February 3, 2014

Eagles survive thrilling Beanpot nightcap against rival BU

By Joshua Kummins

BC freshman Ryan Fitzgerald (North Reading, Mass.) got the scoring started for BC. (Photo: Dave Arnold/New England Hockey Journal)

Boston College 3, Boston University 1

Recap: The Terriers jumped out on the offensive by posting the first three shots on goal, but it was four-time defending champion BC that found the scoreboard first. On its first shot at the 4:04 mark, freshman Ryan Fitzgerald (North Reading, Mass.) snapped in his ninth of the season from the far circle. 

Eighty seconds into the second period, BC's potent top line of junior Johnny Gaudreau and seniors Kevin Hayes (Dorchester, Mass.) and Bill Arnold (Needham, Mass.) connected to double the lead. Hayes received the ultimate pass from Arnold, tapping his 20th goal of the year into a net left vacated by BU sophomore Matt O'Connor.

The Terriers were unable to find the scoreboard in the second period, but killed off a five-minute major penalty midway through without much damage as freshman Doyle Somerby (Marblehead, Mass.) laid out Hayes on a hitting from behind call. 

At 6:43 of the third, BU made things interesting by breaking the shutout as freshman Robbie Baillargeon (Enfield, Conn.) scored on a long shot from between the circles.

Gaudreau sealed the deal with 30 seconds to go, taking a feed off the wall from Arnold - his second of the night - for an empty-netter. 

Records: Boston College 20-4-3 (12-1-1 Hockey East), Boston University 8-15-3 (3-8-2)

Key Play of the Game: Just over four minutes into the third period, BU's night was summed up with one play. Terriers sophomore Matt Lane stripped the puck from BC's Michael Matheson along the wall, firing a puck toward net. Freshman Kevin Duane (New Canaan, Conn.) had an open look, but the puck skidded along the goal line and out.

Kummins’ Commendations: Thatcher Demko was not able to open his Beanpot career with a shutout as Baillargeon scored early in the third, but he sure was good with 23 big-time saves. ... Of course, the Gaudreau-Arnold-Hayes combination never disappoints and came to play on the big stage once again.

Kummins’ Critiques: The Boston University power play certainly missed out on some key opportunities throughout the game and finished without a goal in five opportunities. When looking back at this one, that will sure be a figure to point out.

Notes: Before this evening's opening stanza, BU had not outshot its opponent in a period since its Jan. 11 game against Maine at Frozen Fenway. ... With a secondary assist to Hayes in the first period, Gaudreau extended his point-scoring streak to 22 games. ... The Gaudreau-Arnold-Hayes trio has scored 52 combined goals this season, more than seven Division 1 teams to date.

Final Thoughts: When the Commonwealth Avenue inhabitants get together, especially in the Beanpot, records go out the window. BU has struggled this year - and mightily at times - but this game lived up to the hype of Beanpot tournaments past.

Next: Both sides will return to their Commonwealth Avenue establishments on Friday night. The second-ranked Eagles will welcome in Merrimack, while the Terriers oppose UMass-Lowell.

Twitter: @JoshuaKummins
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