November 9, 2013

Arnold, Eagles continue to dominate at Agganis

By Joshua Kummins

Senior forward Bill Arnold (Needham, Mass.) had a milestone night in the Eagles' 5-1 win over Boston University Friday night. (Photo: Dave Arnold/New England Hockey Journal)

BOSTON -- Home ice hasn’t  been too kind to the Terriers when their biggest rival’s been in the building.

Since Agganis Arena opened in January 2005, BC has compiled a 10-3-1 record there. That impressive streak continued on Friday night as the visitors skated away with a dominant 5-1 win in the season's first installment of The Battle of Commonwealth Avenue.

"That adds an interesting dynamic to the series," York said about his team's success against their archrivals on the road. "I'm not quite sure [what to make of it]. It's an odd stat, that's for sure. ... It's always a fun atmosphere, whether it's Kelley Rink or Agganis. I know both our teams look forward to these type of encounters."

The first period was basically the Johnny Gaudreau show, as he played a major part on both Eagle goals.

At 9:10, the Carney's Point, N.J., native made a beautiful cross-ice pass to set up freshman winger Austin Cangelosi's third goal of the season. Cangelosi made a very patient, veteran play to wait out BU sophomore netminder Matt O'Connor and tuck one five-hole to lift the Eagles to a 1-0 lead.

"Johnny Hockey," as he is affectionately known, scored the second goal of the night just over two minutes later, taking a drop pass from senior Bill Arnold (Needham, Mass.) and wristing one high above the stick-side shoulder of O'Connor.

For the Noble and Greenough School product from nearby Needham, the assist on Gaudreau's goal marked his 100th-career point. Arnold is just the 75th Eagle in program history to hit the century mark.

As a local, participating in such a heated rivalry over a four-year career has meant a lot to Arnold.

"It's a great rivalry,” Arnold commented. "Coach said it's two points in every game you play, but when you play against BU, it's an extra special game. It's an incredible atmosphere, and it hasn't really mattered whose had the better team each year, it's whoever plays best on the night you play."

As far as his pretty historic milestone, Arnold was quick to shrug it off. "It's not about points. What you want is the win, the end result. If you play honest and as a team, that stuff will come. I'm honored to be in that company, but that's not why I play the game. I play to win."

After a first period in which the Terriers were outshot by a solid 16-5 margin, they came out like gangbusters in the second period as rookie Nick Roberto (Wakefield, Mass.) had the ultimate deflection on an initial shot from classmate Robbie Baillargeon (Enfield, Conn.) at the 1:59 mark.

Gaudreau collected his third point on as many BC scores at 7:41 of the middle stanza, breaking through the Terrier defense, wheeling around the net and finding Arnold on the left side of the net for a slam-dunk goal.

"I think he's the only player I've ever played with that would know not to shoot that, kind of on a mini-breakaway there, take it behind the net, curl and throw it back out," Arnold said. "It's the easiest goal you're ever going to score. ... He's dangerous from everywhere. It's a ton of fun to play with him and I'm really fortunate I'm getting that opportunity this year."

On the flip side, BU head coach David Quinn had high praise for the Eagles' stellar junior, and why not?

"I've seen him before, but not behind the bench. He's just a great college player. Obviously, he's a guy who creates a lot of offense. If you go to him and don't have 100 percent intent to pay the price, you're going to pay the price. And we certainly paid a price tonight."

At that point, the game was well out of reach but the Eagles added two in rapid succession midway through the third. Hayes picked off an errant BU pass in the offenzive zone and snapped one high on O'Connor at 7:35, before he fired a no-look, behind-the-back pass across the ice to junior Destry Straight for the easy score at 8:27.

York's first comments in the post-game press conference praised the work of freshman netminder Thatcher Demko, who has yet to lose over four outings (3-0-1). Overall, the Eagle defense allowed just six shots on goal during 5-on-5 play.

"I thought we got outstanding goaltending from Thatcher Demko," York said. "I thought our ability to defend on the penalty kill was part because of Thatcher, but also making good plays."

After a day off, the Eagles will return to the ice on Sunday afternoon for a contest against Atlantic Hockey foe Army at Kelley Rink.

Twitter: @JoshuaKummins