After a weekend that featured their second-greatest offensive output of the season thus far, the Boston University men’s hockey team will conclude 2018 play against Dartmouth.
In last weekend’s home-and-home set against UMass Lowell (8-7-1, 4-4-1 Hockey East), the Terriers (5-8-2, 5-5-2 Hockey East) split the series with the River Hawks, with both teams picking up their respective wins in enemy territory. After falling 5-3 on home ice, the Terriers responded well in Lowell with an offensive explosion headlined by five goals over UMass Lowell’s two.
Two of BU’s goals in the victory came from sophomore Shane Bowers, bringing him level with Patrick Curry at second on the team leaderboard in terms of goals (5). However, the Terriers will be without the services of Bowers against Dartmouth (4-5-1, 4-2-1 ECAC), as he joins the Canadian junior national team for the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.
Bowers will not be the only Terrier absent for this Friday’s contest, as sophomore defenseman Cam Crotty will be travelling to represent Team Canada as well. Crotty’s fellow blueliner Chad Krys remains unavailable due to injury, which is expected to keep the junior out of the lineup until the start of the second semester.
“We’re going to have to have guys step up and play well”, said BU head coach Albie O’Connell in response to being without three regulars in Bowers, Crotty and Krys.“It’s a good opportunity for guys to step up and show us what they can do.”
The depleted Terriers will be relying on the likes of senior captain Bobo Carpenter and junior co-captain Dante Fabbro to carry the load against the Big Green. Carpenter holds the team lead in goals with nine, including three last weekend against UMass Lowell. Meanwhile, Fabbro leads the Terriers in points with 13, comprised of three goals and ten assists.
Between the pipes for the Terriers will likely be junior Jake Oettinger, who holds a .941 save percentage and 1.99 goals-against average. On the other end of the ice, Adrian Clark is expected to get the start in net for the Big Green. Clark has saved 91.1% of the shots he has faced and allows an average of 2.58 goals per game.
Leading the Dartmouth attack will be junior Will Graber, who leads his team in both points (9) and assists (6). Freshman Drew O’Connor and sophomore Quin Foreman lead the team in goals (5), with O’Connor holding the edge in points with 8 compared to Foreman’s 7.
After a difficult start to the season, BU has turned things around having won four of their last six, compared to Dartmouth’s two victories in as many games. The Big Green have gone winless in their previous three competitions, including a 4-0 loss to the University of New Hampshire in their most recent contest.
While momentum may be on BU’s side, Dartmouth has always been a challenge for the Terriers. The Big Green have defeated BU in three straight meetings, and are one of only four teams in the nation who currently hold a win streak over the Terriers.
These two clubs have not squared off since 2014, meaning that no player on either squad has ever participated in a matchup between the two programs. However, previous defeats at the hands of the Big Green are still fresh in Coach O’Connell’s mind, as the first-year head coach looks to turn the tides in his first managerial meeting with the Ivy League side.
“They ended up physically man-handling us up there a few years back” recalled O’Connell.
This game will be the only fixture of the weekend for either team, making the full two points that much more crucial, especially as the last regular season contest of the calendar year. For O’Connell and the Terriers though, it’s business as usual ahead of this nonconference clash.
“We’re just taking it as another game,” O’Connell said.