BU Wins Fourth Annual Comm Ave Classic, Event Raises Record-Breaking Total

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Several Boston College and Boston University hockey players grow up playing with each other, talking during the offseason, and even hanging out during their spare time. But when the fall rolls around, everything changes. Fortunately for the Green Line rivals, it’s still August.

On Friday night, about 20 NHLers and a handful of other BC and BU alumni participated in the fourth annual Commonwealth Avenue Charity Classic (CACC), an exhibition created by former Eagles defenseman Andrew Orpik, BC ’08, forward Pat Mullane, BC ’10, and team manager Justin Murphy, BC ’09 that donates all proceeds to Compassionate Care ALS, the Pete Frates Home Health Initiative, and the Travis Roy Foundation.

BU ran away with a 10-5 victory in Walter Brown Arena, taking a 3-1 lead in the overall series, but the final score wasn’t the number to remember. More importantly, the event raised a record-breaking $78,432. To put that in perspective, the CACC raised just over $100,000 in its first two years of existence.

In addition to fundraising, the August friendly memorializes Jim Cotter, Ron Perryman, Richard Armstrong, and Dick Kelley and honors Pete Frates—all of whom were/are victims of ALS. It also commemorates former Terriers hockey forward Travis Roy, who crashed into the boards head-first when attempting to make a shoulder check during the first game of his freshman campaign, effectively cracking his fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae, leaving him paralyzed just 11 seconds into his collegiate career.

Since 2015, the event has garnered increasing attention, coverage, and praise. Once again, the rosters were stacked with talent—even more than summers past. Along with a bevy of former BC and BU skaters, Beanpot rivals Ryan Donato (Harvard), Jimmy Vesey (Harvard), and Adam Gaudette (Northeastern) suited up as honorary Terriers.

Without the extra help, BU could have very well found itself on the wrong side of the scorecard. Just like the teams’ first 2017-18 meeting, the Eagles jumped out to a first-period lead, only to watch the neighboring Terriers—led by Donato himself—string together a handful of goals and eventually break the game open, en route to a blowout victory.

Brian Boyle, who racked up 65 goals while on the Heights, opened the floodgates with a breakaway goal, six minutes into the game. But then, in the span of just 74 seconds, Donato recorded a hat trick, changing the complexion of the exhibition. BU was in the lead and it wasn’t turning back.

With his team up two goals, Adam Gaudette got things going in the second frame with his first goal of the night, courtesy of a Matt Grzelcyk-Charlie McAvoy exchange. It wasn’t the first time that the 2017-18 Hobey Baker Award winner has gotten the best of the Eagles. In fact, over the course of last season, Gaudette logged two goals and four assists when playing BC.

Midway through the period, former Eagles center Colin White put an end to the Terriers’ four-goal run, finding the back of the net with plenty of time remaining in the exhibition. Following suit, Kevin Hayes cashed in on a Brian Dumoulin feed to cut BC’s deficit to one. But, prior to the end of the period, Evan Rodrigues lit the lamp, restoring the Terriers’ multi-score advantage.

The Eagles weren’t backing down, though—namely, Chris Kreider. The New York Rangers wing took it upon himself to make things interesting, scoring an unassisted goal, a mere 60 seconds into the final period of play. Unfortunately for the maroon and gold, that’s as close as BC would get to equalizing.

In the next 13 minutes, BU turned a one-score thriller into a six-goal massacre. John McCarthy was at the forefront of the scoring spree. The 32-year-old left wing responded to Kreider’s rallying cry with a goal of his own in a matter of 59 seconds. Then, Gaudette and Rodrigues tallied a pair of scoring plays before Jack Eichel put the game out of reach with back-to-back strikes in the latter portion of the frame.

Eagles center Paul Carey softened the blow with a late goal, but the game was long gone. Just like the actual series, BU has taken two of the past three matchups in the CACC. That said, Friday night’s exhibition had more to do with service than any sort of rivalry or list of wins and losses—it was about coming together for a cause.

Featured Image Courtesy of Andrew Orpik

Andy Backstrom
About Andy Backstrom 347 Articles
Andy is the managing editor of The Heights. He is from the suburbs of Philly, but has been an Arizona Cardinals enthusiast since the first grade. Every so often, he'll replay Super Bowl XLIII on Madden to exact revenge on his father's beloved Steelers. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyHeights.