Friday, November 8, 2013
BC scores early and often, downs BU
By Brion O'Connor, Special to ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- Welcome to the rivalry, Coach Quinn.
Though Boston University's David Quinn had plenty of dust-ups with Boston College as a player and later as an assistant coach under Jack Parker, this was the first time he faced the No. 8 Eagles as the No. 17 Terriers' top dog. But it was college hockey's winningest coach, Jerry York, with a new contract extension signed and sealed this week, who stole the show and the two points, guiding his Eagles (5-2-1; 3-0-0 Hockey East) to a resounding 5-1 victory before a sellout crowd of 6,150 at BU's Agganis Arena.
The win served as some measure of revenge for BC, which was knocked out of the Hockey East playoffs by BU last March, 6-3, in Parker's last collegiate victory. It also gave the Eagles a 10-3-1 record on their archrival's home ice since Agganis opened in January 2005.
"I think the score was indicative of the way we played," said Quinn. "That's a real good hockey team, with a lot of depth up front, good defense, very good goaltending. I just think they beat us in every facet of the game."
On Friday, the Eagles rode a strong first period, scoring on two of the 16 shots that got through to BU's Matt O'Connor, to garner career win No. 940 for York (and leveling his personal record against the Terriers since returning to his alma mater in 1994 at 38-38-7). Throughout the game, the Eagles were simply quicker, more opportunistic and more poised than their Commonwealth Avenue rivals.
"It was good effort," said York. "It's November, so it's early for both teams. It's not the end of the world, win or lose. But it's always a fun atmosphere, whether it's Kelly Rink [at BC] or Agganis. Both our teams look forward to these encounters. It's good for both our programs."
A BC freshman put BU's first-year coach and the Terriers (4-5-0; 2-2-0 HE) in the hole at the 9:10 mark of the first. Austin Cangelosi snuck in alone below the left faceoff dot, to O'Connor's right. Johnny Gaudreau found him, and the freshman from Florida calmly waited for O'Connor (35 saves) to commit, and then shoveled the puck between the goalie's legs for a 1-0 BC lead.
Gaudreau stretched that lead to 2-0 when he took a feed from Bill Arnold in the slot and snapped an NHL-quality wrister over O'Connor's glove hand for his seventh strike of the season at 11:36. The assist was Arnold's 100th career point.
"One of things I've learned since day one at BC, starting with Coach and going down through every grade, it's not about points," said Arnold. "What you want is the W, the win."
Gaudreau nearly got his second of the night in the waning seconds of the opening stanza, but rifled his 2-on-1 bid high over the net. The Terriers clawed back to within one on a bizarre power-play goal at 1:59 of the second. BU's Robbie Baillargeon took a feed from Evan Rodriguez near the top of the left face-off circle and fired a shot that was blocked by the BC defense. The puck, however, fluttered toward the BC goal, clipped BU's Nick Roberto, and went past BC's freshman netminder Thatcher Demko.
BC regained its two-goal advantage on a highlight play by Gaudreau, who is already showing Hobey Baker form, at 7:41. With an interference penalty to Doyle Somerby expiring, the BC junior from New Jersey waltzed in on O'Connor before skirting behind the net. As the BU goalie pushed from post to post, Gaudreau threw a blind, behind-the-back pass to Arnold, who flipped a wide-angle shot into the vacated cage for a 3-1 BC advantage. After the game, Arnold said Gaudreau was "the only player I've played with" who could have made that play.
"He's dangerous from anywhere," said Arnold. "It's a ton of fun to play with him, and I'm really fortunate to get that opportunity this year."
Quinn singled out Gaudreau as "a great college player. Obviously, he's a guy who can create a lot of offense."
"He's very, very dangerous every time he has the puck," said the BU bench boss. "And if you don't get to him quickly, and you don't play through him, you're going to suffer. And we certainly suffered tonight because of that."
The Terriers had a golden opportunity to cut into BC's lead with a two-man advantage for a minute late in the middle frame, but they couldn't solve Demko (22 saves). It was a recurring theme for the Terriers, who had seven power-play chances.
"The 5-on-3 is a perfect example" of the Terriers' failure to create offense, said Quinn. "We never got a shot."
"If you're going to create offense, you've got to move the puck quickly, you've got to be ready when the puck comes to you," said Quinn. "You can't let it surprise you. You've got to be ready to shoot it. And we're not there yet. We're not there yet."
In the third, the Terriers failed to generate any momentum, as the Eagles continuously kept the BU players hemmed in their own end. BC's Kevin Hayes put the game out of reach at 7:35, finishing off a sweet give-and-go with Ryan Fitzgerald when he fired a low shot that beat O'Connor glove side. Less than a minute later, BC's Destry Straight broke in on O'Connor, lured the big sophomore into making the first move, and then tucked a forehand into the BU net for the final 5-1 margin.
"I want it to sting," said Quinn afterward. "We need to feel this pain. Because it was a mismatch as the game went on. I don't want to say we quit. But I think we got demoralized.
"This game presents plenty of opportunity to be physical. Those small area one-on-ones, where you have to have the will and the desire to win your battles. It's not about impressing the crowd with big hits. It's about the subtle toughness of this game that Joe Fan doesn't notice. And we didn't have any of that tonight."