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BU Takes Season’s First Battle of Commonwealth Avenue on the Road, 7-4

Matt Dewkett/SB Nation

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- Just 2:16 into the first period of Friday night’s game at Conte Forum, Boston University head coach David Quinn thought a long night was ahead for his team against its archrival, Boston College.

Goals from freshman Aapeli Rasanen and sophomore Ron Greco lifted the Eagles to a quick 2-0 lead, but seven of the game’s last nine goals went the other way as the visitors skated away with a 7-4 victory. The win marks BU’s fourth straight during regular-season competition with its Commonwealth Avenue foe over the last two seasons.

While the Terriers’ talent has not translated to the win-loss total they would have liked at 7-8-1 and 5-4-1 in Hockey East play with just three games remaining in this calendar year, resiliency has shown through in numerous cases.

“I’m certainly really proud of our team in a lot of ways,” Quinn said. “It’s 2-0 before people could put cream in their coffee and get seated and it looked like this was going to be a long, long night. I loved our resolve and how mentally tough we were. I really thought we started skating and managing the puck a lot better. And, it actually looked like we had practiced D-zone over the last three months because it certainly didn’t look it in the first three minutes.”

Despite the inauspicious start, the Terriers wound up with a 16-8 shot edge in the first period and took a 3-2 lead into intermission. Captain Brandon Hickey began just the second multi-goal game of his career on a point shot at 10:25, while rookies Logan Cockerill and Brady Tkachuk also tallied before period’s end.

“We just had to relax,” Hickey said. “(BC was) kind of feeding off the energy of the crowd, and they had a great start. Give them credit; they capitalized on some opportunities, some missed coverage in the D-zone, so you just tell the guys to bounce back. We started playing the right way, getting pucks in and pucks out, and got rewarded for it.”

The Eagles moved within a 6-4 score through two periods, but a three-goal spurt in 1:58 – including power-play goals by Chad Krys and Bobo Carpenter – put the visitors in control for good. Freshman Shane Bowers added an empty-net goal with 35.3 seconds left to equal the final score.

Sophomore Patrick Harper finished the game with four assists, including a pretty primary centering feed from behind the end line to Carpenter 8:41 into the second. Bowers handed out two assists in addition to scoring the final goal.

All of the Kids

Youth is always evident on the BC and BU rosters, but the two teams entered this season as the two youngest teams, respectively, in Division 1 college hockey, separated by just two days of average age.

Perhaps, that trend explains the combined 11-goal, 68-shot outburst, although the all-time series had not featured a game in which either team scored seven or more goals since Dec. 3, 2010 when the Eagles scored nine times at Agganis Arena.

“It was an age-appropriate game for both teams,” said Quinn. “We’re both a lot of the same-aged (younger) kids, which doesn’t happen too often, so there’s probably a lot more room than both teams are accustomed to. I think that’s why you saw so much scoring and so many of the chances.”

One of those Terrier freshmen scored a goal that proved to be a key turning point. Tkachuk – who Woll had stopped on a breakaway when the score was 2-0, made the most of his second opportunity – went upstairs after busting through center ice shorthanded to give BU its first lead of the game with 1:46 left in the opening period.

Nerves may have gotten the best of Tkachuk on his first chance as he settled into his first rivalry game, but he was not to be denied a second time in scoring his second goal of the season.

“The past week, I’ve been trying that high move,” Tkachuk said. “So, the first time, I was kind of panicking, I’m not going to lie. Actually, Ty Amonte said to me on the bench that I have to go back to that move, so luckily I got that second breakaway, tried it out, and was happy with the outcome.”

Not Enough for BC

The atmosphere was rocking at the outset, but it seemed as if the Eagles were too high with the high after taking a 2-0 lead in the first period.

“We scored early and got two goals up, but we just got really excited and kind of lost our poise,” said BC head coach Jerry York, whose team sees a 7-0-1 unbeaten streak come to an end and slips to 8-6-2 on the season with the loss.

York’s club had chances to get back in the game late as it outshot the Terriers, 9-7, in the final frame. BU sophomore Jake Oettinger, who made 29 stops in the contest, made a crucial one with less than 11 minutes to play, snatching J.D. Dudek’s shot with the glove after the junior winger drove down the right wing and cut to the front of the net.

“We just couldn’t get any closer,” York said. “One of the great things about series like this is that we have a chance to get back and redeem ourselves for this effort down the street. We’ll recover, regroup … and see if we can get a better effort.”

Despite the loss, York was happy with the effort of sophomore Greco and fellow “fourth-liners” Casey Carreau and Zach Walker. Greco entered the game with just five career points and broke out with goals in each of the first two periods.