BOSTON -- The rivalry between Boston College and Boston University has been a strange one in recent years.
Entering Friday night’s 271st rendition of “The Battle of Commonwealth Avenue,” the Terriers were just 3-11-2 against their archrivals on Agganis Arena ice. This time though, fifth-ranked BU bucked its recent trend.
There was no scoring outside the second period, but sophomore Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and freshman Clayton Keller’s goals held up as Jake Oettinger made 32 saves en route to a 2-1 win over the No. 8 Eagles — BU’s fifth straight and seventh in nine games — before a sold-out crowd of 6,150.
“Just a really good win against a really good team,” said BU head coach David Quinn, whose team is now 13-5-2 on the season and 6-2-2 in Hockey East play. “I thought we had a real good first period with some great chances and that the second period was even. … Anytime you beat a team like that, you have to be happy and we’re certainly happy.”
The Terriers tested BC freshman Joseph Woll early and often as they held a 15-11 shot advantage in the first period, but it finished scoreless. BU sophomore Bobo Carpenter finished the night with a team-leading six shots on goal, including a near miss on a wraparound attempt in the late stages of the frame.
Although the run of play was closer in the second, BU took advantage.
Forsbacka Karlsson continued his outstanding recent play as the sophomore Bruins prospect gave the Terriers the game’s first lead at the 3:47 mark of the second period, tipping home freshman defenseman Dante Fabbro’s shot from the right point.
“When you keep playing the right way, you get rewarded,” Quinn said of Forsbacka Karlsson. “He goes to the net, makes a pass to the point and beats his guy to the net front. I thought he had a heck of a first half and he’s only got three goals, so it’s nice to see he’s getting rewarded and we’re certainly glad he’s scoring.”
The drought-breaking goal was Forsbacka Karlsson’s ninth of the season, but six of them have come in a three-game span. He also has eight points in the last four games, all BU victories.
The Eagles tied the game just 12 seconds into a power play at 5:15 as sophomore Colin White capped off a pretty passing sequence with an easy tap-in at the left post. Classmate Casey Fitzgerald sent the puck through to the bottom of the circle, where White had an open look for his team-leading 11th goal of the season.
The game marked White’s first game back with BC since returning from winning gold with Team USA at the World Junior Championship as he sat out with an illness Sunday against Providence.
“The one goal we got was a terrific power play, puck movement, very unselfish,” BC head coach Jerry York said. “Two good teams, and not much difference in the game tonight. We’ve just got to be a little sharper.”
The frantic scoring pace continued at 7:10 as Keller tipped the score back in the hosts’ favor with the eventual game-winner. He took a perfect feed from sophomore Jordan Greenway, who skated through a check and over to Woll’s left-hand side.
“What doesn’t get enough attention is what a great playmaker (Greenway) is and what great vision he has,” Quinn said. “He’s a guy who makes other players around him better and he’s been doing that for two years here.”
The goal ensured that Keller’s point streak extended to seven, and Oettinger making 12 of his stops in the third period ensured a big win for the Terriers, their first over BC since Nov. 7, 2014.
One of his best stops came before the halfway mark of the third as defenseman Connor Moore took a shot from the point that deflected right to senior Austin Cangelosi in the right circle. Cangelosi had a clear lane to shoot, but Oettinger recovered and snatched the puck for a big whistle.
“I thought we had some good opportunities that he stopped, but that’s part of facing good goaltenders because you’re not going to get many freebies,” York said. “I thought (the third period) was our best of the 60. A little bit better puck possession for us, so we’re trying to catch as part of the momentum shift.”
In the end, Woll was pulled in favor of an extra attacker with less than 70 seconds to play, but BU swarmed the visitors’ extra-man attack to preserve the win.
It’s a win too that could prove even larger as the season winds down.
“At the beginning of the year, I think one of the goals we set as a team was to come out on top as regular-season champs,” senior captain and defenseman Doyle Somerby said. “BC is in our way right now. We knew what was at stake and it’s nice to walk away with that win.”