Boston University hopes it can do one more time what it was able to do three times during the regular season.
That is beat archrival Boston College. The Terriers outscored the Eagles, 8-2, over three games this season, including a 3-1 win in the last meeting, the Beanpot Semifinals. This season was the first since 1994-95 that the Terriers were able to sweep the Eagles in the regular season. If BU comes out victorious Friday, it will be its first four-game winning streak against BC since 2005-06.
With a win Friday night, David Quinn’s team would not only knock BC out of the Hockey East Tournament, it would also likely end the season for Jerry York’s squad who sits precariously on the NCAA Tournament bubble entering the weekend.
Quinn hopes that his team can put the past behind and focus solely on Friday night’s contest that is expected to start at approximately 8 p.m. ET at the TD Garden.
“I hope we’re not thinking about [the three wins]. We just have to think about beating them one more time. All three games could have gone either way. We’re going to have be at our best if we’re going to get by them Friday night,” said Quinn.
BU is expected to have the services of sophomore right wing Bobo Carpenter and junior defenseman John MacLeod, both of whom missed Saturday’s quarterfinal series clincher over Northeastern after suffering injuries in the first game of the series.
“It looks good for both of them for Friday night. Both of them made a lot of progress. Both injuries weren’t as bad as we originally thought. Those are two important players for us,” Quinn said.
In Carpenter’s absence, Quinn slid Ryan Cloonan up to center a line with Patrick Harper and Clayton Keller. While Cloonan has yet to find the back of the net and has just five assists on the year, he’s been a valuable center for the Terriers. He’ll likely be back down in his usual spot centering the third line Friday night, but that doesn’t diminish his potential significance.
“He’s had a good year. His speed is obvious for anyone who watches us. He’s as electrifying of a skater as there is in college hockey. He’s played very well in his own end,” said Quinn.
“He’s dying for a goal. We’re all dying for him to score one. We were joking yesterday that when he gets one, it’s going to be an overtime goal, a game-winner, one of huge magnitude,” Quinn continued.
Specialty teams can factor into a game even more than usual once the clock turns to post-season play. BU scored four goals on the man advantage last weekend against and kept Northeastern’s vaunted power play off the board in seven attempts.
“Our special teams were big. We’re good right now. We’ve been scoring power play goals,” said Quinn.
After finishing the regular season 0-5-2, Boston College regained some confidence with a sweep of Vermont. The Eagles put up seven goals each night over a usually stingy Catamount defense.
“The Vermont series was interesting. Our offense has been kind of in a hibernation mode through February. We had a bye week,” York said.
“We rested and we looked at our inability to score goals as opposed to when we scored goals earlier in the season. Most of it was because we weren’t getting shots to the net, rebounds and people in front of the net. We really worked on that and it paid off against Vermont,” he added.
All the pressure seems squarely on the Eagles Friday night when the puck drops between the two Comm. Ave. rivals. Not only could bragging rights be on the table, the season could be on the line for BC.
“We haven’t been in this predicament over the past decade or so, but we really felt that our sticks were going to be taken away. Our season is going to finish. There was a real sense of urgency. We responded to it very well,” said York of his team’s feeling against UVM.
“Realistically, for us to move on, we’re going to have be successful on Friday and Saturday night to go onto the national tournament,” York continued.