For the first time since 2009, Hockey East will have a new champion.
On a night where the women’s hockey team suffered a heartbreaking overtime loss to Minnesota in the Frozen Four, the men’s team’s pursuit of a fourth-straight Hockey East crown came to an end.
The Boston University Terriers defeated the Boston College Eagles, 6-3, in the semifinals of the 2013 Hockey East Tournament. They will face the UMass-Lowell River Hawks on Saturday night for a chance to win the conference title.
Friday night’s contest started reasonably well for the Eagles, as BC jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a power play goal by Bill Arnold, and then took a second-period lead of 2-0 on a Quinn Smith goal on a redirection. At one point in the middle period, the Eagles had a 29-10 shot advantage and Boston College was putting consistent pressure on Terrier goalie Sean Maguire.
Then, with a little less than eight minutes to go in the second, the BC meltdown began. Evan Rodrigues of BU got his team on the board, and then, less than two minutes later, Matt Lane took advantage of a defensive breakdown to break away and tie the game at 2-2. With two minutes remaining in the period, Garrett Noonan notched a power play goal to give Boston University a 3-2 lead.
That would hardly be all. In fact, the Terriers would go on to score three consecutive power play goals, with the other two coming in the third period. Danny O’Regan netted them both, eventually putting BU ahead by a 5-2 score with only 11 minutes to go in the game. Steven Whitney got one back late for BC, but Evan Rodrigues scored an empty-net shorthanded goal to make it a 6-3 contest.
A collapse such as this is difficult to stomach for those who have followed Boston College hockey. Bad defense and penalties led to much of what ailed the Eagles; with 47 shots on goal, one cannot say they lacked for putting pucks on the net. If there was a problem with that, it came from BC’s inability to score on very good opportunities in the first half when they had chances to rip the game open early. The second half was a completely different story, as at about the midway point of the second period, the Terriers seized the momentum and never gave it back.
In the last 28 minutes of the game, Boston University outscored the Eagles 6-1 and hung three power play goals on one of the best kills in Hockey East. It was the sort of thing that cannot and should not happen to a team that intends to contend for a national title.
Boston College’s spot in the upcoming NCAA Tournament is secure, but once more, there are serious questions about how far this team can and will go. Previous Eagles teams struggled early in the winter but found another gear in February and March; this team has not. The Eagles are good and quite talented, but arguably not great, and their competition in the tournament will be fierce. BC will get to give this one more try in the national tourney, but after the team shockingly crumbled on Friday night, following months of up-and-down play, it seems like Trophy Season might not be much of a Trophy Season at all.