Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This One's Gonna Sting

Last night, BU dropped a heartbreaking 3-2 overtime decision to Boston College in the Beanpot Championship game. It was your typical BU-BC battle in the Garden. Both sides had their chances and the building was rocking the entire night.
The National Anthem prior to puck drop.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
BC's Pat Mullane gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead at the 8:54 marker of the first on a shorthanded goal. Mullane created space as he cut back against BU defenseman Sean Escobedo and then reeled off a shot that beat Kieran Millan blocker side. The puck clanked of the center support bar inside the goal before puffing the TD Garden net.

BU generated a few good scoring chances in the first, their best being Max Nicastro's shot from the point that rang the post, after it cleanly beat BC goal Parker Milner. That happened just seconds after Mullane's go-ahead-goal.

The second period was chalk full of penalties, mostly on BU. The Terriers racked up five penalties and one ten minute misconduct. Were all the penalties legit? Maybe. Maybe not. Nevertheless, BU had to kill an extensive amount of five on three time, plus deal with the loss of Chris Connolly for ten minutes. Connolly was called for a 10 minute misconduct after he fired the puck down the ice after BC scored their second goal. Now I've seen a lot of hockey games in my life, and guys shoot the puck down the ice after the other team scores all the time. I've never once seen it called before last night. I'm just saying.

BU celebrates after
Garett Noonan's first
goal of the game.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
Anyway, prior to the Connolly misconduct, BU was able to tie things up on a power play of the their own (yes, we had a few power plays. I know it's hard to believe). Matt Nieto made a heads up pass to Garrett Noonan, who was sliding down from the point on the far side. Nieto connected with a tape to tape pass to the defenseman, who received it, then buried it past a diving Milner to tie the game at 1-1. It was Noonan's 10th goal of the year, and his first of two on the night.

Before the period ended, BC regained the lead on one of their many power play opportunities. Noonan was called for tripping, and BU did a nice job killing the first 1:30 of the power play, but then Escobedo (who else?) was flagged for cross checking. This gave BC another on a five on three power play. BU killed the remainder of Noonan's penalty, but could not kill the remainder of the five on four pp. Finally, BC's power play got off the shnide as Chris Kreider picked the top corner on Millan. After this goal is when Connolly was called for the misconduct.

The third period was one of, if not the most intense periods of hockey I've sat through this season. Chances went back and forth and low and behold, BU picked up a five on three power play for themselves, after Steven Whitney was called for high sticking. Ten seconds later, Paul Carey was whistled for boarding. BU, unlike BC, took full advantaged of their five on three, and who but Garrett Noonan tied the game on the power play. Noonan was down low and redirected a pass from Alex Chiasson off Milner's right leg and into the goal.

The goal came at the 7:12 mark of the third, leaving plenty of time for someone to score and win it in regulation. It was not to be.

The game headed to overtime, and the refs put away their whistles. Following Noonan's second goal, there was only one more penalty called the entire game, including overtime. In the latter stages of the third, players could basically do whatever they wanted, fully knowing they were not going to get called for it. The most notable case of this is when BU's Justin Courtnall took about 15 strides and launched himself at a BC forward cutting across the middle. I want to say he hit Johnny Gaudreau, but I'm not exactly sure.

In overtime, BU nearly won it in the opening minute off a face off inside the BC zone. Chiasson won the draw and got a shot off, the rebound came out into the slot and Connolly (who was now back from his misconduct) spun around and put a follow up chance on goal that almost made it's way through Milner.

BU's best chance to win came later in the extra time. Matt Nieto was stationed in the low slot to Milner's   left. Nieto took a pass from behind the net and one-touched it in the direction of an opining between Milner's leg and the post. Instead of sending BU home with it's 30th Beanpot title, Nieto could not hit his mark and the puck caught Milner's leg and the goalie covered it up to end the threat.

Throughout the overtime, I was thinking about all the classic BU-BC battles at the Garden. There was the 2003 Hockey East Semi Final game, which saw BU's Justin Maiser record a hat trick, his third goal being the game winner in the second overtime. Then there was the 2006 Hockey East Championship game. Brandon Yip played the roll of hero that night, as he and the rest of the all freshman line with Chris Higgins and Jason Lawrence broke in three on two in overtime. Higgins passed to Lawrence, who found Yip on the far side. Yip's shot squeaked over the line behind BC goalie Corey Schneider, giving BU the title. As I thought back, I stared to think of who could/would play hero tonight.

Turns out there would be no hero for BU. With just 6.4 seconds left in the first overtime, BC Bill Arnold threw a dagger the hearts of the BU players/fans, as he found the top corner, high glove side on Millan. It gave BC their fourth Beanpot in five years, their 16th overall. BU will take on Lowell on Friday night at Tsongas Center.

More to come in the next few days.

Sorry about not having any updates on twitter last night. I get terrible service in the Garden.

No comments:

Post a Comment