Oettinger carries BU to a point in 1-1 tie with Providence

Behind 45 saves from junior netminder Jake Oettinger, the Boston University men’s hockey team skated to a hard-fought 1-1 draw in a visit to Providence College on Thursday night.

“Our goaltender was the story,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell. “We’re pretty fortunate to get out of the rink with a point.”

With fifth-place BU (13-15-4, 11-8-3 Hockey East) only four points behind second-place Providence (20-9-5, 13-7-3 Hockey East) with a game in hand on the Friars at the time of the opening puck drop, the Terriers were looking for the full two points to assist their mission of securing a playoff game on home ice.

“They [knew] the importance of the points tonight,” O’Connell said of his squad.

BU nearly got on the board less than a minute into the game, as junior defenseman Chad Krys spotted a seam in the Friar defense on one of BU’s first rushes of the game. Krys beat senior goaltender Hayden Hawkey, but could not beat the post to the keeper’s left, and Providence would survive the early scare.

“I think we were mentally…and physically ready to go,” O’Connell said about his team’s quick start.

Building off of the early Krys chance, BU kept the pressure on Providence through the opening stages of the game, and were rewarded for their efforts eight minutes into the period.

After Oettinger made a phenomenal double-save to rob forward linemates Tyce Thompson and Scott Conway, the Terriers turned the other way, skating four against one. After freshman forward Joel Farabee was denied by Hawkey, sophomore forward Shane Bowers was there to knock in the rebound for his 11th goal of the season.

“We got off to a really good start – that gave us a chance to get a goal,” said Coach O’Connell.

Awoken by the Terrier opener, the Friars came charging back, riding an effective forecheck to a 14-7 shots on goal advantage by the end of the period. Coming off a dominant weekend against the University of Vermont, Oettinger stayed strong, fending off point-blank chances from forwards Kasper Bjorkqvist and Greg Printz among others.

According to O’Connell, “[Providence] did a really good job of getting in, forechecking, and holding pressure on [BU].”

Despite the lopsided shots on target counts, BU led 1-0 after one.

The Terriers started the second frame on the front foot, as Hawkey was forced into action five minutes into the period to keep out sophomore forward Ty Amonte’s diving effort, getting a stick on a saucer pass from junior linemate Patrick Harper in the corner.

Turning the tides as the period progressed just as they had in the first, Providence peppered Oettinger throughout the middle ten minutes of the second stanza en route to a 28-13 lead in terms of shots in goal by the end of the period.

Battling wave after wave of Friar attacks, Oettinger and his defense weathered the storm. The greatest threat from Providence came from defenseman Spenser Young swinging away in front with eight minutes remaining in the period, but Oettinger and a crowd of Terriers smothered the chance just in time.

“I thought we defended hard,” said Coach O’Connell, who saw his Terriers concede a maximum of one goal for their fourth consecutive game.

After another important stop by Oettinger to deny junior Vimal Sukumaran up close, BU would finally gain some zone time in the waning moments of the period with the game’s lone power play. Still, it was Providence’s Scott Conway who had the best chance while BU were up a man, stickhandling his way into shooting position but seeing his drive turned away by Oettinger.

“Providence played a really good game,” O’Connell said regarding the constant danger brought by the Friars.

After 40 minutes, the score would stand, 1-0.

Continuing their theme of hot starts into the third, the Terriers hit the ground running for the final twenty, as junior forward Patrick Curry’s off-balance swipe at a rebound was kept out by a sprawling Hawkey three minutes into the frame. That would be the closest BU would come in the third, as the Friars would once again find their stride as the period wore on.

“As the game wore on, we wore down,” O’Connell said.

After 53 minutes of flawless defense, Oettinger and the Terrier blueliners would finally cave in. On a break into the attacking zone, Greg Printz found forward Jack Dugan streaking towards the BU net. With quick hands, Dugan slipped the puck through the five hole, netting his tenth goal of the season for Providence and levelling the game at one.

“They made a really nice play on the goal,” said O’Connell of the Printz-Dugan link-up.

After an unsuccessful final push from both sides to end regulation, the teams would move on to overtime. It was the second game in BU’s last three that would require an additional frame.

In the extra five minutes, it was Oettinger again who played the role of hero for BU, stoning back-to-back chances from Kasper Bjorkqvist and defenseman Vincent Desharnais to keep the Terriers alive. With mere seconds left, Oettinger made one final save against Tyce Thompson, bringing his total to 45 on the night.

“Jake was there, and he was able to get us a point,” Coach O’Connell said.

The deadlock would not be broken, and the game would finish 1-1.

With the Friars tallying a whopping 82 shots with 46 on goal compared to BU’s 41 shots with 20 on goal, Oettinger’s efforts were essential to the Terrier cause.

In the words of O’Connell, “[Oettinger] was lights out.”

While Oettinger and his defensemen have been rock-solid as of late, the Terrier attack has been kept to low totals by opposing defenses, as BU has scored just a single goal in each of their previous three games. Knowing the current scoring drought his team is suffering from, O’Connell recognized the importance of the early energy from his team.

“[Providence] seemed a little flat, we weren’t, and it allowed us to get a point,” said the first-year head coach of the game’s opening minutes.

The full two points would have been advantageous for BU in terms of the Hockey East standings, but O’Connell voiced his satisfaction with the results his team gained in their trips this season to Providence’s Schneider Arena.

“We took 3 of 4 points off Providence in their own building, so that’s pretty good,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Friars clinched a home playoff game with the point, leaving just the positions currently occupied by Northeastern and UMass Lowell as the only spots to host a playoff game that are still undetermined.

“That’s a really good hockey team,” said Coach O’Connell of Providence. “They’re going to be a tough out for anyone.”

BU will look to keep their unbeaten run going and the home-ice hopes alive when they return to Agganis Arena against Merrimack on Saturday, March 2 at 7pm.

8 thoughts on “Oettinger carries BU to a point in 1-1 tie with Providence

  1. Brady great coverage I was happy with coming out of providence with a point but disappointed in our approach from about the 10 minute mark on. I have the advantage of commenting now after reading your recap and also listening to coach. First and foremost the best goalie in college hockey proved last night why he’s the best goalie in the country. Kid saw more rubber then the Michelin man. Bu as coach said was ready from the start last night playing physical and dominating the play winning puck battles and foot races. As the game wore on I think bu was trying to hard to play shut down D they lost some of there attack. I keep on saying it not as a negative but as something we have to work around we are not a team that will dazzle and put 5 goals on the board night after night we are a fast team we need to play to our strengths we need to establish offensive zone time and scoring chances while balancing a good D like we had last night. There were times we were so defensively minded and looking to be in right place that we were out of place and that led to significant scoring opportunities. We will need to clear that up for the playoffs. I know the haters with there political agendas will come on here and taut there foolishness but at the end of the day we split a series against the 8 ranked team in the country that’s not the sign of a program in disrepair we are a team still struggling to score goals but we are picking up steam. This team never quits that’s why they are very special to me.

  2. If we play the way we came out last night for the first 10 minutes. We can beat anybody. So much of this is confidence. I think having Bobo back will help. We also need him at center our face offs last night killed us. When we have the opportunity to set up last we go in first and we go in with wrists turned over. I’m not sure what the rush is to get in the dot and I understand why your wrists are turned over but again why let other team prepare and set up for it. All signs of a young team. Bobo is a great center so his return will help that also Last night the costly icings combined with face offs wore us down. If we win some draws we control puck we don’t have as many icings.

  3. Colin,
    I hate to burst your bubble but after the first ten minutes, Providence totally dominated every aspect of the game. B.U. was particularly embarrassing in the face-off circle and in the offensive zone. Occasional spurts but not enough attack or cycle time. It was clearly men against boys.
    I will agree that was one of the finest goaltending exhibitions of this or any other year. Enjoy Jake for his final few games as a Terrier. Unfortunately this was a must game for B.U.if they wanted a shot at home ice for the playoffs.
    Instead a Providence team, that had played on Tuesday and came out flat ran circles around the Terriers, managed to not only clinch home ice for the playoffs, but are extremely close to another NCAA bid. A prime example of what B.U.used to be . Their coach has cultivated and grown the program into a potential national contender year in and year out. He demonstrated integrity and honesty . A first class program that the student athletes are actually invested in the school and program. He has turned down other colleges and the NHL because at least for now it really is his dream job.
    B.U,. is now 13-15-4, will not be a top four team in Hockey East, will not finish above .500 for the regular season and is ranked 24th in the pairwise. Even Bentley received a vote in this weeks national poll.

  4. Ah frozen out I agree coach Lehman is a great coach and he runs a great program and we agree that jake stole one and surprisingly I agree we were out played for large portions of the game. Where we disagree is bu was playing defensively I think to much but that was there game plan and jake is a part of this team he gives his team chances to win on most nights so as impressed as I am by his performance I’m not surprised by it. I have been coming on here for 3 years touting him I take a beating on this blog when I write how good jake is. As early as yesterday Vinnie laughed and brought up stats that show him 37 I pay no attention to those stats this is not a fluke for jake he has played many games like this. I have no idea what bu did to you to make you so disgruntled I always try to give respect to my opponent and I honestly think coach Lehman runs a great program but why do you feel the need to bash bu you do realize we took 3-4 points in there barn. As to me enjoying jakes last few games for me any time I can watch my terriers jake obviously included is a good day. I’m interested in this season not next I have 81 home games to think about next year. I have not asked Jake his plans nor will I till after the season as I think he and his family will make that decision. I will say this I always liked John Bradly as my favorite bu goalie till jake came along. The kid pours everything he has into his studies and his team he has been a shining star for this program

  5. Providence took 2-2 points at Agganis. Jake is on a roll, of that there’s no doubt. Bu was outplayed for most of the game. Where will the offense come from? Oh yeah, we have Switzer. You can’t win if you don’t score no matter who is in net. TK out!

  6. Tk Switzer played well last weekend. I don’t appreciate the sarcasm. In Switzer you have a kid who is a good student and a kid who can play. He does not get a lot of ice time but when he does he gives it his all. I know your in with Frozen out but why the need to go after one of your players this is the bu blog. If your a bu fan come on here and help build up your program. I would not put down a kid who is a healthy scratch at bc I would encourage him and applaud him for his efforts I know it’s not easy and I would do that to my least favorite team. I respect what Shane has done at bu and I think he is one hell of a player.🐾

  7. Also tk your correct about not winning without scoring but you only have to score one more then your opponent.

  8. You need to score one more goal than your opponent and the Terriers have been on the short end of that for games several times this season, critical games. vs NU in the Beanpot, vs UCONN, vs NU early season, twice vs Minn State as well as last night. A frustrating season. The individual play at times is dazzling but the teamwork and grit needed to win big games is missing. There really isn’t much difference between the highly ranked teams and the ones like BU not ranked and our performances against the top ones like the ones mentioned above have just missed. Colin your analysis here is quite good and more objective than usual. Its not a sign of not being a fan to be critical but important so we can identify the problems with the team and understand what needs to be done in the future to correct them.Jake has been outstanding this year as he was last year down the stretch and has given the Terriers a chance to win in almost every game, and you can’t ask more of a goaltender than that. It should also be noted than sans Carpenter and Wise (two centers) has also significantly weakened our offensive punch as the others have not picked up the slack and scored enough goals. Remember a few years back when we lost Trivino and Coyle, the Terriers went into a tailspin after being ranked #1. Lets not give up we are still in the playoffs with a chance to get to the Garden and I hope to see our boys there as I have already purchased tickets for the HE tourney.

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