Terriers end skid with win over UConn, pitch shutout in Oettinger’s 100th game

In the 100th game of junior goaltender Jake Oettinger’s collegiate career, the Boston University men’s hockey team kept the University of Connecticut scoreless en route to a 2-0 victory, splitting the weekend series and bringing an end to BU’s six-game losing streak.

“It was important to bounce back,” said Oettinger. “It definitely feels good to get a win at home.”

After conceding twice in the opening frame on Friday night, the Terriers (11-15-3, 9-8-2 Hockey East) kept the Huskies (10-18-2, 5-13-2 Hockey East) showed early improvements on Saturday, with the teams remaining scoreless through 20 minutes. UConn attempted nine shots on goal in the stanza while BU put up 14 – an encouraging development following the mere five shots on target the Terriers tallied in the same amount of time the night before.

We protected our net,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell about the advances made on Saturday following the rough start in the series opener on Friday.

BU were the closer of the two teams to breaking the deadlock in the first. Junior forward Patrick Curry, who scored a late game-tying goal in the teams’ first meeting, found a hole in the Husky defense with four minutes remaining. This time around, though, the Illinois native would not be able to beat freshman keeper Tomas Vomacka, and the sides stayed 0-0 after one.

“Their goalie in the first made some highlight reel saves,” said O’Connell of Vomacka.

The deadlock would persist through the second period, with both teams struggling to establish an offensive rhythm. BU came up just inches away on multiple opportunities, including a two-on-one chance for Curry and linemate Joel Farabee late in the frame. The freshman looked to feed Curry on the rush, but the play was broken up just outside of Vomacka’s crease.

“That line’s got some pretty good chemistry,” said Coach O’Connell regarding the partnership of Farabee, Curry, and sophomore linemate Shane Bowers – all of which created chances throughout the weekend.

Play became more chippy into the final minutes of the frame as the Terriers and Huskies pushed for a late go-ahead goal to grab the lead at the break. Play would be halted three different times for penalties – two for BU, one for UConn – but even in special teams, nothing could separate the sides after 40 minutes, keeping the score 0-0.

“It was hard to get open ice,” said O’Connell of the tight play through two periods.

The ice was finally broken in the third, as sophomore forward Ty Amonte lit the lamp for BU 1:27 into the final frame. Sophomore Cam Crotty’s shot was knocked down by Vomacka following a pass by senior forward Ryan Cloonan, but Amonte was right there to sweep it in and give BU the lead. It was the sophomore’s fifth goal of the season, and his first in eight games.

“I think we’ve been competing real hard,” said Jake Oettinger, whose Terriers were rewarded for their competitive effort by scoring the opener for just the second time in eleven games.

Oettinger was solid throughout the game, but the junior really stood tall when the Terriers were defending the one-goal advantage. With BU in search of a second on the power play with nearly 12 minutes to play in regulation, UConn leading goal scorer Alexander Payusov snuck in for a breakaway. However, the junior forward was denied by the glove of Oettinger.

That definitely was nice for me to chip in a little bit,” said the Dallas Stars draftee, who made 26 saves in the contest. “I didn’t think I had a ton of work tonight.”

Oettinger and the Terrier defense would survive long enough for their attack to double the lead. Working on the penalty kill, Ryan Cloonan made a diving stop to win the puck for BU. It fell to sophomore defenseman Kasper Kotkansalo, who fed it forward for a streaking Joel Farabee. The Flyers prospect did the rest, firing high to the blocker side to put BU up 2-0 with 4:18 remaining. The tally marked his eleventh goal of the season – tied with linemate Curry for the team lead.

“Capitalizing on those chances is huge,” said Oettinger. “[The Farabee goal] gave us a little bit of breathing room.”

A final attempt to rally would come up empty for the Huskies, and BU would finish 2-0 victors. It was the first victorious shut-out of the season for the Terriers, and a welcomed end to the six-game skid.

We can breathe,” joked O’Connell about finally ending the losing streak – the program’s longest since 2014, and just one loss short of being BU’s longest since 1962.

On a more positive historical note, the shut-out was the 11th of Jake Oettinger’s career with BU, putting the junior just two away from reaching the Terrier record. With a flawless performance in his 100th game, it was certainly a special night for the Minnesota native.

“It’s crazy that it’s already been 100 games. It feels like I was playing my first one yesterday,” said Oettinger. “It’s definitely a cool milestone and nice to get a win in the 100th game.”

Even with the struggles as of late, the Terriers still find themselves just three points away from hosting a Hockey East playoff game, and four points off of the second spot in the division.

“This afternoon we looked at the records and said ‘look, everything’s up for grabs,’” said Coach O’Connell.

With confidence returning and a favorable schedule ahead, Coach O’Connell and his goaltender  Oettinger are optimistic about the state of their team going forward.

“Guys were committed to doing the right thing and playing the right way, said O’Connell. “There was a lot of buy-in, so that’s a positive sign for sure.”

“Top to bottom I think it’s a really close-knit group,” said Oettinger. “It’s just really fun to be around the room.”

The Terriers will look to keep things moving in the right direction as they travel for a two-game set at the University of Vermont next weekend.

Live Blog: BU vs. UConn, 2/16 @ 7pm

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Finishing off a home-and-home weekend series against the University of Connecticut, BU return to Agganis Arena looking to avenge last night’s overtime loss to the Huskies and finally end their six-game losing streak.

Can BU get back in the win column and earn some much-needed Hockey East points tonight against UConn? Join our live blog for minute-by-minute coverage and conversation during the game!

Third period comeback not enough as Terriers fall to UConn 3-2 in OT

Coming off of five consecutive defeats, the Boston University men’s hockey team nearly stole a victory late from the University of Connecticut, but were ultimately defeated by the hosts in overtime, 3-2.

“That’s a tough one to take,” said Terrier head coach Albie O’Connell.

BU (10-15-3, 8-8-2 Hockey East) fell victim to another slow start, allowing 13 shots on goal to their five in the first period and surrendering three penalties in the opening eight minutes alone. UConn (9-17-2, 4-12-2 Hockey East) were able to cash in on the second man advantage, as senior forward Karl El-Mir tipped in a shot from junior defenseman Philip Nyberg to get the Huskies on the board first at 7:06.

“Good things [happen] when you’re at the net and you shoot the puck,” said O’Connell.

The Terriers finally showed some life on a power play towards the end of the period, but it would be the Huskies who would tally the game’s next goal. With 2:09 left in the frame, junior defenseman Wyatt Newpower tossed in a shot from range that got through a crowd and found the back of the BU net, making the lead 2-0 at the first intermission.

While BU could not cut into the deficit in the second period, the Terriers did show some tenacity, mainly through physicality after the whistle from junior forward Patrick Curry and senior forward Ryan Cloonan. However, freshman forward Joel Farabee would receive a 10-minute game-misconduct penalty for his role in a scuffle 30 seconds before the buzzer.

“UConn always plays physical,” said Coach O’Connell. “I thought we matched our competitiveness.”

The middle stanza saw few clear-cut chances, maintaining the 2-0 score line going into the final 20 minutes. Junior netminder Jake Oettinger made a pair strong saves on El-Mir efforts late in the second frame, while a breakaway from sophomore forward Shane Bowers was denied by freshman keeper Tomas Vomacka, as well as the ensuing the rebound chance for Curry.

According to O’Connell, “[Vomacka] gave [UConn] every chance to win the game.”

Trailing by two goals into the third, the Terriers finally got one back just past the halfway point in the period. Soaring in from Vomacka’s right side, junior forward Patrick Harper circled the net and snuck in a wrap-around attempt for his third goal of the season, with assists credited to the defensive pairing of junior Dante Fabbro and sophomore David Farrance.

Still down one with time winding down, the Terriers would eventually find their equalizer off the stick of Patrick Curry with just over a minute to play. Farrance and Fabbro linked up for the assists once again, with the former slinging a pass across the attacking zone for Curry to slam in for his team-leading 11th goal of the season, sending the game beyond regulation time.

“We pushed hard to win tonight,” said Coach O’Connell.

BU had the momentum into overtime, but the Terrier excitement would be short-lived. 51 seconds into the extra frame, freshman forward Jáchym Kondelík threw in a shot from range that was knocked down by Oettinger, but junior forward Alexander Payusov was right there to tap in the uncontested rebound and keep the coveted Hockey East points in Connecticut.

“That’s a frustrating one,” said O’Connell. “For it to end the way it did – wow.”

It was déjà vu in multiple ways for the Terriers. Last season, BU came away from their visit to Connecticut with an overtime loss as well. In more recent memory, BU’s overtime surrender brought back memories of Northeastern’s OT win over the Terriers in Beanpot play just two weeks ago, in which the game-winner also came exactly 51 seconds into the extra period.

“It is what it is,” said Coach O’Connell. “The only thing we can do is be ready for tomorrow.”

Still in search of the elusive victory to break the losing skid, the Terriers will return to Agganis Arena for a rematch with UConn on Saturday, 2/16 at 7pm.

Live Blog: BU @ UConn, 2/15 @ 7pm

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Looking to end a 5-game losing skid, BU travel south to UConn to face the Huskies in the opener of a two-game weekend series. The Terriers could really benefit from gaining some coveted points in Hockey East play, as just three points separate seventh-place BU from third-place BC.

Couldn’t make it to Connecticut? Our live blog has you covered! We will have live play-by-play and conversation during BU vs. UConn tonight! Coverage starts at 6:50pm, with puck drop set for 7. Come join us!

Lighting the Lamp Podcast: 2/14/19

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On this week’s episode of “Lighting the Lamp,” Brady Gardner brings you through a thrilling week and a half of Boston University men’s and women’s hockey.
He starts with the women’s team, reflecting on their massive Beanpot victory over Harvard, the path to get to that point, a weekend win over Holy Cross, and the impressive run the team has been on. He also previews the road ahead for the Terriers as they close out the regular season.
Next, Brady goes into the men’s team’s struggles in Beanpot play, including losses to Northeastern and Harvard, and a defeat at the University of Massachusetts in between. He finishes with his own thoughts on BU’s difficulties and sets the stage for their final seven games of the regular season.

Terriers limp into weekend series with UConn

Over the last few weeks, the Boston University men’s hockey team has learned just how far it is from the top of the Hockey East conference.

Terriers fans knew how tough the previous four-game stretch, which included a home-and-home series with UMass Amherst and the Beanpot, would be. However, you would be hard-pressed to find a BU loyalist who thought the team would lose all four tilts.

Mired in a five-game losing slump, BU limps into this weekend’s matchup against UConn in the bottom half of the league. The Terriers are eight points behind the first-place Minutemen and in danger of falling to eighth in the conference with a poor weekend.

After defeating Arizona State on January 25, BU was 10-9-3 and inching closer to the USCHO Top 20 rankings. The Terriers suffered a shutout loss to the Sun Devils the following night and the slide ensued. This skid has included a pair of Beanpot losses, the first time the team has lost in both the tournament semifinal and consolation round since the forgettable 2013-14 season.

BU will bus down to Hartford for Friday night’s contest before hosting the Huskies on Saturday night at Agganis Arena. After this weekend, the Terriers will have just one home game left in the regular season. The silver lining is only one of those meetings is against a team with a winning record, so the squad has a chance to piece its season back together after this head-scratching stretch.

This weekend is a great opportunity for BU to begin its climb back to relevance in the college hockey landscape. The Terriers have had success against this UConn before, beating them 3-2 in the Friendship Four a few months ago. In that game, BU fell behind 1-0 and 2-1 before goals by sophomore forwards Logan Cockerill and Ty Amonte lifted them to a victory.

Junior forward Patrick Curry also scored in that tilt. That game was part of a seven-game losing streak for the Huskies that put them in a deep hole before 2019 even began. UConn recently endured a six-game winless streak from January 5-February 7, but the group has looked better as of late.

The Huskies have won their last two games, including a shocking 3-2 upset win over Northeastern last Thursday. Senior forward Karl El-Amir assisted on each of his unit’s goals in the triumph, adding to his team-high of 25 points. The Montreal native has done it by himself and used his teammates to compile points this year, scoring 12 times and assisting on 13 goals. He did both against the Terriers in Ireland, garnering a goal and an assist with four shots.

BU also has to worry about fellow Montrealer Alexander Payusov. The junior leads the Huskies with 14 goals and has four assists for good measure. Payusov has scored twice in a game on three occasions this year, including a pair of goals in contests against conference foes Maine and New Hampshire.

Game Notes: This weekend’s games will not be televised on local cable but can be streamed online here. You can also listen online to the Terriers radio broadcast. Do you think BU can break its skid this weekend? Let us know in the comment section!

Terriers downed by Crimson 5-2, finish fourth in 2019 Beanpot

The Boston University men’s hockey team dropped its fifth consecutive game on Monday night, falling to Harvard University 5-2 in the consolation game of the 2019 Beanpot.

We wanted a nice game of shinny, and [Harvard] wanted a real game of hockey,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell.

The two sides would remain scoreless after the first 20 minutes. Harvard (13-7-3, 9-5-2 ECAC) attempted 31 total shots in the period, but BU freshman goaltender Vinnie Purpura, making just his second start with the Terriers, was up to the task for the 12 shots on target.

BU (10-14-3, 8-7-2 Hockey East) only tallied five shots on goal in the opening frame, but the Crimson were able to block 11 Terrier efforts, to their credit. Still, the discrepancy in terms of shots, especially early, continues to be a concern for BU.

According to O’Connell, “it’s frustrating, because that’s probably one of the only things we talked about – being ready to show up on time, being ready to go.”

The lopsided offensive play continued into the second period, with the Crimson leading in shots on goal by a whopping 32-14 after 40 minutes. As the opportunities piled up, Harvard were eventually rewarded for their persistence.

Nearing the halfway point of the period, junior forward Frédéric Grégoire drew first blood on a rocket from Purpura’s left that snuck in under the bar. The assists were credited to junior defenseman John Marino and sophomore defenseman Reilly Walsh.

Walsh was involved in the second Crimson tally seven minutes later, receiving the puck from junior forward Colton Kerfoot and feeding it to an uncontested Jack Badini outside BU crease. The sophomore forward converted easily, and Harvard held a 2-0 lead at the second break.

“It wasn’t a good first period, and the second was even worse,” said Coach O’Connell.

The game opened up in the third, starting with BU finally getting on the board six minutes in. A driven pass by sophomore defenseman David Farrance at the blue line was knocked centrally by freshman forward Joel Farabee, where fellow forward Patrick Curry tapped it in. The goal was the junior’s tenth of the season, and cut the Crimson lead in half.

“I thought we played pretty well for stretches of the third,” said the first-year BU head coach.

BU could not capitalize on the momentum of Curry’s tally, as Harvard restored the two-goal lead at the 12:28 mark. In 4-on-4 play, a trio of Crimson attackers flooded the BU zone, and it was Grégoire who drilled one past Vinnie Purpura for his second goal of the game.

Purpura would vacate the Terrier net in exchange for an extra attacker with just over three minutes left, but Harvard defenseman Adam Fox took no time to quickly toss one in from distance to extend the lead to three. It was the 100th point of the junior’s career.

“I can’t say enough,” remarked Harvard head coach Ted Donato about Fox reaching the 100-point milestone. “I think what he’s accomplished so far in college is pretty special.”

Junior forward Gabriel Chabot got one back for BU with less than two minutes to play off of passes from freshman forwards Mark Cheremeta and Jack DeBoer. After striking the post with an initial effort, Chabot would corral his own rebound and slot it past Michael Lackey for the first goal of his junior campaign, and his fifth as a Terrier.

With the BU goalie pulled again, the Crimson would have the last laugh, as freshman forward RJ Murphy made a slick move to find space and walk the puck into the Terrier net with 43 seconds to play.

The game would finish 5-2 in favor of Harvard, meaning that after four consecutive appearances in the Beanpot final, BU would finish in fourth out of four teams in this year’s tournament.

“You can’t play a D1 hockey team and expect to win when you don’t show up,” said O’Connell.

Harvard attempted an astounding 76 shots in the contest, including 39 on target. As has been the case for BU as of late, the Terriers simply could not match the opposing offensive output, tallying just 42 shots of their own with only 26 reaching Lackey between the pipes.

“[Harvard] were more competitive,” said O’Connell. “They were skating harder.”

Still in search for their first win since January 25th, BU now turn their attention to the seven Hockey East fixtures remaining to conclude the regular season. This stretch of conference clashes will begin this upcoming weekend, as BU will travel to the University of Connecticut for a 7pm puck drop on Friday the 15th, and then host the same Huskies the next night at 7pm as well.

Photos by Emily Hunter:

*BEANPOT* Live Blog: BU vs. Harvard, 2/11 @ 4:30pm

Trying to snap a four-game losing streak, Boston University will return to the TD Garden to fight for third place in the 2019 Beanpot against Harvard.

It may only be a consolation game, but this game could hold great significance in terms of momentum for the Terriers, looking to turn things around before entering a stretch of Hockey East matchups to close out the regular season.

Our live blog is the best place to keep up with all the action as it happens, and talk BU hockey throughout the game. Coverage starts at 4:15 with puck drop set for 4:30 – come join us!

Terriers look to turn things around in Beanpot third place game

Last week, the Boston University men’s hockey team fell to the Northeastern Huskies in a 2-1 overtime battle at the TD Garden. This Monday at 4:30PM, the Terriers will play the consolation game against Harvard, who lost their semi-final game to Boston College.

“You don’t go into the Beanpot wanting to lose,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell.

Although the Terriers have missed their chance at attaining the Beanpot title, they are still given the opportunity to finish in third place in Monday’s match.

Boston University (10-12-3, 8-6-2 Hockey East) played Harvard (11-7-3, 8-5-2 Ivy League) back on January 8, with the score ending in a 2-2 tie. The game remained relatively equal in both possession and the number of shots taken by each team; BU with 31 and Harvard with 28.

This past Friday, the Terriers played a rematch with #2 UMass, but were defeated by the Minutemen again 4-2. BU improved, however, conceding three less goals than they did when they played UMass on February 1.

Now, the Terriers must focus on Harvard. Narrowing in on some dangerous players from the Crimson are freshman forward Casey Dornbach and senior forward Lewis Zerter-Gossage. Dornbach is currently the second leading scorer in points with 22. His greatest strength is his excellent vision on the ice. Zerter-Gossage is currently leading the Crimson in goals with 12. As a senior, BU can expect him to come out hungry to finish out his last Beanpot tournament with a win.

Between the pipes for Harvard is senior Michael Lackey with a saving percentage of .925 this season, a similar mark to BU’s star goaltender, Jake Oettinger, who has a current saving percentage of .923.

Supporting Lackey in the back is junior defenseman Adam Fox. Fox is not only a power in the back, but is a very big threat in the attacking end. He is currently sitting first in the country, for defensemen, in scoring per game.

In order to pull out a win, BU is going to have to play a consistent 60-minute game. If the Terriers are able to do that, and have Oettinger play as well as he did in the previous Beanpot game, BU should finish in 3rd place for the 67th Beanpot tournament.

Be sure to follow our live blog for full coverage of the game! You can also listen to the game through goterriers.com.

 

Second period onslaught troubles Terriers in 4-2 defeat at #2 UMass

In a visit to a sold-out Mullins Center in Amherst, the Boston University men’s hockey team fell 4-2 to #2 University of Massachusetts on Friday night.

“I thought we competed hard,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell. “That’s a good hockey team over there.”

After a 7-5 thriller that went UMass’ way in the two Hockey East sides’ first matchup on Friday, February 1, the Terriers (10-13-3, 8-7-2 Hockey East) were looking to avenge their loss a week later.

“We played them pretty tight in our building,” said O’Connell on the teams’ first meeting.

Senior captain Bobo Carpenter was unavailable for the forward’s fourth consecutive game due to injury, but his co-captain Dante Fabbro wasted no time in picking up the production for the Terriers’ injured leading goal scorer.

On the game’s first power play seven minutes in, sophomore forward Ty Amonte moved along an initial pass from freshman forward Joel Farabee. The puck came to Fabbro, who pounded it in for the junior defenseman’s sixth of the season, providing BU with the opening goal for the first time in eight games.

With BU holding the 1-0 lead after 20 minutes, the Minutemen (20-5, 12-3 Hockey East) were struggling to gain traction and challenge the Terrier defense as they had a week prior. Looking to spark his team just ahead of the period’s halfway point, UMass head coach Greg Carvel called a timeout, which proved to make all the difference for his Minutemen.

Only a mere ten seconds after the UMass timeout, the Minutemen found their equalizer. Fresh off a three-point performance against BU last Friday, sophomore forward John Leonard stickhandled his way to shooting position between the dots, and fired one in to level the game. The assist would go to freshman defenseman Marc Del Gaizo.

“They got a lot of momentum,” said Coach O’Connell about Leonard’s tally. “The crowd was really into it.”

Turning the tides quickly, the Minutemen would come up with a second goal less than two minutes after their first. Starting behind his own net, standout sophomore defenseman Cale Makar bolted the length of the ice, and fed junior forward Jack Suter for the easy finish to put UMass up 2-1.

“[Makar] blew by our entire team,” said O’Connell. “You [have to] tip your hat to that kid.”

The Minuteman lead would double at the 4:53 mark, as junior defenseman Jake McLaughlin knocked in a rebound to make the UMass advantagae 3-1. Terrier netminder Jake Oettinger made the initial save on the one-timer by Suter after senior forward Brett Boeing’s cross-ice pass, but there was nothing the junior keeper could to about McLaughlin’s close-range tap-in.

“They found a way to the net,” said Coach O’Connell, reflecting on the Minutemen’s offensive success.

Going into the second intermission, the Minutemen would hold a stunning 30-12 advantage in shots on goal. BU attempted an underwhelming four shots against UMass freshman goaltender Philip Lindberg in the second period – a total quadrupled by the Minutemen in the frame, who tested Oettinger with 16.

“That ended up costing us the game,” said O’Connell regarding the lopsided second period.

Despite two early third period power plays for the Terriers, it would be UMass who converted on their first man advantage of the game with eight minutes left in regulation. After Leonard and senior forward Jacob Pritchard hacked away in front, Marc Del Gaizo punched it in to tally his second point of the game and make the Minuteman lead three.

With less than a minute to play, sophomore Shane Bowers would score a brilliant individual goal on the penalty kill for BU. Showcasing elite speed and skill, the forward stormed into the UMass end and unleashed a laser past Lindberg to cut the lead to two. It was the tenth goal of Bowers’ season, becoming the third Terrier to reach the double-digit mark.

Bowers’ lone effort would be too little too late for the Terriers, and the game would conclude 4-2 in favor of the hosts. It would be the fourth consecutive loss for the Terriers, albeit with all four opponents ranked within college hockey’s top 20 teams – Arizona State, Northeastern, and UMass twice.

“I liked our effort overall,” said Coach O’Connell, remaining positive despite his team’s recent dip in form.

Historically, the series sweep by UMass would be the first time in team history that the Minutemen would come away with two wins over BU during the regular season.

“Our goal this year was to bring respect to this program,” said UMass’ Coach Carvel. “It’s a special group.”

With a short break before their next game, BU will turn their attention to Harvard ahead of their battle for third place in the Beanpot on Monday, aiming to snap their losing streak ahead of seven Hockey East contests to close out the regular season.

“I think if we compete well, we’ll be fine,” said O’Connell about his team going forward.

The Beanpot fixture with Harvard will be played at 4:30pm at the TD Garden on Monday, before BU set their sights on a weekend home-and-home series with the University of Connecticut next weekend.