It took a while, but the Boston University men’s hockey team is back to its winning ways.
After securing two victories in Vermont last weekend, the Terriers have won three consecutive contests heading into their final matchup against a ranked opponent.
“It was a good sweep,” BU head coach Albie O’Connell said. “It’s huge. We battled hard.”
Playing on a Thursday for the first time this season, BU will head down to Rhode Island to take on eighth-ranked Providence College.
BU has experience going down to Schneider Rink and emerging victorious, handling the Friars 4-3 during a five-game stretch without a loss last month. In order to win their second straight against Providence, the Terriers will need to bring the intensity they have sported over their most recent streak.
After shutting out UConn on February 16 behind a perfect night from junior goaltender Jake Oettinger and goals from sophomore forward Ty Amonte and freshman forward Joel Farabee, BU rolled over the cellar-dwelling Catamounts to leap into a tie for fifth place in the Hockey East standings
The Vermont students brought the ruckus both nights, with over 3,500 fans piling into Gutterson Fieldhouse each game. However, the Terriers handled the situation with ease. The first night, Oettinger was impeccable yet again, stopping 12 shots in the third period to preserve a scoreless tie and send the tilt to overtime.
It took 64:44 and a empty net to get a goal tonight but we'll take it.
— BU Men's Hockey (@TerrierHockey) February 23, 2019
“Our defense played hard,” O’Connell said. “We gave up one goal on the weekend so it was positive. [Oettinger] was dynamite. He didn’t make a mistake all weekend so that is a great sign for BU hockey.”
The Dallas Stars draftee finished with 29 saves and junior defenseman Chad Krys finished off the Catamounts with an unassisted game-winner 4:44 into the extra frame. The following night, Vermont got on the board first with a power play score in the opening eight minutes.
The Terriers are used to playing from behind and they were not fazed by this one-goal deficit. BU garnered the equalizer at the end of the second period as junior forward Patrick Harper scored his fourth goal of the season off assists from classmate Patrick Curry and sophomore defenseman Cam Crotty.
Harper ▶️ Curry ▶️ Harper ▶️ Curry ▶️ Harper = Equalizer pic.twitter.com/FFFmN0ewVX
— BU Men's Hockey (@TerrierHockey) February 24, 2019
Oettinger was able to keep the Catamounts at bay throughout the third period, opening the door for Farabee’s game-winner with 57 seconds remaining off helpers from sophomore forward Logan Cockerill and sophomore defenseman Kasper Kotkansalo.
“The guys battled hard,” O’Connell said. “It was a really good showing. Just to get a sweep on the road, it’s not easy. We made two really nice plays that ended up winning us the game.”
It was one of the Terriers most successful weekends of the year, a nice breath of fresh air in which the team realized its potential against an inferior opponent.
You certainly can’t say the same about Providence, a team with a freshman defenseman, Jay O’Brien, who will be playing alongside Farabee on the Philadelphia Flyers one day.
The Friars have won three consecutive games against ranked opponents. 14th-ranked UMass Lowell was no match for them two weekends ago, as Providence swept the home-and-home series by a combined score of 7-1.
Last Saturday, the Friars hosted the hottest team on the East Coast, UMass Amherst. After falling behind the nation’s second-ranked team in the first period, Providence outscored the Minutemen 3-1 over the final two periods to garner its best win of season.
Senior forward Scott Conway scored the go-ahead goal for the victors in the third period, and he has produced plenty of tallies this year. The England native is tied for the team lead with 13 goals.
— PC Men's Hockey (@FriarsHockey) February 24, 2019
The other scorer on the team with 13 goals this year is junior forward Kasper Bjorkqvist, whose hometown of Espoo, Finland is shared by Kotkansalo. Bjorkqvist registered two goals in Providence’s 6-1 win over UMass Lowell on February 15.
Notes: No need to pull out your computer for this one. This game will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Boston at 7 PM on Thursday…Do you think BU can win the season series against the Friars? Let us know below!