Did Rhode Island Nuns Cause BU Hockey’s National Championship Choke?

BU goaltender Matt O'Connor's flukey own-goal might have been an act of God.

Image via YouTube

Image via YouTube

Back on April 11, the ink appeared dry on Boston University’s storybook ending. Thrusting the previous year’s failings firmly into their rear-view, the Terriers were poised to add the final and most meaningful piece of hardware to a mantle already stocked with a Beanpot, a Hockey East Championship, and freshman Jack Eichel’s Hobey Baker Award. Best of all, they would do it at TD Garden in Boston—the closest they could get to home ice without taking the B Line.

With under nine minutes left in the NCAA National Championship Game, down by one goal, Providence College defenseman Tom Parisi dumped the puck into BU’s zone for a line change. BU goaltender Matt O’Connor caught the puck, and—inexplicably—dropped it to the ice, between his legs and past the goal line. Tie game.

BU Hockey

The momentum had immediately and palpably reversed, culminating in Brandon Tanev’s game-winning goal two minutes later. The dream was over. Shock. Heartbreak. Disbelief. This guy:

BU Hockey

Agonized Terrier fans were left with arms outstretched to the heavens, asking, Why? Why didn’t O’Connor just freeze the puck? Why did we have to lose like this? A May 20 Providence College Magazine profile of hockey fan and retired PC theology professor Rev. William D. Folsey revealed that the answers might be in the heavens after all.

Folsey was in attendance at TD Garden that fateful night, seated with Rev. John C. Vidmar in Loge Section 23. With the Friars down 3-2, Folsey “thought of the cloistered nuns at the Carmelite Monastery in Barrington, Rhode Island, where the PC Dominicans provide ministry.”

“The sisters have been praying to St. Teresa of Avila, on the occasion of her 500th birthday, for our team’s success,” Father Folsey said. “So I said, ‘Teresa, this is not that significant, but they have worked so hard. It would be a great feat if they could win.’”

The Friars tied the game on a fluke goal, and Father Folsey smiled.

“Oh, Teresa,” he remembers thinking, “that was sneaky.”

Evidently, St. Teresa of Avila was not the slightest bit caught-up in Eichelmania. All was not lost for O’Connor, who still received heaps of praise from beat writers who recognized that the 6-foot-6 Toronto native was an integral part of BU’s championship run. On May 9, the Ottawa Senators signed O’Connor to a two-year entry-level contract.

Still, he will forever wonder what could have been—if not for those meddling nuns.

[h/t Conor Ryan]