The Takeaway: Millan Leads BU to Ugly Win Over BC

Posted by: Scott McLaughlin

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Kieran Millan had one of his best games as a Terrier, stopping 42 of 45 shots as BU beat BC 5-3 at Conte Forum on Friday despite getting tripled up in shots. BU opened the scoring 10:15 in when Charlie Coyle walked through the left circle on the power play and beat Parker Milner (10 saves) with a snap shot over the right arm. The Terriers (8-4-1, 6-3-1 HE) added to the lead seven minutes later when Yasin Cisse caught a great pass from Alexx Privitera and beat Milner on a breakaway for his first collegiate goal. Garrett Noonan made it 3-0 BU midway through the second before BC (10-5-0, 7-3-0) finally got on the board with a goal from Bill Arnold. Cason Hohmann and Corey Trivino also scored for BU.

What I saw

-The Terriers continued to look great on the penalty kill for the first half of the game. They barely allowed BC to get set up on two power plays in the first period, as they applied consistent pressure to the puck carrier and forced BC into turnovers and bad shots. That continued on BC’s first power play of the second, but BU appeared to tire after that, as the Eagles began to pepper Millan beginning with their fourth power play of the game.

-Although BU scored two power-play goals, its man advantage didn’t really look that good. The Terriers struggled to gain possession in the offensive zone for much of their first three power plays. They finally got set up in the last 30 seconds of their first one and made it count when Coyle scored, but it was far from a good-looking power play all things considered. The Terriers scored again on a five-minute power play in the third, but that only came after two-plus minutes of doing absolutely nothing. The box score will show that the Terriers went 2-for-6 on the man advantage, but they didn’t look nearly as good as they have recently.

-The Terriers took a lot of penalties — eight through the first two periods to be exact. Noonan was the worst offender, as four of those treks to the box were made by him. What was most amazing about BU’s penalties was how many of them came right after another penalty had expired. Noonan went off for cross-checking 22 seconds after serving an interference penalty. Matt Nieto was called for boarding 21 seconds after Corey Trivino served a cross-checking penalty. Then Noonan went to the box again just 45 seconds after Nieto’s penalty came to an end. The fact that the Terriers survived all those penalties while only giving up one goal is nothing short of mind-boggling.

What I thought

-The Terriers were lucky not to lose their lead in the second. BC completely dominated 5-on-5 play and registered the first 16 shots of the period en route to outshooting BU by an absurd 23-1 margin in the frame. The only reason BU remained in the lead was because of Millan’s spectacular play. The senior netminder made saves of every variety — flashy glove saves, sprawling pad saves, stops on deflections. The Eagles had him moving, but he managed to stay square to just about everything. He shone brightest on BC’s fourth and fifth power plays of the game, when he was bombarded with one shot after another. He finally broke when Bill Arnold tipped a shot past him on BC’s eighth man advantage, but he couldn’t do much about that one.

-It’s been a long road to that first goal for Cisse. The redshirt freshman missed all but the first period of last season after re-injuring the same ankle that cost him the last half of his 2009-10 USHL season. He then missed the first six games this year while both rehabbing the ankle and recovering from a concussion. He has played well through seven games this season — most notably bringing some physicality and tenacity every shift — and his hard work finally paid off with a goal Friday night.

-Saturday night should be fun. Friday’s game got very chippy toward the end, with scrums popping up after seemingly every whistle in the game’s final 10-12 minutes. For evidence, you can look at the box score, which shows 13 penalties total in the third, including a game misconduct to BC’s Pat Mullane for hitting from behind and a 10-minute misconduct to BC’s Steven Whitney for a very blatant embellishment.

What they said

“After [the first period], I thought the game deteriorated. We let it deteriorate. They’re diving all over the place. They finally got a diving penalty. They dove and got some penalties, but we took some stupid penalties. Pathetic, that stuff that’s going on out there. Absolutely pathetic. … And I’m not blaming the referees. Diving is just too difficult for the referees to figure out. It’s unbelievable how many times a guy just feels a little bit of stick on him and jumps into a guy. Somebody else besides the referee will have to straighten that out.” -BU coach Jack Parker

“You can definitely see it out there. I saw one guy, [Steven Whitney], doing it all game. There’s just no need for that. It kind of ruins the game. It ruins the flow of the game. You don’t need that in the game. You definitely saw it out there. You gotta get rid of that.” -BU forward Charlie Coyle on Parker’s assessment that BC was diving

“Yeah, the BU players were diving a lot, I thought. That was a problem all night long. I don’t coach other teams. I coach my team. It’s hard enough to coach your own team without coaching someone else’s team.” -BC coach Jerry York, in a sarcastic tone, when asked about Parker’s diving accusations

There’s not much to add here, but that war of words is about as close to real hatred as you get in college hockey. Everyone knows Parker and York have all the respect in the world for each other, but it’s not too difficult to figure out whom Parker’s comments were directed at — York. And York’s response was clearly a jab right back at Parker. Meanwhile, Coyle called out Whitney by number (I changed it to his name for the sake of clarity). Maybe this rivalry doesn’t have as much hatred as it once did, but tempers were certainly boiling after this one.

What else you should know

-The Terriers have now won five straight games for the first time since winning their final seven games of the 2008-09 national championship campaign.

-BU has now won back-to-back games at Conte Forum for the first time since 1993-94.

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