BOSTON – Travis Roy wouldn’t, or couldn’t show his colors. The kid who pulled on the red and white of Boston University is the man who remembers he once cheered for the blue and white of Maine.

“I’m a hockey fan now. I just want to see a good game.”

Then Joey Diamond scored Maine’s first goal. What was a Boston University lead was now a tie game. Roy watched the replay on the press box monitor. There were a lot of bodies in front of BU goalie Kieran Millan.

“Oooh, that was ugly,” said Roy.

For which team?

Sports writers are still paid not to take sides in the press box. Sports columnists can wink at the unwritten rule but still can’t cheer in the press box. The rest of the hockey world has no restrictions, although it did seem that Roy was being pulled in different directions.

There is never any give and take when Maine and Boston University play hockey. And especially when the game is part of the Hockey East tournament at TD Garden. Too much history, too much bad blood, too much respect that’s been earned or kicked into a corner and forgotten.

Take Friday night’s semifinal game, where ugliness mixed with the beauty of the game. Maine’s Spencer Abbott took a big hit in the third period behind the BU net that dropped him to his knees. No whistle, no stoppage of play. With Abbott out of the play, BU took the puck down the other end and scored to again tie a game that was always in knots.

Abbott was helped off the ice and taken to the Maine locker room. The BU goal was announced. Take sides? Maine fans drowned out the announcement with their boos.

Abbott is the face of this team. The nation’s leading scorer whose four-year career has been a progression of steady improvement that caught many by surprise. Who knew this kid had this kind of talent?

No penalty was called for the hit on Abbott. Maine fans made up their own minds.

Mark Anthoine got the lead back shortly after, and suddenly the Garden was a passion play. Good winning out over evil.

Not take sides? You can understand where Roy is coming from. His career at Boston University lasted all of 11 seconds until that terrible moment in 1995 when he crashed headfirst into the boards at the old Boston University rink.

Unable to move his arms and legs, his life has never been the same. The lives of those who knew him as the boy growing up in Yarmouth or those who simply followed his promising hockey career have never been the same. Those who have watched him and his family overcome the challenges have had their lives change, too.

You get it when Travis Roy says he just wants to see a good game. He got the kind of game that would test his red-and-white past. And make his blue-and-white roots stronger.

It started with the pregame introductions. It’s been a while since Maine fans believed their Black Bears had the chance to play deep into the NCAA playoffs. Maine needed to beat Boston University on Friday night to relieve the anxious moments that would come after a loss.

Not reach the Hockey East final? How would that hurt their bid to even get into the playoffs? No worries now.

The big moments and the big hits kept coming throughout the game and the crowd didn’t hesitate to take sides. Sometimes it sounded like more Maine fans were arriving by the hour, swelling noise levels.

Will O’Neill, the defenseman and captain who rarely scores, put the puck into the net twice. The senior who has led this team back from defeat with his words was doing it with his play.

Goalie Dan Sullivan grew before your eyes. Big games can do that. When Boston University turned desperate at the end, Sullivan and his teammates kept the Terriers out of the Maine net.

The clock ticked down and suddenly there was no time left for Boston University. Maine won the game, 5-3. It won more.

Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:

[email protected]