March 17, 2006 PRINT Bookmark and Share

The Difference

by Mike Machnik/CHN Senior Writer

BOSTON — At the Hockey East awards banquet Thursday night, Boston University coach Jack Parker spoke about his team's amazing second-half turnaround this season.

"People ask me all the time, 'What was the difference? What did you do differently?'

"Well, we 'inserted' No. 7 in the lineup," Parker said, referring to the return of David Van der Gulik from an abdominal injury in late December.

The senior captain rang up a hat trick — his second in three playoff games and third of his career — to lead the top-seeded Terriers to a berth in the Hockey East championship game after a 9-2 semifinal win over fourth seed New Hampshire.

Van der Gulik added an assist on Brad Zancanaro's third-period goal for a four-point night, a career best in 138 games played.

He was the difference in the game, just as he has been one of the key differences in the Terriers' season.

It wasn't just the hat trick that made Van der Gulik the clear star of the game. Sometimes a player scores three, but one or more of the goals come after the game is already pretty much decided. That wasn't the case here.

"I would say the Van der Gulik flurry was the turning point of the game."

— Boston University coach Jack Parker

It was the timing of the goals — BU's second, third and fifth of the night — that dashed any hope the Wildcats had of repeating their win over BU in last year's semifinals.

The last two, sandwiched around a Matt Gilroy goal in the second, helped turn a 2-1 Terrier lead into a 5-1 game after two and all but put the game away.

"He made a couple of nice plays, going to the net, took the pressure off a little bit," said Parker. "If they score, it's still a two-goal lead, or if they get a goal and make it a two-goal lead, it's a ball game again. Instead, we get a couple quick ones and the game is over.

"I would say the Van der Gulik flurry was the turning point of the game."

With the score tied, 1-1, in the first, Van der Gulik scored his first of the night as BU took the lead for the first time in the game.

BU would not give it up.

"Jekabs Redlihs did a great job," Van der Gulik said. "I just went to the net and tried to beat my guy and it kind of left me open, the puck came squirting out and I found the far side of the net."

The Terriers held that one-goal lead into the second, weathering a UNH attack until Van der Gulik scored two of the next three.

"It was a 2-on-1, and the D-man kind of took away the pass," said Van der Gulik of his goal that made it 3-1.

"I saw the goalie cheating a little bit and I tried to find the short side, and it went under his blocker. I didn't get a lot on it, it was kind of a changeup, but I was fortunate on that one."

Then two minutes after Matt Gilroy's goal, Van der Gulik put the game away with his second hat trick goal in a week, leading to a fan tossing a green St. Patrick's Day fedora on the TD Banknorth Garden ice surface.

"I just went to the net, back door, and the guy kind of left me alone — he kind of took my stick but he didn't really take it away, so I had my stick on the ice and Zancs just hit it and it went in back door. Zancs made a great play, charging down wide.

"Just go to the net and good things happen."

The Terriers' march continues towards a tournament title to go along with their regular season first-place finish.

BU has lost just two games since Van der Gulik returned to the lineup, an amazing 18-2-2 run. Without him in the first half, BU was just 6-7-2.

And he has led the way, especially when it counts, scoring six goals and adding two assists for eight points in the tournament so far.

If he scores one more tomorrow, he will tie the tournament record for goals in a single playoff run.

"Our line had a lot of rushes, more than usual, and we buried on them," said Van der Gulik. "When you get those chances, you want to capitalize. I don't think we did anything different, but we had some bounces.

"We're having a lot of fun, but we have a lot to accomplish, that's what's on our mind right now. I'm happy that I'm helping offensively, getting the chances and stepping up, burying them.

"Hopefully I can continue to get that luck and help us win a championship."

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