Cream Rises; BU Finds A Way Again
by Dane DeKrey/Staff Writer
by Dane DeKrey/Staff Writer
BU F Jason Lawrence after 5-4 win over Vermont
BU senior F Jason Lawrence on the 5-4 semifinal win over Vermont
WASHINGTON, D.C. Good teams are able to come from behind in a game to win; great teams are able to do so more than once in the same game and still earn the victory.
On Thursday night, Boston University showed why it’s a great team.
The Terriers weathered a near meltdown in the second period, which included three unanswered goals and a lead change. And if that wasn’t enough of a resiliency test for the team, it found itself down a goal again halfway through the third period.
The question was: Would the team fight back or fold?
The answer, resoundingly, was fight back, as BU scored two unanswered goals in the final ten minutes of the game to earn itself a spot in Saturday’s championship game.
“I thought we played a solid third period tonight,” said coach Jack Parker. “It was emblematic of the type of determination and will that this club has.”
Leading the charge for BU was sophomore Colin Wilson, who scored two goals, including the game winner, and added an assist on the evening.
But Wilson’s game winner, though obviously important, wasn’t the most important goal of the game. That goal came with under two minutes left in the second period, and it came off the stick of BU’s Vinny Saponari.
“I think it was the biggest goal of the game,” said captain Matt Gilroy. “When they scored three unanswered there in the second period, we were kind of like “Oh boy,” but Vinny got a big goal, and it was fun to watch and be out there.”
Saponari’s goal was the first of two battle-back goals for the Terriers, as twice they had to come from behind on Thursday night.
In a game where momentum shifts can cripple a team’s chances of collecting itself, pulling together, and a finding a way back into the game, a tying goal at the end of period like Saponari’s allowed BU to salvage what little could be salvaged from the team’s otherwise abysmal second period.
“It was the biggest goal of the game because we don’t want to go into the dressing room losing,” explained Parker. “We don’t want to have blown the lead that we did and have the bad second period that we did, and to get that goal back was a huge lift, ties it up, but also gives us an opportunity to feel a little bit better going into the third period.”
The good feeling was short lived for BU, however, as Vermont’s Drew MacKenzie scored his first goal of the season on the power play midway through the third period to again give his team the lead.
It was a blow for the Terriers, but not a final blow.
“When they scored that goal, I told the guys to just stay focused, stick to what we know best,” said Gilroy. “When we’re skating and moving and hitting people we’re at our best, and we just kept at that and pucks started dropping.”
The final puck dropped with five minutes left in the game, on a rebound goal by Wilson.
“That goal was the biggest goal of my life,” said Wilson, a Hobey Baker finalist. “I fantasize all the time about scoring big goals like that one, and I’m glad I could come through tonight.”
While Wilson’s goal was the highlight of the team’s comeback, even more impressive was the comeback itself. To watch an opposing team score three unanswered goals, and moreover, to be behind in the third period of a championship playoff game, to be able to respond the way BU did tonight was a watershed moment for the team.
It goes all the way back to the two previous meetings between BU and Vermont.
“We went into the third period tied 3-3, and we had been tied with them before 3-3 going into the third period,” said Parker. “In the last two games before this one, we played them going into the third period tied and lost 4-3.”
Tonight was different for Parker’s Terriers, and that difference was the difference that mattered.
Not only did the team come back from being down to win the game, it did so on college hockey’s biggest stage.
“To not let them close us out was a big plus for us,” said Parker. “It was a real character building game, because it was a test to see who was going to win.”
And after a full-out battle for 60 minutes, BU passed the test.
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