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BU edges BC, thwarts York's bid

BC coach Jerry York will remain No. 2 on the career wins list for at least one more night. Cal Sport Media via AP Images

BOSTON -- Not in our house.

The No. 9 Boston University Terriers made sure that Boston College hockey coach Jerry York's date with the record book would have to wait another day, protecting their home ice Friday by outgunning the No. 1 Eagles, 4-2, before 6,150 at Agganis Arena. The Terriers' victory ensured that York will not break Ron Mason's record of 924 wins this weekend, though he could tie it Saturday at home, against BU on the back end of this home-and-home series.

"I thought BU was better than we were tonight," said York. "We had some excellent flurries, and (BU goaltender Matt) O'Connor made some very good saves. But for the most part, I thought BU had the territorial edge. Their transition game was very good tonight. They had a lot of odd-man rushes off turnovers. So hats off to them. They played better and deserved to win the game."

It was the first time that BU (8-4-0; 6-3-0 Hockey East) had beat the No. 1 team in the nation since Jan. 27, 2006, a 4-3 win over -- you guessed it -- Boston College. The BU victory also snapped BC's 10-game win streak.

"All in all, it was a good effort by us," said BU coach Jack Parker. "It wasn't like we dominated that game. You've got to come up with a top game to beat Boston College the way they're playing right now.

"They've just come off a streak where they've won 29 of their last 30 games" dating back to last season, said the BU coach. "That's a pretty good club. I thought we were fortunate. I thought we deserved to win tonight. I thought we played hard tonight. And we feel glad that we could raise our game up to beat a club that's as good as they are."

Both teams came out flying in this 260th meeting of the storied rivalry, and the action flowed from goal line to goal line for the full 20 minutes. O'Connor, BU's freshman netminder (35 saves), stood tall over the first 10 minutes, constantly thwarting the BC attack. BC's Parker Milner (30 saves) was forced into duty at the 10:30 mark, blunting a clean breakaway bid by BU's Sahir Gill. Two minutes later, the senior netminder from Pittsburgh smothered a snap shot by BU's Matt Nieto off the left wing.

The theme continued for the rest of the opening stanza, with both squads getting quality chances but unable to find the back of the net. BU's Alexx Privitera came close, ringing a shot off the left post, and Kevin Hayes forced O'Connor into a terrific left pad stop on his cross-slot bid.

"It was an unbelievable job of goaltending by both goalies," said Parker. "In a game that was 0-0 for as long as it was, there was a lot of things happening out there. There were a lot of opportunities for both teams."

BU kept the accelerator pegged to the floor to start the second, and Milner was called to make several big stops, none better than back-to-back saves on Nieto as he slashed across the crease. Not to be outdone, O'Connor kept the game scoreless with dandy stops on BC's Patrick Brown and Quinn Smith before swallowing up Steve Whitney's off-wing wrister with his glove.

"I thought we picked it up a little bit" in the second period, said Parker. "Obviously, we outshot them a bit more in the second. That had something to do with it. But I didn't notice any momentum swings, one way or the other."

The Terriers broke the drought at 9:04. BU's Evan Rodrigues made a great shift across the high slot, but fired his shot over the crossbar. Nieto pounced on the rebound, and snapped a shot off the right post. BU defenseman Garrett Noonan, cruising into the low slot, tipped the fluttering puck out of midair and past Milner for a 1-0 BU lead.

Unfazed, Milner made a dazzling left pad stop of Danny O'Regan's tip at the doorstep, but BU kept pressing. Fifteen seconds later, Rodrigues took an O'Regan feed and blistered a shot over Milner's glove for a 2-0 BU margin at 16:04.

BC answered immediately, with captain Pat Mullane stepping up for the Eagles (10-2-0; 8-2-0 HE). Stationed in the low slot, Mullane took a pass from Johnny Gaudreau and snapped a quick shot underneath O'Connor's blocker to halve BU's advantage at 16:42. With 10 seconds left in the period, BU captain Wade Megan steamed a short-hand bid that beat Milner over the left shoulder, but clanked off the crossbar.

The Terriers stretched their lead to 3-1 at 1:46 of the final period on a nifty individual effort by defender Matt Grzelcyk. The freshman from Charlestown, Mass., drove down the left wing, looped behind the BC net, and before Milner could recover, banked a shot off the stick of Eagles defender Teddy Doherty.

"That was the biggest goal of the game, I thought," said Parker. "They make it 2-1, and they can come out and start grinding away at us. And we immediately get the two-goal lead right back. I thought that was huge."

Milner kept the Eagles close with a nice glove stop on a Cason Hohmann bid, and O'Connor twice stuffed Steve Whitney in tight. Nieto was denied by the right post (the third time the Terriers hit iron), and Milner twice stuffed Megan after the BU captain stripped BC defender Patch Alber at the side of the net.

A late BC flurry with just over two minutes left in the game kept the Terriers pinned in their own end, but O'Connor continued his stellar play, making several top-notch stops while scrambling from post to post.

"We did have four or five really Grade A chances to score, we didn't capitalize on those," said York. "But for the most part, BU had more chances than us during the game."

Megan sealed the win with an empty-net shorthanded tally at 18:21. With 25 ticks left on the clock, and BU down two men, Gaudreau brought the Eagles back to within two, but BC wouldn't get any closer. Combined with BC's 4-2 win over BU on Nov. 11, the Terriers' victory on Friday sets up the rubber match for the season series on Saturday at BC's Conte Forum.

"I think (the win) was real big," said Parker. "It's real important for us to beat some teams that are ahead of us. We've got four losses, and three of those four losses are against the No. 1 and 2 teams in the nation (BC and New Hampshire). And the other one is against North Dakota at North Dakota. We feel pretty good that we're a good team, but we still have to beat those guys. It'll be interesting to see how things unfold tomorrow night, on another sheet of ice."

York, meanwhile, said he was looking forward to the opportunity to get right back to work on Saturday, and getting the Eagles back on track.

"It should be another outstanding game tomorrow night," said the coach, who remains just a single win shy of the career record. "Just switch venues."