BOSTON - David Warsofsky is not unaccustomed to winning.
Since last February, he's won a Beanpot, a Hockey East regular-season title, a Hockey East tournament title, an NCAA championship, a World Juniors gold medal Tuesday and now a game at Fenway Park.
After a late game in Saskatoon on Tuesday and a travel day full of delays, cancellations and layovers, he said he was just trying to get his feet back under him.
"I practiced today and I practice yesterday, so it didn't take too long," he said. "The hardest part was getting my legs back. I didn't get much rest after the game we won in Canada and the flight home was canceled and we had layovers so the hardest part was just getting my legs back."
He got them back in a hurry. He scored the game's opening goal at 6:58 of the first period (and celebrated with a sweet home run swing to boot) as his BU Terriers rolled past Boston College before 38,472 fans at Fenway Park, 3-2. The crowd had 360 more fans in it than the Winter Classic.
"We were looking to get the first one and get on them early," he said. "Luckily I was able to get it past them not only, to get the monkey off my back but kinda the whole team. It was a real good way to start the game."
As it progressed, Warsofsky was a very notable presence and the Terriers pretty well controlled the game from the outset, limiting BC to just five shots in the first period and, at one point in the second, keeping it from putting anything on goal during a lengthy 5-on-3. In all, they blocked 14 shots and held the Eagles to a 1-for-8 night on the power play.
"That was a disappointing part of our game for sure, especially the 5-on-3," said BC coach Jerry York. "That's a golden opportunity to put some points on the board. If we had to do it over again, we'd just think about shooting pucks and try not to make too many passes. ... BU did a nice job of blocking shots from the point."
But the wheels were perilously close to coming off in the third period, in which there was a parade of BU players to the penalty box and BC's Cam Atkinson scored a shorthanded goal to cut the Eagles' deficit to just one. But in the end, while BC threatened, the BU defense, led by Warsofsky and captain Kevin Shattenkirk, held a deathgrip on the lead for the final 20 minutes.
"We have a lot of guys on the team that will battle and do anything to win, so once we get a hold of a team we kind of choke it," Warsofsky said. "We try and get that hold on them and if you look back at the games we lost, we might have outplayed them but they got the lucky bounces. The puck's just starting to bounce or way and we'll just roll with that and see how far we can go."
The Eagles, a very talented team that can turn a game on its head in a hurry, poured everything they had toward the net in the third period. Despite being outshot 24-16 through two periods, they put 13 shots on goal to BU's seven in the third and unsettled what had looked to be a sure Terrier victory, though much of that can be credited to BU taking four third-period penalties.
"Once we got out there we played pretty thorough," said Jack Parker. "It was one of our better games as far as being smart with the puck, not too many turnovers. (But) we could've been better with our decisions as far as penalties that we took, but I thought we played a very, very solid game from start to finish and if it wasn't for some power play situations, we would have been much better off as far as shot differential because we were dominating when it was five-on-five."
And not surprisingly, Warsofsky is starting to earn a reputation as a big-game player. He was outstanding in BU's playoff games last season, ever-reliable at World Juniors and now the undersized, mobile defenseman from Marshfield, Mass. scored a goal at Fenway Park.
"You definitely try and bring your best game for the big ones, so I guess I'll keep doing the same things and see where it takes me," he said.
The way things have gone to this point in his career, it seems like that's going to be pretty far.
Special uniforms a hit
As you'd expect, both teams rolled out special jerseys for the game.
BC's was a gold jersey with maroon shoulders and a green stripe on both the sleeves and bottom of the jersey to commemorate the Green Monster. And on the back, instead of a nameplate, the jerseys featured a baseball diamond.
BU's, meanwhile, took on qualities of Fenway's more permanent home team. Gone were the familiar block letters reading "Boston" on the front. They were replaced with the more seriffed Red Sox font, and the numbers that usually adorn BU's sleeves were replaced with the Sox' "two socks" logo with one modification: they had skate blades on the bottom.
Bonino takes a moment
BU's Nick Bonino set up the eventual game-winning goal midway through the second period, and had a solid game, but he was just about the only player to admit to having a "Wow" moment.
"I know I probably shouldn't have been reflecting on it, but at one point in the third period I leaned back on the bench - and they're pretty comfortable benches - and I looked at the whole stadium," he said. "I tapped (Chris) Connolly on the shoulder and said, ‘Take a look at this.' It was just incredible."
There was, of course, the matter of it being a one-goal game on national TV with much-needed Hockey East points on the line, but during a delayed break in the action, who can blame him for soaking it in?
"I know we're in a 3-2 game and everyone's focused, but it was just cool to, in a TV timeout, take a look around," he said. "Everyone put this together, Hockey East put this event together for us, and it was just incredible to be a part of it."
BC on the skids?
The Eagles struggled out of the blocks, missing connections on passes, not getting shots to the net and generally playing a sluggish game and eventually falling behind 3-0. But to their credit, they did turn it around to at least make the game interesting.
"I don't know, for whatever reason we couldn't get going there," Brian Gibbons, who had a goal and an assist. "Right at the halfway point of the game, things kind of switched, and we started taking it to them. But you can't play 30 minutes you have to play 60 minutes, and they did a better job at that than us."
This loss to the rival Terriers was the third in a row for seventh-ranked BC. With a game in which they blew a third-period lead at No. 2 Denver sandwiched between losses to 6-9-3 BU and a St. Lawrence team that at the time was 8-7-2, things are looking a bit dour for the Eagles.
"The most important thing is that we lost the game," said Gibbons. "We're struggling right now. We've lost three games in a row so we've got to kind of forget about this one and change things around. We've got a big game coming up on Tuesday (against Providence) so we have to look forward to that."