CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – The old saying goes, “Expect the Unexpected,” and that is usually a good suggestion in the BU/BC hockey rivalry. Even the experts would not expect anything like Sunday’s game at Kelley Rink.
In the first installment of “The Battle of Comm. Ave.” for the 2011-12 season, the No. 16 Terriers defeated the No. 2 Eagles in their most complete effort yet — a 5-0 road victory.
Today’s result marked just the eighth time in the 255-game series the Terriers have shutout the Eagles.
“Obviously, it was a really solid effort from start to finish for us,” said BU head coach Jack Parker, whose team broke a two-game losing streak with the victory. “We got off to a good start…Overall, I thought our entire team played smart defensively.”
“We battled defensively and made some nice plays…It would be a shame to single one guy out since they all played so hard. It was our best effort of the year, no question.”
The Terriers, who scored twice in each of the first two periods and once in the final frame blanked the host Eagles for the first time since a 3-0 win on March 1, 1983.
Senior Kieran Millan made 21 saves in goal as he pitched his second shutout of the season and the seventh of his career, holding the nation’s seventh-best offense off the scoreboard for the first time this season.
“I thought our team played fabulous in front of me,” Millan said. “Especially considering how many power plays they had early in that first period. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a BU hockey team, since I have been here, block that many shots.”
“It was a pleasure to be in net and be a part of that. Hopefully we can play a lot more like that because it was a lot of fun.”
The Edmonton, Alta. native became the first BU goaltender to shut out BC in Hockey East history.
In fact, the Eagles have not been shutout since Feb. 13, 2009 against UMass-Lowell, while BC has scored more than one goal in every game since a Feb. 19 loss at Northeastern.
“That was the first full team effort aside from the UNH game [on Oct. 8] that we’ve really put out there,” Millan said. “You know, people were maybe starting to doubt us a little bit. Even maybe ourselves but after that game, I think it’s pretty clear we can beat anybody.”
The Terriers got goals from four different skaters, including two from junior Wade Megan, while converting on two of their five power plays and holding the Eagle power play scoreless in eight opportunities.
“You have to outwork the opponent,” Parker said. “You see what’s going on out there and anticipate things. We did a good job of that tonight.”
BU made its mark early on as senior Corey Trivino opened the scoring on a wrister from the slot just 54 seconds into the proceedings.
Megan pounded home his first of two scores on the BU power-play at the 19:13 mark of the opening stanza, dribbling the puck behind BC junior Parker Milner from the right post for the 2-0 advantage.
Junior Alex Chiasson blasted a one-timer from the top of the left circle for BU’s second goal on the man-advantage halfway through the middle period, while Matt Nieto made it a 4-0 game in the latter stages of the stanza — with just 4:13 left — as he one-timed Charlie Coyle’s pass into the back of the net.
With the hosts trying for some form of momentum on a 6-on-4 advantage late, Megan’s second goal of the game sent fans to the exits as he broke in alone off a turnover and wristed it past Milner.
Megan’s shorthanded goal marked the third time BC has allowed a goal with the man-advantage in 12 games this season after allowing four all of last year.
The victory was the most decisive for the Terriers against their Green Line rivals since a 10-3 drubbing at Walter Brown Arena on Jan. 13, 1996 and also snapped a five-game losing streak against the Eagles, their longest drought since 1957.
The Terriers return to Agganis Arena on Friday for a NESN-televised contest against Vermont, while the Eagles travel to Notre Dame for a single meeting next Friday at the new Compton Family Ice Arena.