When he was a freshman, Boston University forward Danny O’Regan led the Terriers in scoring, and he’s never really let up since then.
Playing his last game at Agganis Arena Saturday, the senior right wing went out in style, scoring two goals and two assists to lead BU to a 5-4 win over Massachusetts in front of 1,917 at Agganis Arena. The win meant that the Terriers swept the best-of-three Hockey East playoff series and now move on to play Massachusetts-Lowell next weekend.
O’Regan’s four points elevated his career total to 152 points in 151 games played. He’s the first Terrier to hit the 150-point mark since Chris Drury managed the feat in 1998.
“He’s had a great season,” BU coach David Quinn said. “His best hockey has been the last six weeks, and he stepped up big time tonight. I thought that line was immense. JFK [Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson] had a couple of goals; [Jordan] Greenway had a heck of a night. That line gave us an awful lot of offensive-zone time and scoring chances.”
“It was definitely weird thinking about the fact that it was my last game here,” O’Regan said. “I’m definitely going to miss playing here with all of the great fans and the familiarity with the rink, but I’m really glad we could get the win. We have a lot of things to improve on, but to go out on a good note was a special thing.”
O’Regan was far from the only standout in tonight’s game, a see-saw battle in which the teams traded goals all night. BU took the lead four times, only to have UMass tie it out four times. It took Forsbacka Karlsson’s second goal of the night to finally seal it in the third period. BU freshman Charlie McAvoy doubled his career high in points, assisting on the final four BU goals of the game. Austin Plevy had a goal and two assists in a losing effort for the stubborn Minutemen.
“Just proud of our guys to find a way to win tonight,” BU coach David Quinn said. “It wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. A lot of that had to do with how hard UMass played and how well they played. Some of it had to do with the way we played — taking penalties and a 10-minute misconduct, which I think was a reflection of our mental commitment to the weekend, but when we needed to, we played hard and played smart and did enough to win.”
Meanwhile, UMass coach John Micheletto reflected on his team’s curious odyssey this season. After starting the season 6-2-1, a team dominated by freshmen and sophomores ran into injury problems and went 2-22-3 the rest of the way, but the Minutemen gave No.9 BU all kinds of problems in both games of this series, losing in overtime last night and then falling by one goal again tonight.
“You can probably just replay your tape recorders from last night,” Micheletto said. “A fun hockey game to be a part of. A little bit more offense tonight than yesterday. There was a lot of punch/counterpunch over the course of 60 minutes. Obviously, they got the last one in, but I was awfully proud of our guys’ approach and mentality and execution and mostly guts.”
“Despite all of the difficulties, for us to put 120 minutes of hockey together this weekend like we did is very, very impressive, and I was an awfully proud coach to stand behind that bench.”
O’Regan set up the first goal of the night. After a give-and-go with Greenway, O’Regan tossed the puck toward the crease, where Forsbacka Karlsson batted it in out of midair. UMass go that one back within three minutes when Plevy backhanded a pass to Dennis Kravchenko in the slot. The California didn’t get much of the puck on a wild swing, but the shot bounced off of someone and went in.
BU looked rather suspect in its own zone at times in the game, and Sean Maguire made a few really good saves when he was hung out to dry. Early in the second period, his teammates rewarded him with another one-goal lead, this time on a power play. At the left point, McAvoy passed to his defensive partner Matt Grzelcyk on the right side, who spun in a circle before hitting O’Regan near the left-wing dot for the shot and score.
Ironically, BU killed off two overlapping penalties midway through the period, only to surrender an even-strength goal 13 seconds after the last man advantage expired. Senior Shane Walsh buried a short-range wrister to tie it 2-2.
Within two minutes, BU regained the lead, as McAvoy set up Grzelcyk for a left-point wrist shot that found its way through traffic to beat goalie Nic Renyard. That lead held up for about five minutes, as Plevy set up Kurt Keats for a one-time tap-in on a power play.
To their credit, the Terriers stormed right back, making it 4-3 just 55 seconds later. Greenway fought off a defenseman behind the UMass net and shoveled a pass to O’Regan crashing the net for the goal.
UMass tied it 4-4 at 3:51 of the third period when Callum Fryar’s right-point shot hit Maguire high in the chest, and the Terriers goalie seemed to be looking around for the rebound. Plevy pounced on it and knocked it home.
Exactly eight minutes later, BU finally got the lead for good. McAvoy took a shot from the right point, and Forsbacka Karlsson appeared to fan on his first attempt to knock in the rebound, but he took a stride and made good on his second chance, beating Renyard glove side.
The game ended the collegiate careers of UMass senior Shane Walsh and Ben Gallacher.