Boston Bruins prospect Matt Grzelcyk played a superb game to lead his No. 9 Boston University Terriers to a 4-2 upset victory over their top-ranked arch rivals, the Boston College Eagles. The freshman defenseman continued his sparkling season with his second collegiate goal.
BU and BC renewed the Battle of Comm. Ave for the second time this season, 19 days after BC claimed the first matchup 4-2. As NBC Sports beamed college hockey's premier rivalry live to a national audience, the two sides certainly did not disappoint.
With BC coach Jerry York just one victory shy of tying Ron Mason's all-time wins record, Jack Parker and his BU squad had no intention of seeing such history take place inside Agganis Arena.
A hard-fought first period saw the two top-10 teams trade chances without success due to spectacular performances from goaltenders Matt O'Connor (BU) and Parker Milner (BC).
Much like Grzelcyk, the freshman O'Connor turned in a superb outing. He made 35 saves to hand the Eagles just their second loss of the season.
Grzelcyk showed maturity well beyond his years as he exerted a major influence throughout the game. In the first period he displayed his excellent hockey sense as he slid through the BU slot to break up a one-time pass from Chicago Blackhawks first-round pick Kevin Hayes that could have easily ended up striking twine.
He also nearly scored with a slapper from the high slot as BC goalie Parker Milner found himself under siege early and often.
In the second frame, Grzelcyk showed off his offensive flair with a dazzling wrap-around goal to give BU a 3-1 lead. With a lightning-fast break behind the net, he exhibited incredible hands and poise to light the lamp. The goal was his second of the season and his second versus BC, against whom he opened his career tally in a November 11 loss.
In the NBC Sports commentary booth, Pierre McGuire repeatedly compared the Bruins' 2012 third-round selection to former NHL star Brian Rafalski. Despite being undersized at 5'9", the sweet-skating Grzelcyk has plenty of upside at the NHL level.
Coach Jack Parker, who has mentored his fair share of NHL defensemen, had the following to say after the game:
Obviously Grzelcyk’s, that was the biggest goal of the game... They make it 2-1 and come out and start grinding away at us, and we immediately get the lead right back... He’s been pretty poised since he arrived. He’s a pretty confident kid.
He has taken Hockey East by storm this fall with 11 points in just 12 games. He currently ranks third among Terriers in points and first in plus-minus with a plus-13 rating.
The Charlestown, Mass. native's speedy acclimation to the NCAA game bodes very well for his future in Boston.
Boston University and Boston College will complete their weekend series December 1 at 7:30 p.m. ET, this time at Chestnut Hill's Conte Forum. For Boston Bruins fans looking to catch a glimpse of Grzelcyk or just to enjoy some excellent local hockey in the midst of a troubling lockout, the game will be televised on NBC Sports.