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BC rallies for tie, clinches crucial Hockey East season series against rival

Boston College head coach Jerry York's 1,000th career win will have to wait at least one more game, but his Eagles rallied for a 1-1 tie with archrival Boston University on Saturday night at Agganis Arena.

Matt Dewkett

BOSTON -- Boston College head coach Jerry York was on the cusp of history Saturday night, but his Eagles' bitter archrival wasn't going to let it happen in their home barn.

Junior Ryan Fitzgerald scored his BC team-leading 13th goal of the season with just 2:05 remaining in regulation time, but the No. 4 Eagles were unable to muster any more in a 1-1 tie with Boston University at Agganis Arena.

BC moves to 15-4-3 on the season and 8-1-3 in Hockey East play, but York's 1,000th career win as a head coach has to wait at least one more game.

"We definitely didn't want to allow them to hoot and holler on our home ice there," BU senior captain Matt Grzelcyk said. "He's a great coach and a great guy. I have a lot of respect for him and the whole coaching staff, but we definitely didn't want to give that to them, especially at Agganis."

The teams each took 12 shots on goal in an exciting, but goalless, first period.

BU senior Sean Maguire showed he would be standing tall in his crease all night long by posting a clean sheet in the opening 20 minutes. Maguire ― who was making his fifth straight start ― totaled a season-high 38 saves in the contest.

"He played great last night too," BU head coach David Quinn said. "He's been getting better and better. The great thing over the weekend, from our end, is we've got elite goaltending. It certainly bodes well moving forward."

The game's first penalty was not called until the 7:12 mark, but BC junior Matthew Gaudreau's tripping call started a sequence of four in the next five minutes. Neither team was unable to take advantage of its special teams chances, including more than one minute of 5-on-3 play.

BC goaltender Thatcher Demko made a huge early stop on BU's second power play, denying freshman Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson with his pad right on the doorstep. Senior Ahti Oksanen also took a shot from close range that Demko got a piece of in the final 30 seconds of the first.

"I thought it was a much better performance from our guys tonight, for sure," Quinn said. "That's a really good team we just played. ... I liked the way we bounced back from last night and got a point."

The Terriers finally broke the ice in the midst of some great up-and-down action in the middle of the second period.

Demko once again robbed Forsbacka Karlsson breaking in through the slot, but the puck caromed back into play before BU drew first blood at the 11:10 mark.

Grzelcyk got credit for his seventh goal in just ten games this season, redirecting classmate Danny O'Regan's shot from out front of the net. The carom from Forsbacka Karlsson's breakaway try bounced back into the middle of the ice where O'Regan took the shot.

"I saw JFK going in on a breakaway there and was kind of following the play in case there was a bounce there," said Grzelcyk. "The puck kind of made its way up the wall and Danny made a heads-up play to throw it at the net. I just tried to get a stick on it and it was a little puck luck there."

BC had a great chance to tie the game in the final four minutes of the second frame, but freshman Miles Wood's shot on goal danced along the goal line and the potential goal was waved off.

The visitors finally did get on the board late in the final frame at the 17:55 mark, to be exact after it trailed after 40 minutes for just the third time this season.

Gaudreau battled for the puck along the back wall behind Maguire and won the back back to Fitzgerald in the slot. After spinning off his defender, the North Reading, Mass., native fired a wicked shot into the top corner of the net to level the score.

Gaudreau and Fitzgerald connected for a beautiful play, breaking Maguire's sparkling night and BU's chances of earning a weekend split.

"We were two and a half minutes away last night, from at least getting a tie. And tonight, we were two and a half minutes away from getting a win," Quinn said. "It's disappointing from that regard, but it's January 15. You don't want to be playing your best hockey now."

BC generated more offense in the overtime with four of the five-minute period's five shots on goal, but couldn't solve Maguire a second time.

The Eagles' next crack at getting their coach a never-before-seen milestone victory comes Friday night at UMass. York knows his team ― with three more crucial Hockey East points in the bag ― will be better because of this weekend's games.

"We push each other and we're better because we've played each other," York said. "As we approach Monday's practice, both teams have benefited from the good, hard physical play, good goaltending on both ends. You benefit a lot from playing good teams."