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More third-period dominance lifts BU in Battle of Comm. Ave. opener

Down 2-1 after two periods, Boston University dominated the third with four goals en route to a 5-3 win at Boston College in the season's first installment of the Battle of Commonwealth Avenue on Friday night.

Matt Dewkett

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- It's not about how you start, it's about how you finish.

In the early goings of the college hockey season, fifth-ranked Boston University has taken that adage to heart and has paid off with five wins over the first six games.

The trend continued on Friday night, in hostile territory, against its archrival.

No. 3 Boston College held a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes, but the Terriers dominated the third with four goals en route to a 5-3 win at a sold-out Kelley Rink.

"It was just a great college hockey game," David Quinn said after his first-career win over the Eagles as BU head coach. "It's something we've come to expect in the great history of this rivalry. I couldn't be more proud of the way we battled back; the fact we never got down two (goals), I think, allowed us to stay in the game and feel good about ourselves."

The Eagles had a slight territorial advantage in what turned out to be a scoreless first period. Each side posted seven shots on goal, a number very much indicative of how the teams started off their first meeting of the season.

"I think they took it to us a little bit in the first period," BU senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues said. "It's a big game and (there are) a lot of young guys on our team. Sometimes you have some jitters and some emotion. It just took us until the first intermission to really calm down."

BC excited its home crowd very early on in the second period, breaking the ice at the 2:10 mark as sophomore Chris Calnan banged in a rebound that popped out to the right of BU's Matt O'Connor.

The Terrier junior goaltender made a pair of saves on the play, but Adam Gilmour posted the primary assist on the rebound that turned into the third goal of the year for Calnan, a Norwell, Mass. native.

Head coach Jerry York was pleased with his team's performance, despite the result. BC is just 4-4-0 on the season after losses to Denver last Saturday and UConn on Wednesday.

"From my perspective, it's the best our team has played in the few number of games we've played," he said. "We battled hard, created some good offense with our cycles. There was not much of a difference between the two teams tonight."

It took BU just over ten minutes but it had the equalizing answer at 12:17. Rodrigues wheeled around the net and lifted a backhand shot in past BC sophomore Thatcher Demko for his second goal of the season.

"I didn't really have a play there," Rodrigues said. "I figured 'why not just bring it around the net?' You never know who is going to be there, and I think Danny (O'Regan) and Jack (Eichel) were both driving to the net."

North Reading, Mass. native Ryan Fitzgerald scored the first of his two goals on the night at 16:21, finishing a 2-on-1 rush with freshman Alex Tuch to put the Eagles up headed into the second intermission.

The third-period offensive surge got started right away just 1:59 in as BU junior Mike Moran posted his first point of the year to re-tie the score. The Marshfield, Mass. native's shot banked off Demko's sprawling body and into the back of the net.

Fitzgerald brought the building back to life at 6:05, scoring a shorthanded goal to lift the Eagles back ahead 3-2. After junior captain Michael Matheson was called for a slashing penalty, Fitzgerald picked off BU freshman Brandon Hickey at the blue line and coasted in for an uncontested score.

Hickey made up for the blunder at the 12:15 mark as BU posted its first of three unanswered goals to finish the game. The Calgary Flames prospect let a beautiful shot go from the center point in a perfect position for classmate Jack Eichel to redirect the puck past Demko for his fifth-collegiate goal.

Rodrigues picked up another fluky score to put BU ahead at 14:14, going back to the same play that resulted his first of the night. This time though, his wraparound attempt bounced off Demko and into the back of the net.

That play capped off the fourth multi-goal game of Rodrigues' career and his second straight against BC as he also turned the trick in the 2013 Hockey East semifinals at TD Garden.

BU iced its first win in Chestnut Hill since Dec. 2, 2011 on an empty-net goal by rookie Nikolas Olsson with 43 seconds remaining. The Terriers won one road game all of last year, in their season finale, and has already defeated UMass, Providence and BC in the first three road games of this year.

"(The game) just reiterated what we already knew," Quinn said of his team which has outscored opponents 14-1 in the final stanza thus far. "We've had great third periods all year and we have an awful lot of resolve. There's no quit in us so far, and that's a great sign."

The Terriers return to their home ice on Saturday night, hosting UConn for the first time as Hockey East foes. BC has the rest of the weekend off and will look to snap its three-game skid against crosstown foe Harvard on Tuesday.