By Matt Noonan
BOSTON, MA – Jack Parker must have said something motivational to his troops during a media timeout last night during the Hockey East semifinals against Boston College.
The Eagles, who were leading the Terriers by two tallies midway through the second frame, appeared to have all the momentum on their side. Yet, something was different, especially about this particular match.
Boston College has always felt at home at the TD Garden. They’ve won four consecutive Boston Beanpot championships, as well as the last three conference crowns, too. And even though history appeared to be on their side with a two-goal advantage, their momentum vanished after two quick strikes from BU’s Evan Rodrigues and Matt Lane, which tied the game at 2.
Lane’s goal, his fourth of the season, was what really changed the contest as the first-year forward stole a pass off a face-off in his team’s zone and raced down the ice to net the equalizer.
“I don’t know if we got complacent, but they got a few lucky breaks, we didn’t catch those breaks and I think we kind of got away from what made us successful in the first 35 minutes,” said BC’s Pat Mullane, who watched Lane’s goal from the bench.
“I don’t think guys sat back, we still attacked, but maybe just the bounces didn’t go our way tonight.”
BU’s offensive onslaught continued with a go-ahead goal from Garrett Noonan, who didn’t appear in his team’s last three contests, late in the second, which pushed the Terriers ahead for good.
Danny O’Regan, a member of this year’s Hockey East 2013 Pro-Ambitions All-Rookie Team, tacked on two power play goals early in the third to seal the win for the Terriers and setup a rematch of the 2009 conference championship against UMass Lowell, who defeated Providence College in the first game on Friday.
The win was certainly an impressive performance for a BU team that had struggled in January and February, but entered the contest on a four-game winning streak, two of which came last weekend against Merrimack College in the first round of the tournament. And while the players know this is Parker’s last ride, they certainly don’t seem interested in concluding their season without some hardware.
“I think especially after the first period we kind of realized that he’s such a great coach that we weren’t going to let him lose to BC at the Garden,” said O’Regan. “We were willing to do whatever it took.”
BU appeared flat following the opening face-off and destined to skate off the ice with a loss, but whatever Parker said to his squad during that timeout provided the Terriers with the necessary spark to rally and beat the Eagles.
“We have our backs to the wall, we played pretty well down the stretch here, but buried ourselves earlier in January and February, (especially) early February and we have to win to continue the season,” said Parker.
“After the way we played in the Garden (during the Beanpot tournament), I didn’t think we were going to be here this time, but the way we fought back and got home ice and took advantage of home ice by beating a really good Merrimack team and then get by BC tonight (was good for our team). I’m very proud of these guys and very happy for them and they have a chance to play a championship, (so) we’ll see what happens.”
It certainly will be an emotional night for the Red and White, who will once again be the underdog against a River Hawks club that’s 6-1 in the current month. And even though they haven’t defeated UMass Lowell this season, don’t expect the Terriers to lie down. Friday’s game proved that BU is determined to extend their season for another week, as well as do whatever is necessary to pull out a win.
“It’s obviously good to beat BC in the Garden,” said Noonan. “I don’t know if we have yet in my career here, but the jobs not done yet and we need to win tomorrow and it was a good win tonight.”