That’s why they play the full five minutes. Drew Helleson deked a defender and tucked the puck around Ashton Abel’s back with 0:00.1 seconds remaining in overtime to propel Boston College past Boston University in the 283rd edition of the Battle of Comm. Ave.
Alex Newhook returned to the BC lineup for his second game of the season. The 2020 national rookie of the year missed the first half of the season training with Team Canada for the World Junior Tournament and had missed all but one game since the tournament’s conclusion with a shoulder injury. Despite his return, BC still wasn’t at full strength, was Logan Hutsko missed the game with an injury.
On the Terriers’ side, they were without the nation’s points per game leader David Farrance, as well as starting goaltender Drew Commesso - both were unfit to play. Ashton Abel, the goaltender in last year’s Beanpot, started in Commesso’s place.
BU controlled play off the drop, but BC found its footing and got on the board first. Helleson threw a shot in that Jack McBain deflected, and the puck trickled through Abel’s legs. McBain has goals in each of his last two games after going goalless since opening night.
BC took the 1-0 lead into the dressing room, but in the blink of an eye BU led 2-1. Jack DeBoer snuck one in and Markus Boguslavsky wristed one glove-side high two minutes apart to put the Terriers ahead.
The Eagles evened it up with their first power play goal in a month. BC’s power play, which is under 10% on the season, went one of four Friday night but looked markedly better with the addition of Newhook.
Late in the second, it was again McBain’s line that gave the Eagles the lead. McBain picked up a loose puck to the right of Able and put it on net. Colby Ambrosio, who slotted into Hutsko’s wing spot, jammed it home.
Much like in the second when the Terriers controlled play before a sloppy penalty opened the door for BC, in the third BC titled the ice before taking a too many men penalty and allowing BU to tie the game at three.
After a tense final few minutes, which saw BC kill off a Trevor Kuntar goaltender interference penalty, the two headed to overtime.
Neither team got much going in the three-on-three, with both looking tense and trying to avoid mistakes. The game seemed destined for a tie and a shootout. Helleson, however, wasn’t prepared to let that happen. The breakout sophomore defenseman went coast-to-coast, undressing a Terrier defender, before going backhand-forehand and sneaking the puck around Abel for the last second (literally) victory.
The win boosts BC to 11-2-1 on the season, and Spencer Knight improves to 10-0-1 on the season; his last loss in an Eagles uniform came exactly 365 days ago against UMass Lowell.
Following Friday night’s game, five of the last seven Comm. Ave. battles have been decided by one or fewer goals, meaning fans should be in for another treat Saturday when the team meet at Walter Brown Arena for the first time since 2004.
Photo courtesy of BCEagles.com