Photo credit Daniel Petty, The Denver Post
BOSTON – With just 16 seconds left in regulation at Agganis Arena in Boston, American Hero Troy Terry silenced over 4,000 buzzing Boston University fans as he sent the puck over BU goalie Jake Oettinger’s left shoulder and into the net for Denver’s fourth and game-winning goal. Terry’s goal not only served as the culmination of an incredible college hockey game, but it also gave his top-ranked Denver Pioneers a key nonconference road victory over an extremely talented #6 Boston University team.
“It was a great college hockey game, obviously,” BU head coach David Quinn said. “I was really disappointed with the way it ended, but [Denver]’s a hell of a hockey team. There’s a reason they’re number one in the country. There’s a reason they’re defending national champions.”
Early on, it didn’t seem like the game would be that close. Jake Durflinger and Colin Staub both finished rebound chances in front of Oettinger within the first five minutes of the game. It looked like Denver might cruise to a surprisingly easy road victory. After BU finally settled in and Denver’s defending national champion “mystique” melted away, it was a completely different story.
By the end of the first period, BU had climbed back to within a goal and had it not been for Staub’s beneficial positioning on another rebound, the Pios and Terriers would have entered the first break tied at two. Instead, Staub finished another rebound and gave Denver the 3-2 lead after the first 20 minutes.
The second period was almost a polar opposite of the first. There was a lot of action on both ends of the ice, but neither team was able to break through and find any twine. Tanner Jaillet stood tall for Denver and Oettinger recovered from a shaky opening period to stone every Denver chance.
It was the third period that sealed this game’s status as a classic. BU had a step on DU for much of the final frame. Pucks were bouncing off of Pioneers’ sticks, passes weren’t sharp, and the Terriers were always at the right place at the right time. For the first 13 minutes of the third period, Jaillet was able to stand tall and maintain the one-goal lead. He made a few flashy saves, including one that saw him go from post to post and deny a BU chance with a sprawling pad save.
“I used Lukosevicius, Staub, and Finlay a lot more in the third, double-shifting them,” Montgomery said. “It mixes up the lines, but I have a lot of confidence in those players to execute and make plays.
At the 13:21 mark of the period though, Dante Fabbro saw a shot lane from above the right circle and he didn’t miss. The 4,000+ red-clad BU fans were in a frenzy and it seemed that Denver was headed for their third straight Friday night overtime. Troy Terry had other ideas.
A little more than six minutes later, Troy Terry gathered the puck below BU’s net, skated around into the slot virtually untouched, saw twine above Oettinger’s shoulder and, in true American Hero style, sniped the corner to send the Pioneers back to their hotel with a fun, hard-fought, classic victory.
“I thought that was a great game,” Montgomery said. “That’s what college hockey is all about. Momentum shifts like that, we’re up 2-0, they come storming back. I was really proud of our team’s resiliency again. When we get pushed, we push back. In the last four minutes, our best players took over the game.”
While Terry’s goal was absolutely and deservingly the story this evening, the Pioneers’ depth both up front and along the blue line was on display throughout the game. Staub and Durflinger paced the offense for most of the game while the Terriers’ focus was mostly on players like Terry, Henrik Borgström, and Dylan Gambrell.
“I don’t think people realize we have eight freshman skaters in the lineup every night,” Montgomery said. “That’s a hard thing to overcome. They need to learn and grow and that’s why your best players have to play great early in the year to carry your torch.”
Even though it’s still very early on, tonight’s victory gave Denver fans a glimpse into what is going to make Pioneers so good this year. It wasn’t a perfect performance, but DU did just enough to escape Agganis with their fourth straight victory over the Terriers.
The Pioneers will travel to Chestnut Hill tomorrow evening to play the second half of their Boston road trip against Boston College. The game can be streamed on ESPN3 and you can always listen to the game on ESPN 1600 AM.