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No. 4 Boston College holds off late rally to beat Boston University

In a battle of Comm. Ave rivals, BC built up a big lead, and then was able to withstand a late BU rally.

Bill Arnold was crucial in a late 5-on-3 penalty kill for the Eagles to preserve a two-goal lead.
Bill Arnold was crucial in a late 5-on-3 penalty kill for the Eagles to preserve a two-goal lead.
Matt Dewkett (

Chesnut Hil, Mass. - Johnny Gaudreau is going to score, rivalry or Commonwealth Ave. be damned.

The junior standout scored his 20th and 21st goals of the season, extending his points streak to 17 games, and the Eagles downed rival Boston University 6-4 at Conte Forum.

"Johnny, I don't think he started where he wanted to the first period, but he came out in the second and third period," said BC head coach Jerry York. "I thought he was better as the game went on. Part of it was BU really took it to us in the first period."

Boston College carried the possession for most of the game, but it was the visitors who broke through first. With BC unable to clear the puck out of their zone, Robbie Baillargeon walked in on a 2-on-1 and snapped a shot past the glove of Brian Billett halfway through the first.

"BU did an outstanding job in the first period," said York. "They battled through the crowd and home ice advantage, and clearly outplayed us in the first period."

The Eagles kept up their consistent pressure though, and peppered Terrier goalie Sean Maguire from all angles. Maguire was able to keep BC off the board for most of the first, until Adam Gilmour was able to beat him on the power play with under a minute to go to send the teams into the intermission even at 1-1.

"Games when the bounces don't go that well, we're looked at to be a good line on the ice," said Gilmour of his unit providing some depth. "Make sure that we're responsible defensively, contribute offensively when we can, and overall work hard."

The Eagles momentum carried into the second, as period BC would outshoot BU 19-9. While Maguire made a number of remarkable saves, he eventually cracked as Quinn Smith was able to deposit a rebound off a Danny Linell shot to make it 2-1.

"Teddy Doherty, we inserted him in the lineup because we thought Danny Linell could go back from defense to forward, and that was a good move by us," York said. "Danny is going to help us up front."

Later in the middle frame, on the power play, Gaudreau would extend his point streak. With BC working the puck nicely around the zone, Gaudreau, Kevin Hayes, and Bill Arnold carved out a triangle off the half-wall. Gaudreau was able to find a pocket of ice in between the circles, and fired home an Arnold pass to push the score to 3-1.

"When we decided to put [Gaudreau, Hayes, and Arnold] together, I had to feel comfortable that the other lines could create some offense and play solid defense," York said. "Early in the season, I wasn't sure of that. We've broken in four freshman forwards. But the more I've watched, the more I've said, ‘hey, we can do this now.'

"Their development let me put the three big kids together."

Gaudreau's goal would keep the Eagles ahead in the third, as BU freshman T.J. Ryan pulled the Terriers within one with his first collegiate goal just 2:50 into the period.

It looked like BC would pull away when Chris Calnan scored, and then Gilmour added his second to make it a 5-2 game, but the Terriers would not go away.

Mike Moran was able to sneak a puck through Billett to make it a two-goal game, and then Cason Hohmann scored on a power play with under five minutes to go to pull BU to within a goal.

"We got down 5-2, which we're used to, and we're used to responding the way we did," said BU head coach Quinn. "When you dig yourself a three goal deficit - if it's 3-2, and through the course of the third period you pull your goalie, I think there's a little bit more of an opportunity."

Homann's goal came after BC had killed off 52 seconds of a 5-on-3. On that sequence, Arnold blocked two shots, and clogged the space in between the circles, giving the Terrier point players a difficult time.

"On that 5-on-3, we blocked shots from a number of guys," York said. "[Mike Matheson], [Steve Santini], Billy Arnold, they really got down. And that's how you do 5-on-3 because they can really shoot the puck pretty well, most defensemen at this level.

"They're taking shots of the chest, and I was really proud of the effort there."

With the deficit still at one, BU would pull Maguire late, only to see Gaudreau lift an empty net goal down half the ice on the backhand, to seal the win for the Eagles.

"I'm still trying to picture that turnaround backhand from the red line, open net dead center," York said, describing Gaudreau's goal. "Like I said, with 10 pucks, looking at it, I might make four of them.

"He spun around and through it right in the middle of the net there."