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BOSTON—For 56:30, Boston University goaltender Sean Fields relegated BC to second-best in Boston. It took just 9:37 for the Eagles to remind him why they’re No. 1 in the country.
After being blanked by Fields for the better part of three periods, Boston College snuck two late-game tallies by the star netminder to win the Beanpot 2-1 in overtime.
“Sean Fields almost stole the game from us,” Boston College coach Jerry York said. “I thought one of the key parts of our team’s success was handling the frustration with a hot goaltender in a 1-0 deficit and a goal called back. We still kept our poise.”
Already riding high after equalizing the score with just 3:30 remaining, the Eagles (21-3-4, 12-1-3 Hockey East) wasted little time bringing the bulk of the action back inside the Terriers zone. Tony Voce intercepted a pass in neutral ice and raced in towards Fields’ net, but before he could maneuver his way into position for a shot, BU defenseman Thomas Morrow hooked his stick inside Voce’s jersey to slow his progress. The ensuing man advantage provided all the wiggle room BC would need.
As they had while on the power play all evening, the Eagles patiently established their offensive set, then wore the Terriers (8-12-6, 4-10-2) down with crisp, cross-ice puck movement. Ryan Shannon found an open look and blasted a shot on Fields from the left circle, standing him up in the process. Fields allowed the puck to squirt loose in front of the goal, presenting a rare golden scoring opportunity for the goal-starved Eagles. Ryan Murphy attempted to flick the puck back to a teammate, but BU’s David van der Gulik was there to intercept and prepared to clear the puck from the zone and end the threat with just 29 seconds left on the power play.
But Murphy quickly turned round and poked the puck away, regaining possession as Fields scooted left and back into position. The BC junior wasn’t about to wait, blasting a shot high to Fields’ left, rocketing it past his outstretched glove and into the net for the game-winner.
It was that same relentless attacking mentality that had propelled the Eagles into the overtime period just minutes before the end of regulation.
Through regulation and the 6:07 of overtime, BC launched 96 shots, 50 hitting the target. BU attempted just 26 shots and only 13 found their destination.
Desperate to score late in the third, BC sent its forwards crashing on net, with Murphy, Ty Hennes and Ned Havern whacking at Fields’ pads in the hopes that a rare rebound might slide free. After Murphy fired on net from close range, Fields failed to control the rebound, allowing Hennes to bang home the game-tying goal on the Eagles’ 39th shot of the night.
It wasn’t the only shot to beat Fields to that point, but it was the first to make it to the scoreboard.
With four minutes gone by in the third and BC on the power play looking to draw even, Shannon blasted a shot from straight on off the left post—the Eagles’ fourth effort to clank off the iron. The puck ricocheted off Fields’ skate before skimming just inches wide of the twine.
Wasting little time, BC returned to the attack, urgently attempting to knot the score. Receiving a pass from behind the net, J. D. Forrest one-timed a slapshot from the right point, tucking it low and to the right, just beneath Fields’ leg.
But as the puck flew towards the goal, freshman Adam Pineault skated into the crease, prompting the officials to waive off the goal with just over 13 minutes left.
Early in the first period, BU struck an early blow, taking control of the game’s momentum off the opening draw and notching its first tally before the Eagles could establish their offense.
Pinning the puck in the Eagles’ zone, the Terriers worked the defense until BC’s Chris Collins was whistled for tripping just 66 seconds into the game. Even after the power play had expired, BU continued to apply concentrated pressure before the Eagles could comfortably settle into their five-man defense.
Terriers center John Laliberte received the puck inside the right circle, but with his path to the goal blocked, held possession to draw the defense before sending the puck high to left winger Kenny Roche just inside the blueline.
Roche wasted little time, blasting a shot high just below the crossbar on Kaltiainen’s glove side to seize a 1-0 lead just 3:30 in.
“We had the puck down low, our forecheck did a good job on the play,” Roche said. “I walked out of the corner and put it in. I always try to put it short side on top. I tend to do it on all goals.”
In anticipation of an offensive onslaught by the swifter, more-talented Eagles, the Terriers fell back into a defensive posture, hoping to weather the BC offensive storm and pull off the upset victory.
But BU’s “prevent” defense, anchored by Fields—whose 50 saves earned him the tournament MVP and the Eberly Award as the Beanpot’s top goaltender—though outstanding on this particular night, was simply second-best.
“It was not the game we wanted to play,” Parker said. “Last time out against BC, we actually outshot them, and they were the ones protecting the lead. We were playing conservative tonight and it was a little weird for us.”
—Staff writer Timothy J. McGinn can be reached at email@example.com.
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