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.

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

  1. Good to get a win for sure. But we just don’t have the fire power to beat the big guys. Lot of fun on the live blog last night. Great to have it and be able in real time comment on game while watching.

    • I agree with the analysis. Solid win last night, but the team has yet to prove themselves against the big teams they’ll likely come up against next month.

      Thank you for the kind words about the live blog. Hear that, folks?! The blog is the place to be!!

  2. “Guys were committed to doing the right thing and playing the right way. There was a lot of buy in” that’s the most important statement of late. This team needs to have confidence I hope last night gave them some. I’m very happy for Jake he played great and accomplished a very special milestone which puts him in the elite class of goaltenders to suit up at this University. I liked the fact that when we dumped the puck in we won the foot race and when we got in the offensive zone we cycled and created chances. I like that we always pass on odd man rushes but I would not mind us shooting once in a while. Curry I’m sure is fuming for missing those opportunities but his compete level is huge he brings it every night. I like him matched up with Amonte but both of them excelled last night apart what’s interesting about that is they make there linemates better they feed off there energy. Also our D was big last night. The most underrated star in college hockey played shut down defense with a huge amount of time. Crotty and kotkansalo were very active in the offensive zone Krys and Farrence move the puck up ice so well. Not a ton of ice time but when they got out there they did well the 4 line played hard they wore down a good sized u conn team Quercia had some big hits. witkowski suprises me how strong he is and Chabot is a fire hydrant solid with some speed and finesse. I would take that fourth line against anyone in hockey east. I know many on this blog have givin up on this team but it’s not over yet. I’m proud of our efforts last night these kids have not givin up . Since everyone on here lately knocks them I think it’s only fair to point out that during the tough stretch we just went through there was only one game we stunk and that was Harvard a very tough game to play in. We have not quit a credit to the coaches players and the players parents who raised these kids to be high character kids. In my opinion this is the ideals a university such as BU wants in there sports programs. I don’t know what the future holds for this team but I’m sure glad I stook by them they are a great group of kids.🐾

    • As always, loving the optimism Colin. I agree that the defense came to play last night, on both ends! Of course, Jake was huge too, as you mentioned as well. I think you might be giving the fourth line a bit too much credit – effort is one thing, production is another. That said, there has clearly been a resurgence in the “competitive spirit” that coach talks about, which is great to see as we come down the stretch this season. One win over the ninth-place team in the conference isn’t the biggest accomplishment ever, but a win is a win, and there looked to be a lot to build on going into these last five games and the playoffs.

  3. Def good to get a win but more importantly we were actually physical, energized, all night no mental break downs and Jake had solid night I know it’s vs uconn but they got size so I’ll take it like Colin said def need to shoot more get pucks to the net … Right in the middle of the playoff race with a trip to Vermont looming while frozen out boys play at Maine …. So home ice is still a chance now just keep it going as bad as we looked during 6 games we in the thick of things … Let’s finish up strong and once playoffs start it’s a new season… When they play inspired Quinnipiac,umass, we can play … Lets see going forward… See u all in Vermont go BU!!!

    • Great points Rui – the team played hard and smart for a full 60 minutes, which was a rare but welcomed sight. There is definitely opportunity to move up in the standings, and in a season where BU have struggled away from home, getting that quarterfinal matchup at Agganis could make all the difference. Regardless of the standings, if the Terriers keep up the effort as they did last night, they will put themselves in good position to make a strong showing in the postseason. See you in VT!

  4. I attended the game last night and the pre game buffet in the Friend’s Lounge. Nice to be back in there after a 3 year hiatus! Coach O’Conner proved to be affable and friendly toward FOH members as he spoke with fans before the game. he seems to be taking relations with the fans seriously.
    As for the game IMO 2 periods of desultory play from both sides with curiously no penalties called either side. the refs seemed to just want the let the boys play. The Terriers were able to step up in the third enough to win the game with Jake again standing tall as he has in most games the Terriers have won this season. it was important anyways to stop the skid. Again though I see just individual efforts providing the offense and a lack of team play. i believe the team lacks an identity. they had better find one soon if they expect to progress at all in the postseason.

    • Glad you were back around Agganis Vito! Good to hear that Coach seems to care about the fans. I think your concerns are valid, but I do think they took a major step in the right direction last Saturday. Hope to hear more from you on the blog!

  5. The return of Bobo will certainly help because he is their only consistent goal scorer but that’s not what i mean by a team identity. An identity is the willingness to sacrifice for the good of the team and to play with clearly defined roles for players and a willingness to stick up for teammates and help each other on the ice. In addition what is the game plan for this group? If they are good on the breakout, and it seems they are, than why don’t they use their speed to more effectiveness and pass the puck better to take full advantage of this, instead of the constant bad passes we see from them including in the offensive zone or even eschewing any pass in favor of an individual move which produces no result most of the time. They also get pushed around it seems by everybody. Why isn’t there an immediate response from a teammate when another one gets flattened by an opponent. A team with an identity would show more of these characteristics. We’ve all seen it from other BU squads but not withe the current group.

  6. Vito, so true. I have noticed that the team does not stick up for one another. Sad. My comment last week about the woman’s Beanpot girls helping out this team was in direct reference to you comment about toughness. They are not very tough.

  7. Son of Cesar that 4 the line can bang tell curry he does not stick for his teammates they stick up for each other just fine. That said there identity is certainly not size and physical play. They are thin on superstars they have 4 10 goal scorers they are not going to win games 5-1 they will win most with only scoring 3 goals. They played well dumping and getting to the puck first and setting up a cycle game. I’m as many point out a optimist but this team is what this team is. We are not going to get 3 20 goal scorers but we do have talent that when we play our best gives us a good chance. Our identity I believe has to be a team with speed and good defense .

  8. I mentioned above how we are thin on super stars and I think that’s what frustrates many readers of the blog they always state about how many first rounders we have. The truth of the matter is it’s hard to know when and if a player will become a super star bound for the NHL but at 18 it usually does not show. I think many expected a team of greats well we don’t have that but we have a good team that can beat anyone. I think the recruiting theory many on here mention about getting older four year guys is important and I’m sure coach OConnell has given it some thought and will proceed cautiously the next few years but please give the guy a break in the meantime he has not been the head guy for very long. I think he has done a very good job with the team he has. I also know he has recruited most of these kids he sees talent better then most in the game but with departures things just have not clicked yet but let’s be positive we are very close. Go bu🐾

  9. Vito it would be great getting Bobo back but I don’t see it happening. I think this team will need to figure out how to win without him.

    • Wow Colin, you must have some inside info! They have been quite quiet about it, but hopefully some positive news will come out soon.

  10. Folks that comment on how many first rounders we have check out Adam Wooden article on CHN it’s not coach O’Connell or the kids fault it’s happening across the country bu is in no different situation then some other great programs that’s why I think bu will change some of its recruitment in the years to come to try and balance some of this. Remember it’s very hard to give a scholarship out if it’s already taken. I don’t envy the coaching staff having to deal with recruiting in today’s college hockey but I think the bu staff will get it write more often then not.🐾

  11. Colin,
    There has to be accountability for this being, up to this point, one the worst teams in B.U. hockey history., For you not to blame the coach or players is unrealistic and just not true. Although I agree that the majority of blame goes to the person who is responsible for a recruiting strategy that does not work or translate in long term success.
    How come U Mass Amherst and ASU built national contenders in three years or how do Northeastern, Providence and U Mass Lowell continue to build solid teams year after year?
    It is a result oriented business and B.U. should be ashamed at how below average the program has become. Too many excuses and not enough effort.
    As a former student manager, FOH board member , and legacy donor I am not happy and rather sad . However I have taken your advice and went up the street to Foxboro and down the street to Fenway where at least you can count on an honest effort every night . Even the Bruins play hard and are accountable.
    I do not feel this situation will improve do to an apathetic president and a clueless, inept athletic director who has no answers.

  12. Frozen out I agree with you on one thing the staff at Fenway is #1 . I think your perspective on our program is not accurate this season is not over yet let’s see what happens I agree to this point the team has not met expectations set. We still have a playoff run. Also we have had great years recently we won hockey east last year we have been in the national tournament our program is fine I don’t subscribe to the notion that we have been below average. As to my point and the author of this article points out the youth and inexperience of young first rounders or anyone drafted does not equal instant success. A young player needs to develop his skills that takes time if a player comes in and dominates immediately then he is a flight risk. We have some good drafted players who contribute on a nightly basis but not of superstar status just yet. Remember it’s hard to scout in today’s college hockey. You won’t find a better coach to evaluate hockey talent then coach. Folks may not want to hear this but I think it may take a few years before bu is a dominant force and let’s be clear that’s not to say they can’t win this year or next. Give this staff a chance be realistic on expectations for a new coach and you might just get surprised we still have a good team here.

  13. Colin, we want a GREAT team, not a “good” team.. Frozen ‘s comments are right on concerning the President and the Athletic director. No regional TV for BU hockey on almost any night ? SHAME on the athletic department. THAT IS A RECRUITMENT TOOL. My politic comments that were taken down down before bear a direct relationship to the problem It is complicated but maybe in a close up forum I can explain. I consider myself a sage of BU Hockey her as I believe I am the oldest fan by far.

    • Really diving deep here SOCC, but you make an interesting point. It would be great to see the team on regional TV more frequently, and I think the continued partnership with NESN will only improve their coverage of BU hockey over time.

  14. Son of CC
    Your assessment is 1000% correct. What is worst then no TV is no radio. Another administration decision that does not make sense and hurts the Hockey program.
    Even the team up the street is on the radio for the majority of their games. Instead of excuse or rationalization , how about a recruiting policy that actually works.

    • The games do have a “radio” broadcast through the BU Athletics website, but I understand what you mean. Interesting thoughts here for sure.

  15. I think they mean actual radio as opposed to internet radio. Of course it would take one hell of a powerful transmission for the signal to reach White Plains LOL.

  16. it is funny. i got a new Iphone and my car has blue tooth so last week i was listening to bernie on the radio like it was the old days. i miss tom ryan’s candor

    • I agree Tom Ryan was great and he held back no punches when critiquing the club. No radio for a 30 time beanpot winner and 5 time nat’l champ is outrageous. We always had an outlet up until just a few years ago, i still remember Art Moher and dan Shapiro years ago. Another idiotic decision by the athletic department.

  17. 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. 2 vs Vermont 1 vs providence 1 vs Maine…. Bc 2 vs Maine 2 vs northeastern 1 vs providence… My point is u play hockey like u should u will finish up there and it starts this weekend at Vermont go BU…

  18. They absolutely need a sweep this w/e. I think Switzerland is the key. LOL. This season is all on Oettonger here on out. IMO, make or break for him. TK out!!!!

    • It definitely feels like a year when the keeper is going to have to steal some games down the stretch, so yes, Oettinger will need to be huge. I’m confident they can get the full four points against UVM!

    • Don’t underplay the importance of Switzerland in this series. A lot hinges on the performance of that country towards overcoming the Catamounts.

  19. Colin,
    it is not that hard to find excellent college talent. It is the team building philosophy of finding older student athletes that come to play and focus every day. Their main focus is education and B.U. Hockey not the NHL. They are respected enough to call out young immature but talented freshmen if they are not mentally or physically engaged.
    Another major issue is that B.U. is as a team they are fundamentally flawed and undisciplined. More turnovers then at your local bakery. Blown coverages and much too much individual play that directly leads to the opposing team having odd man rushes. No reason why the proceeding has been corrected or minimized.
    Clearly not listening to Albie who cannot seem to motivate this team on a consistent basis.

Comments are closed.