Saturday, March 23, 2013

We Fight On

Last night, BU won one of the most exciting games in recent memory in the most unexpected way. Trailing 2-0 and getting pounded by BC, chances looked bleak for the Terriers to extend their season and the career of Jack Parker.
BU players salute crowd after the victory.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
All that changed in a three minute and thirty eight seconds span midway through the second period. Evan Rodrigues's highlight reel goal at 12:17 got the ball rolling for the Terriers. Patrick MacGreger chipped the puck to Rodrigues in the neutral zone and the standout sophomore did the rest from there. At the redline, he got around Pat Wey, causing him to skate backwards into the BC zone. At the top of the circle, Rodrigues, avoided a sliding Quinn Smith with a nifty toe drag and in one motion, wristed a shot under Parker Milner's arm. It was his first of two on the night.

That changed the momentum to BU for the rest of the night. Roughly two minutes later, Matt Lane showed incredible speed on rout to scoring his fourth goal of the year to tie the game 2-2. Deep in the BU end, he took advantage of a Danny Linell turnover at the blue line after a face-off. Lane blew past Linell and skated all the way in on Milner. Lane swooped in from the far side and while protecting the puck, slipped it through Milner legs, as he came across the goal mouth. Lane has really come into his own in the last half of the season and is playing a huge role on the third line.

Garrett Noonan, coming back from a separated shoulder, made an immediate impact as he gave the Terriers a lead they would never relinquish. After struggling mightily on the power play in the first, Noonan finished off a tick-tack-toe set up from Matt Grzelcyk and Cason Hohmann with a low wrister that beat Milner five hole. The shot actually got through Milner's stick and hit off the right leg and in to the net.

BU had a chance to score maybe two or three more goals in the second, as BC gave up break-a-way after break-a-way and Milner bailed them out every time besides the Lane goal.

The comeback would not have been possible if not for the performance of Sean Maguire for the first half of the game. The first period BC dominated the pace of play, never mind out shooting the Terriers 18-7. Maguire came up with big save after big save, none more impressive than the one in which he robbed John Gaudreau, who was all alone on the doorstep. Gaudreau had what looked like the entire goal to shoot at, but Maguire somehow lunged back and got his glove on the shot, deflecting it out of harm's way. In total, Maguire made 44 saves.
BC's Stevan Whitney tries to hit the puck in with his hand, of
course this would not have counted if it had gone in, but it
did cout as one of Maguire's 44 saves.
(Photo by Matt Dresens)
The two BC goals he allowed prior to the comeback were absolutely unstoppable. A strange deflection off a Stevan Whitney shot pin-balled off of Bill Arnold into the top corner to give BC a 1-0 lead with 1:27 remaining in the first. Quinn Smith was completely uncovered and easily redirected a centering pass from Pat Mullane by Maguire to make it 2-0. That set the stage for the comeback.

Following BU's three goal outburst in the second, the Terriers keep rolling, as Danny O'Regan scored twice on the power play in the third. Rodrigues nearly lost the puck at the point which would have given BC a break a way, but regrouped and sent a bullet past to Matt Nieto at the goal line. Nieto then sent a past to the point to Ahti Oksanen, who one touched the puck to O'Regan in the slot. O'Regan was facing the Finnish defenseman when he received the pass. So, he spun and in one motion beat Milner with a low wrist shot inside the far post. The goal came just 1:42 into the third.

A little over seven minutes later, John Gaudreau was sent to the box for five minutes after cross checking Sean Escobedo in the back into the end boards. Escobedo was hurt on the play, but did come back. BU took advantage right away, scoring just 33 seconds into the five minutes power play. Matt Nieto's one timer never got through to Milner, but hit Ryan Santana in the foot, deflecting right to O'Regan in the slot. O'Regan wasted no time and slammed home his second of the period, five hole on Milner. It was his 16th goal of the year.

BC scored on a strange play at 13:43 to cut the lead by one. Stevan Whitney sent a long shot in on Maguire from center ice. Maguire went to catch it, but it deflected off his glove and landed to the left of the net. Pat MacGreger was unable to clear it because he was tied up with a BC forward, allowing Whitney to come in and pick up his trash. He threw a shot off Maguire's back and and it went in.

With 3:54 left, Grzelcyk was whistled for slashing and BC pulled Milner for the extra attacker. It would be a move they would quickly regret, as Evan Rodrigues won a scrum along the far boards and sailed a 175-footer into the vacant BC net. He proceeded to leap into the BU bench and for a quick second it looked like the scene after BU tied the National Championship Game and Nick Bonino Lambeau Leaped into the bench.

The goal sealed the Terrier's most important win since that 2009 season and more importantly, sent the Terriers to the Hockey East Title game where they will face Lowell tonight.

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