national championship? Check.

Tally two assists and register a plus-5 rating in seven games as an assistant captain of a gold medal squad representing his country? Check.

Score a goal in one of the most unique hockey venues ever created –– one where his favorite baseball team has played since 1912?

You get the idea.

How unique has Warsofsky’s run been?

“In a span of 13 months, Bill Russell won a second NCAA basketball championship, won a gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics and won the NBA championship in 13 months as a 21-year-old,” BU coach Jack Parker said when asked if he knew of any comparable runs to Warsofsky’s. “David’s was pretty good, but it wasn’t that good.”

Tuesday night, Warsofsky celebrated with teammates as the US U20 Juniors squad knocked off the Canadians in overtime to take the gold medal at the World Junior Championships in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Wednesday, BU held their first of two practice sessions at Fenway Park while Warsofsky was still in Canada. Warsofsky finally arrived back in Boston Thursday morning, and managed to wake himself up for the Terriers practice this morning at America’s Most Beloved Ballpark.

Seven minutes into the first period, Warsofsky put the Terriers on the board. Working from the left wall, the defenseman skated to center point, where he launched a rocket into a screen set by senior Zach Cohen. Somewhere between Cohen’s 6-foot-3 frame and the dusty cloud of snow floating around the ice, Boston College goalie John Muse lost sight of the puck, which squirted behind him into the net.

“Before the game, we just wanted to get pucks to the net,” Warsofsky said. “From the point, it’s tough to see the puck in the snow. I kind of just walked the blue line and let it go and luckily it went in.”

To celebrate, Warsofsky lobbed himself an imaginary baseball and, with his best Jim Rice impersonation, knocked the invisible soft toss over the boards and towards Pesky Pole.

“We were coming up with stuff before the game,” Warsofsky said. “I actually have to give [junior goaltender Adam] Kraus some credit for that –– he came up with that one. Decided to give it a shot.

“I don’t know if the coaches were too happy about it.”

Parker said he did not see the celebration, but laughed when junior Nick Bonino re-enacted the swing in the post-game press conference.

“Hopefully they don’t see that on film either,” Warsofsky said when he found our Parker had missed the celebration.

Playing at Fenway Park was especially rewarding for Warsofsky, a Marshfield native who has cheered for the Red Sox and Bruins since he was young.

“It’s definitely special,” he said. “You grow up watching the Red Sox playing and then you see the Bruins playing, to have the opportunity to play in that venue is definitely a special opportunity.”

The eight-month run has been an amazing experience, Warsofsky said, but the chance to win in his country’s colors earlier this week might was almost certainly the highlight.

“It was an experience I’ve never had before,” Warsofsky said. “Going to the national championship, that’s all colleges, but to go to that stage with the rest of the world is definitely something I’ve never experienced and hopefully I’ll experience that again someday.”

Rewarding as the experience has been, Warsofsky is grateful to get a few days to stop and reflect.

“It was definitely a whirlwind of a couple weeks,” Warsofsky said. “Starting back all the way to April and winning the national championship –– everybody remembers that game –– and then going to Saskatoon to play for Team USA was definitely a special opportunity for me again. It was definitely an unbelievable feeling raising that gold.

“Then back here doing what we did tonight, hopefully I’ll take a couple days off if Coach lets me. Just kind of soak everything in. I haven’t even celebrated Christmas yet with my family, so I’ll go back and do that for a couple days. I’m going to go home and do that and just kind of reflect on everything that’s happened in the last couple months and soak it all in.”

Terriers take on archrival BC at Fenway Park

By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff

With all the hoopla surrounding Friday night’s showdown between Boston University and No. 7/8 Boston College at Fenway Park, it might be difficult to remember that there is something more important than bragging rights on the line –– two points in the Hockey East standings.

All it takes is one look at those standings to realize how important every point is to the Terriers (5-9-3, 3-7-2 HE) right now. They’re currently tied for eighth place with eight points, 10 behind first-place University of New Hampshire and eight behind the second-place Eagles (10-5-2, 7-3-2).

Read more at www.dailyfreepress.com

Bruins lose 5-2 to Blackhawks; Savard leaves with knee injury

By Jake Seiner/DFP Staff

After Blake Wheeler and Miroslav Satan scored to give the Boston Bruins a first-period lead, the Chicago Blackhawks ran off five straight goals and chased B’s netminder Tim Thomas in a 5-2 win Thursday night.

“I thought against a team like this, probably the best team in the league right now, you have to manage the puck very well, and we didn’t do that well enough tonight,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said.

Many of the Bruins players were less kind in their personal assessment.

“It’s a broken record, you know?” Wheeler said, referring to what he deemed a lackluster Bruins effort. “It’s getting to the point of just –– talk is getting so cheap right now. Rah rah speeches, hitting the boards on the bench –– that only goes so far. You just gotta do it.

“We gotta quit treating this like it’s a privilege, like it’s a right of ours to come play in front of 18,000 people every night and start playing like it’s the most important thing to us.”

B’s centerman Marc Savard left the game with a knee injury less than a minute into the game and did not return. Savard will take an MRI exam Friday, and that will determine his diagnosis going forward, according to Julien.

“You lose Savy early, you’re down to three centermens off the bad,” Julien said. “It made it a bit of a struggle and you have to juggle your lines a little bit and that doesn’t help either.”

The offensive outburst marked the eighth straight game the Blackhawks have scored at least four goals. Chicago was led by 2 goals and 1 assists from defenseman Duncan Keith, and also received goals from Tomas Kopecky, Andrew Ladd and Patrick Kane.

Perhaps the lone bright spot for the Bruins was the two-point effort put forth by Wheeler. The forward got his night going early on the power play, which threatened Chicago netminder Antti Niemi with scoring chances often after Jonathan Toews went off for slashing 3:47 in. Finally, defenseman Dennis Wideman whipped a shot in front from the right point, which Wheeler tipped around Niemi and inside the left post to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead.

Just over two minutes later, Wheeler set up Satan for Satan’s first goal as a Boston Bruin. Wheeler chased down Troy Brouwer behind the Chicago cage and pulled the puck away in the right corner. Wheeler slid the pass to a waiting Satan inside the left circle, who paused to freeze Niemi then ripped a shot top-shelf glove side to put the B’s up 2-0.

The points give Wheeler seven in his last three games, and 27 (12 goals, 15 assists) on the season.

Boston could not make the lead last, however, as Keith and Kopecky tallied back-to-back goals to close out the first period.

The ‘Hawks took the lead just 1:42 into the second, capitalizing on a roughing minor called on Zdeno Chara near the end of the first. With Andrew Ladd camped in front of Thomas, Brent Seabrook throw a shot on net from the right point. The shot hit Ladd and bounced to the top of the crease. Ladd poked a stick through Johnny Boychuck’s legs and tapped the puck on goal, and Tim Thomas couldn’t find it before it slid into the cage.

Keith picked up the second assist on Ladd’s goal, and then tallied another goal for himself at the mid-point of the second. Keith, working from the blue line at the left point, fired a shot on net that Thomas was unable to stop.

The goal was Keith’s second of the game, and his three points leave him with 40 on the season (8 goals, 32 assists).

“Zdeno just happened to be cutting across the same exact time the guy let go of the shot,” Thomas said. “I never found the puck. I heard it hit the post and that was it . . . It was the perfect screen.”

Julien pulled the recently elected USA netminder after Keith’s second goal, replacing him with Tuukka Rask. The move was met by a notable applause by the Garden faithful.

“Obviously, it wasn’t aimed at Timmy,” Julien said of the decision. “It was probably to stop the hemorrhaging – you can put it that way. And in a way, it did. It stopped the goal scoring anyway.”

Rask stopped 11 of the 12 shots he faced, allowing a goal to Kane at 17:49 of the third.