Gregg Johnson (16) scored the game-winning goal against North Dakota. (AP Photo/ Darren Hauck)
Freshman forward Gregg Johnson (Windsor, CT) had the first multiple-goal game of his collegiate career and junior goalie Jason Tapp (Kelowna, BC) had 37 saves, including one on a penalty shot, as the Terrier hockey team skated to a 4-3 win over defending NCAA champion North Dakota in the first round of the Bank One Badger Showdown in Milwaukee, WI on Friday night (December 29th).
B.U., which has won the Showdown title in 1992 and 1995, will go after its third title on Saturday night (December 30th) when it takes on Wisconsin, which rolled past Princeton in the other semifinal game.
The victory was the fourth in a row for the Terriers, who are now 6-8-1, while North Dakota, which is ranked third in the nation this week, is 13-4-4 with Friday night's loss.
"This was a real good win for us," said Terrier head coach Jack Parker, whose teams have won 36 titles during his 27-plus-year career. "I was very pleased with our effort against an excellent North Dakota team.
"I was especially happy with how resilient we were," the coach went on.
The Sioux took a 1-0 lead at 6:23 of the first period before Johnson scored the first of his two goals at 11:35 of the period as the score stayed 1-1 until the first intermission.
The second period belonged to the Sioux, as they outshot the Terriers, 16-6.
However, they managed just one goal, which came at 4:37 of the period.
"Tapp made some big saves in that period," said Parker.
On the down side, two Terriers suffered injuries that will keep them on the sidelines for the foreseeable future.
Senior defenseman Keith Emery (Belmont) was the first to go out when he sustained a left hip flexor. Shortly thereafter, junior forward Jack Baker (South Boston) suffered a dislocated left shoulder.
"Emery could be out two to three weeks," Parker reported after the game. "Baker will probably miss the Boston College series next weekend."
There was a complete reversal in the third period, as the resilient Terriers scored three times, while North Dakota scored just once.
The big play, though, was turned in by Tapp.
With the Terriers trailing 2-1, North Dakota forward Paul Murphy was awarded a penalty shot at 11:16.
Murphy skated in on Tapp, and the Terrier goalie responded with a pad save to preserve the one-goal deficit.
Pat Aufiero (5) applies defensive pressure to North Dakota's Jason Notermann (26). (AP Photo/Darren Hauck)
"It was a tight game at the point, and that was a huge save," said Parker.
From there, the Terrier offense took over.
Freshman Kenny Magowan (Kelowna, BC) scored at 12:09 of the third period to tie game, and then junior Dan Cavanaugh (Springfield) put the Terriers ahead, 3-2, on a power play goal at 15:17.
North Dakota managed to tie the game, 3-3, at 17:40, and it appeared regulation would end with the two teams knotted.
Then, with just 37 seconds to play, Johnson notched his second goal of the game to send the Terriers away with the win.
B.U.'s first line of Johnson at left wing, Cavanaugh at center, and freshman Mark Mullen (Dorchester, MA) had a combined total of 3 goals and 3 assists. In addition to Johnson's two goals, Cavanaugh had a goal and an assist, while Mullen scored his first collegiate points, both of which came on assists.
"This has been a good building for us in the past," Parker said of the Bradley Center. In addition to their 5-0 record in the Bank One Badger Showdown, the Terriers are 1-2 at the NCAA's to bring their overall mark to 6-2. "Maybe it will be good for us tomorrow night (Saturday)."