No. 16/18 Northeastern University recognized its seniors before hosting Boston University in Friday night’s Hockey East bout, but after the game, it was the visitors who left Matthews Arena with the most praise for their veterans.
Four upperclassmen earned a point or more in BU’s 3-0 shutout out of the Huskies, and BU head coach Albie O’Connell felt his leaders made the difference to earn BU (13-12-8, 10-8-5 Hockey East) its first win in four games.
“We just got good leadership from our older guys,” he said. “It’s a good road win for us.”
On the opposite bench, Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan was left looking for more from his veterans after seeing his Huskies (17-13-3, 10-12-1 Hockey East) drop their fifth game in a row.
“Our older forwards need to do more for us,” he said. “They’ve gotta impact the game for us to have an opportunity here to win.”
Senior forward Patrick Curry opened the scoring 27 minutes into the game, shoveling in a rebound to extend his point streak to six games with his team-leading 19th goal of the season.
Minutes later, NU freshman forward Matt DeMelis had a clear chance to tie the game but pulled his one-timer wide of the gaping goal on Northeastern’s only power play of the game.
O’Connell felt that limiting dangerous looks like DeMelis’s opportunity was dependent on his Terriers avoiding penalties, which cost BU in its 5-4 Beanpot Final loss to the Huskies the last time these teams met.
“We stayed out of the box, which is helpful, especially (against) a team that has a good power play,” O’Connell said.
Before the second intermission, junior defenseman Cam Crotty doubled BU’s lead, knocking in a centering feed from junior defenseman David Farrance.
Freshman forward Wilmer Skoog added insurance for BU 5:23 into the third period, tipping home a blast by junior defenseman Kasper Kotkansalo.
David Farrance was credited with an assist on all three BU goals, marking his first three-assist game as a Terrier. His points total on the season is up to 43, good for the most ever recorded by a BU defenseman in the Hockey East era.
Crotty has played alongside Farrance for much of his collegiate career, and has enjoyed witnessing his teammate’s success from the other side of the blue line.
“He makes my job really easy,” Crotty said. “He’s probably my favorite partner on the back end to play with.”
Backstopping BU to his fourth shutout of the season, graduate goaltender Sam Tucker was only tested with 16 shots on goal, the fewest allowed by the Terriers since the season opener.
While Tucker admitted that seeing more shots would help him find more of a rhythm, he knows he can’t complain about the light workload.
“It’s nice when you see a lot of shots because you get to feel the puck, but when you don’t it means your team’s doing something well,” he said.
Friday’s results narrowed the list of potential Hockey East playoff seedings. A BU victory in Saturday’s series finale would see BU visit the University of Maine in the quarterfinals, while a loss or tie would mean travelling to the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.
The Terriers will host Northeastern at Agganis Arena in the final game of the regular season on Saturday at 4 p.m.