Men’s Hockey: Terriers fall flat on biggest stage, lose 6-2 to BC in HE Championship

By Devora Slonim

For the Eagles, elation. For the Terriers, a slap in the face.

For a Boston College team that’s taken down their biggest rival three times out of four, all while remaining the top-ranked team in college hockey, “Who’s your daddy?” chants are most certainly warranted.

For the first time in three meetings, Boston University men’s hockey (26-9-2, 18-4-2 HEA) fell in the Hockey East Championship to No. 1 Boston College (31-5-1, 21-3-1 HEA). 

“It’s tough… Obviously it’s emotional. You’re angry. You want to be on the other side of things,” Terrier captain Case McCarthy said. 

Special teams proved the difference all night. The Eagles went 4-for-5 overall, while BU managed a measly 1-for-5.

“We didn’t get a ton out of the [penalty] kill… we just didn’t have an answer for it,” coach Jay Pandolfo said.

The night’s first power play came early, 1:45 into the opening frame, on a tripping call to BC’s Jack Malone. The Terriers were unable to capitalize, which became a common theme all night. 

Tensions flared early, with both teams fighting hard for the puck, not shying away from extracurricular activities around the net. 

BU was active early, firing three shots on the net in the opening four minutes. However, the Eagles caught a break when Shane Lachance received a two-minute minor for slashing, allowing Will Smith to capitalize on the man advantage, beating Mathieu Caron in front for his first of the night. 

BC took an early 2-0 lead on their second power play opportunity of the first, with Smith netting his second in just the first ten minutes of play. 

The Terriers had a few good looks in response, but Eagles goaltender Jacob Fowler remained laser-focused in net, turning aside shot after shot from BU’s offense. 

Unsustained offensive zone time on the Terrier’s second-man advantage kept the score 2-0 in favor of BC as the teams headed to the locker rooms to gear up for an intense second period. 

BU’s offense was hungry to get one back in the middle frame. 

Their hard work paid off thanks to Gavin McCarthy, who fired a rocket from the point, beating Fowler and earning his first collegiate goal. 

“It was fun being on the ice with [Gavin] and being able to go grab that puck,” older brother Case McCarthy said. “It was a cool older brother moment for sure… to see how excited he was and finally get his first one.” 

Some good chances for both teams, with the Terriers applying consistent pressure to the Eagles defense, but were unable to beat Fowler, who made numerous pad and blocker saves. 

BC capitalized on their third power play of the night as Gabe Perreault beat Caron on what needed to be a crucial penalty kill for the Terriers. 

A do-or-die third period began with BU looking for two to tie the game. 

Three minutes in, the Terriers drew a cross-checking call but could not find a rhythm in the offensive zone. For what seemed like the first time all season, BU was 0/3 thus far in the night on the powerplay. Momentum continued to swing in BC’s favor as Smith netted his third of the night, earning the first hat trick by a rookie in a Hockey East title game, and stretched it to a comfortable 4-1 lead. 

The Eagles would continue to find success on the power play, scoring once again with Perreault’s second of the evening.

The Terriers had one last chance to claw their way back to the top on a somewhat-successful five-minute major call on Jamie Armstrong. For the first time all night, BU scored on special teams, as Macklin Celebrini beat Fowler to get the Terriers within three with just over two minutes remaining on the power-play. 

BU pulled Caron, getting another player out with the clock ticking down on both the major penalty and regulation time.

Yet again, Smith found the back of the net for his fourth of the night, sealing the deal on the empty net.

“We’re still playing. It’s not the end of our season… it’s gonna hurt tonight but we’ll get past it and we’ll be ready to get going in the NCAA tournament. That’s all we can do,” Pandolfo said.

BU will face off against RIT in the first round of the NCAA tournament this week, at a location that will be revealed on tomorrow’s Selection Show at 6:30 p.m.