Matt O’Connor Believes BU Deserved Better After His Goaltending Gaffe

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BOSTON — Boston University’s dream season ended in heartbreak Saturday night at TD Garden, and no Terriers player took the loss harder than Matt O’Connor.

The junior goaltender surrendered two third-period goals in the NCAA championship game against Providence, allowing the Friars to rally from a goal down to stun the Terriers 4-3 and claim the first national title in program history.

The game-winner — a rocket by PC junior winger Brandon Tanev that found the back of the net with 6:17 to play — was no fluke. The tally that preceded it, however, will haunt O’Connor for years.

With Providence trailing 3-2 just past the midway point of the third period, junior defenseman Tom Parisi fired a shot on the BU net from beyond center ice. It wasn’t a true attempt to score, but rather a “why not?” bid before Parisi skated to the bench.

O’Connor gathered the puck and controlled it. Until he didn’t.

The puck fell straight down out of the goaltender’s glove, and as he dropped his pads to the ice, it tricked over the goal line.

“I couldn?t really see it in my glove,” O’Connor explained after the game. “I thought it rolled out of it. I tried to drop and throw it to (teammate Jack Eichel), and it was too late.

?I guess it caught my pad and trickled through, so, (expletive) happens,” he added. “I think we definitely deserved a better result. Everyone in this locker room deserves a (expletive) national championship. Coach (David) Quinn, and the program, and all the fans ? they deserve a lot better than what happened out there.”

The rest of the Terriers were quick to point out that without O’Connor, they might not have even had the opportunity to play for a national championship. O’Connor had backstopped the team to eight consecutive wins entering Saturday, allowing more than two goals just twice.

?O’C is the reason we are in this position,” said Eichel, who finished the season as the nation’s leading scorer with 71 points. “Without him, we wouldn?t have made it here and as far as we did.?

Echoing that sentiment was O’Connor’s PC counterpart, Jon Gillies, who has known the BU netminder for some time now from their years of competing in Hockey East and, before that, the USHL.

“As a goalie, you feel for him,” said Gillies, who was voted Most Outstanding Player of the Frozen Four after stopping 49 shots in the finale. “I know him personally. He’s a wonderful goalie. He had a great year and he was fantastic throughout the tournament to get here. From a goaltending standpoint, we’ve all had one of those, and you feel for him.”

In all likelihood, O’Connor, who is not property of an NHL team, will be back with the Terriers next season. You’d have to imagine that for him, opening night can’t come soon enough.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images

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