BU drops regular season finale as Northeastern spoils Senior Day

BOSTON, MA – The Boston University men’s hockey team fell to the Northeastern University Huskies by a final score of 2-1 at Agganis Arena on Saturday afternoon.

“It was a pretty tight game, start to finish,” BU head coach Albie O’Connell said following the loss. “I like the way we played all weekend.”

The Terriers (13-13-8, 10-9-5 Hockey East) celebrated Senior Day before puck drop, honoring their four seniors – captain Patrick Curry, assistant captain Patrick Harper, forward Gabe Chabot, and goaltender Nico Lynch, as well as their two graduate students, goaltender Sam Tucker and forward Alex Brink.

O’Connell sang high praise for his group of upperclassmen following the game, citing their leadership both on and off the ice.

“I think [the seniors] have been huge,” O’Connell said. “We had a little reception before the game with the parents and those guys, they’ve kind of transformed the culture.

“They’ve done a good job – from last year to this year, the buy-in from the team in all areas of the program is night and day, and I credit all the seniors and the juniors who are here of changing what guys do day-in, day-out, what guys do at night, how guys go to class, how they behave.”

For Harper, the Senior Day festivities marked a bittersweet approach to the end of his time on Comm. Ave.

“Obviously I’m very fortunate to play for BU,” Harper said. “I’ve given my all to the program so [it’s] obviously bittersweet.”

After dropping the first game of the series by getting shutout on home ice on Friday night, the Huskies (18-13-3, 11-12-1 Hockey East) bounced back and clinched a Hockey East playoff berth with the win.

Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan thought his group put out a strong response with their backs against the wall.

“I thought we responded really well after last night’s game,” Madigan. said. “I thought our kids really played a gutty, tough, determined game.”

Huskies senior captain Ryan Shea thought the team had the right mindset heading into Saturday’s game after assessing their issues earlier in the day.

“We had a little team meeting this morning just to talk about pretty much what is going wrong and [why] we lacked confidence,” Shea said. “We didn’t want to leave [a playoff spot] up to chance. We just wanted to get the job done ourselves.”

The game got off to an interesting start, as the Terriers had a power-play right from the drop of the puck after Northeastern backup senior goaltender Curtis Frye shot a puck that hit Curry in the head during warmups, leading to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalt at the opening puck drop. After senior forward Grant Joezefek served the two minutes, the Huskies were able to kill off the minor.

Aside from the BU power play, the game got off to a sleepy start, much like Friday’s contest at Matthews Arena. About five minutes in, Northeastern assistant captain John Picking set up Matt Thomson off the rush, but Thomson’s redirect skittered through the crease and wide of the open goal.

Moments later, BU junior forward and assistant captain Logan Cockerill took a slashing minor, sending Northeastern to the man-advantage. On the ensuing power play, Huskies freshman Aidan McDonough found open space in the slot, where he took a centering feed from Jozefek before beating Tucker to the glove to give Northeastern a 1-0 lead with 11:52 to go in the first.

The one-goal lead held heading into the locker rooms for the first intermission before the second period got off to the same sluggish start, with BU failing to execute little details, telegraphing passes, and doing fly-bys on Northeastern attackers.

The intensity and physicality began to ratchet up with some extracurriculars after the whistle involving freshman forward Wilmer Skoog’s line and Northeastern senior assistant captain Biagio Lerario about seven minutes into the middle frame– the two of them were at the center of the testiness in Friday’s game as well.

Shortly after the jawing between Lerario and Skoog and Co., Brink delivered a thunderous hit on Huskies d-man Jeremie Bucheler behind graduate netminder Craig Pantano’s goa as BU began to seize momentum.

On the heels of Brink’s check, sophomore forward Jack DeBoer found freshman forward Trevor Zegras all alone in the slot, who nearly beat Pantano, but his shot caught the post. Going the other way, junior defender Kasper Kotkansal delivered a hard hit, knocking Northeastern frosh Riley Hughes to the ice before Alex Vlasic got a big piece of Hughes in the defensive zone seconds later. In the end-to-end action, Harper and Zegas combined on a two-on-two rush, but Zegras could not complete the between-the-legs deke.

With 19.9 seconds to go in the second period, junior assistant captain Cam Crotty thought he tied the game at one apiece for the Terriers, cleaning up the loose change to beat Pantano on the doorstep. However, after the officials reviewed the play, it was ruled that there was a distinct kicking motion from Crotty, disallowing the goal.

Harper said the Terriers did not receive much of an explanation from the officials about the decision to wave off the goal.

“They just said it was a kicking motion,” Harper said.

Just 43 seconds into the final frame, Northeastern senior assistant captain Matt Filipe capitalized on a rebound in front of Tucker off Shea’s blast from the point, putting Northeastern up 2-0.

With 18:42 to go in the third, Huskies defenseman Julian Kislin took a cross-checking penalty, sending BU back to the power play. On the ensuing chance, Harper unleashed a slap shot from the top of the left faceoff circle that appeared to ring off the crossbar before Northeastern went on to kill the penalty.

But at the next stoppage of the play, a review of the play showed that Harper’s shot crossed the goal line and ricocheted out of the net off the back bar, pulling BU within one with 16:54 remaining in regulation.

After the game, Harper said he thought the puck simply hit the crossbar.

“Honestly, I didn’t think it went in,” Harper said.

With an assist on Harper’s 14th of the season, Curry extended his point streak to eight games.

The Terriers continued to push the pace as the third period wore on before heading back to the power play with 1:44 remaining in regulation.

With Tucker off for the extra skater, the Terriers put in a last-ditch effort to tie the game and force overtime, but some key saves from Pantano and clutch defensive clears for the Huskies snuffed out the BU attack as the final horn sounded.

Madigan was pleased by his team’s ability to turn out a strong defensive stand in the final moments of the contest.

“To kill off the penalty at the end in the six-on-four just I think speaks to how well our kids played and how they bought into tonight’s effort,” Madigan said.

With the loss, the Terriers finish as the sixth seed in Hockey East and will travel to the University of Massachusetts Lowell for a best-of-three Hockey East Quarterfinals series, beginning next Friday at Tsongas Center.

Had BU lost, the Terriers would have traveled to Maine for the Quarterfinals. Harper said he and the Terriers favor the trip to Lowell as opposed to a road trip to Maine.

“Obviously being in Lowell is an easier commute than going all the way up to Orono and it’s a place where we’ve had a little bit of success, compared to Maine where it’s been a really tough spot for us the past few years,” Harper said.

O’Connell knows his squad must bear down heading into postseason play.

“We’re excited to move on and get into the postseason,” O’Connell said. “It was a really long, grinding year. We’ve got to move on and start a new season.”

Puck-drop for game one between the Terriers and River Hawks is set for 7:15 pm on Friday, March 13.

32 thoughts on “BU drops regular season finale as Northeastern spoils Senior Day”

  1. For a team of this talent ending the regular season at .500 is failure. On paper, this BU team should be contending for a national championship. BU has nobody to blame for themselves because it is their ineptitude that has casted a dark cloud surrounding this once great program.

    Perhaps BU follows suit of LSU football and regains it’s status as a beacon among college hockey after a few down years, similar to the LSU Tigers. However, that won’t happen until BU brings in a coach. It won’t be this off season as I’ve said that BU’s entry into the HE tournament has saved Albie’s job. But unless BU drastically improves next season, I assume and would hope for him to be replaced.

  2. This team was consistently inconsistent the entire regular season. Unable to string together a number of wins or even consecutive wins together. In the end it what makes you what you are, mediocre .500 team , incapable of competing for any championship, which the Terriers were this season. The Beanpot was an illusion. It was the only time the club seem inspired to accomplish anything significant this season. Being capable of playing competitive hockey or showing up occasionally against top opposition is nowhere near good enough. Like this in the end you end up what you are, a mediocre non ranked team that barely qualified for the playoffs. The club and this coaching staff is not close to living up to the proud tradition of this program and hopefully not to the expectations of the university and athletic dept. If this continues in the future attendance and support will continue to decline. The program will risk even being dropped as a varsity sport, as football and baseball were years and years ago. I’m starting to believe that only the greatness of J. Parker and the respect he had from the BU hierarchy is the only reason why BU hockey remained at such a high level for decades. But nothing is forever and the events of the last 2 years create doubt in my mind about the sustainability of BU hockey if it continues to perform at this level.

  3. Have to agree with the above as to their content. This team did not have the talent everyone thought. .500 is .500. With the eight ties that to me means there was a lack of O from the supposed NHL drafted guys. The D was far below average and the tending was mediocre . The Beanpot was an anomaly for sure. Thought though that they may have turned the corner. in that tournament. I was wrong. Friday they play hard and win easily but last night not so much. With Harper’s comment via Patrick above maybe they tanked the game. It will be an easier game next week and maybe we can advance to the Garden where we have played well in the Beanpot. BC seems so far ahead of us. And to paraphrase from a song of the sixty’s “Where have all the flowers gone”, ‘ Long time passing”

  4. It was only fitting that they lost the season finale at home( yet another home loss). Could their home record be contributing to the poor attendance? I think Albie has to go. He has shown us what he is capable of and I am not impressed at all. TK out!!!!

  5. I definitely think two years is not enough to judge Albie, especially when a guy like Commesso is coming next season and given we will finally have high-end forwards who will actually be returning. Of course if we don’t even make the NCAA’s next season, then I will feel quite differently.

    • We are losing so much scoring that I’m not sure the incoming class can make up . We think/expect Comesso to be good but there are no certainties. Get rid of the coach, Best in college hockey, and start anew. TK out!!!

  6. Yes, TK, no guarantees as to how well Commesso will do as he adjusts to NCAA hockey. However, unlike the last 5+ years, we won’t have to depend on the incoming class for scoring, given all the high-end forwards who will be returning. Albie will get at least one more season. This isn’t the NHL, MLB, NFL or NBA we’re talking about.

  7. Glenn, please tell me what high end forwards are returning. please back up your claims with facts and statistics. this would then eliminate forward like Wise and cockerill who can barely find the back of the net.

    • Hi Vinnie. Of course this includes Wise, as he went from a 0-2-2 scoring line in his freshman season to a 2-11-13 line in his sophomore season (granted he played triple the games). His progress was undeniable and better yet it was concentrated in the second semester, which gives me extra reason to expect a nice jump in his junior season. He still makes some dopey plays but all in all, his progress was undeniable. So, the forwards I expect to be high-end next season (let’s say better than 0.666 points per game) include Mastrosimone, Phillips, Skoog and Wise. I believe these are very reasonable projections. If they were doing it as freshmen, we wouldn’t be seeing them for long. Personally, I have the highest expectations for Mastrosimone … to have a breakout year.

  8. I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if Zegras returned, nor would I be surprised if he left.

    Out side of Zegras, only three other non-graduating forwards have five or more goals. That’s not good.

    BU has scored 103 goals with Curry, Harper, Farrance, and Zegras combining for 56% of the scoring.

  9. Disappointed but not surprised so many fair weather terrier fans are jumping ship. I guess it’s easy to root for a dominant team. Ask yourself this question providence and northeastern finished behind us do you think there fans are calling the team out and wanting the coach fired. This bu team will play hard this weekend against a good hockey club we will have to see what the results are but this is a fact 2 years ago the same fans whining today about bu hock were made to look foolish when we won hockey East . I’m not saying it will happen again but we have just as much a chance as anyone. Knock our coach all you want but he’s a great coach if we win how will you all feel. I would rather go down with the ship then dessert this team. Go bu 🐾

  10. Nobody here is being “fair weathered”, we just aren’t blinded by the “scarlet colored glasses” and thus can be critical of our favorite college hockey team. Part of being a real fan is being able to face reality and see that these past two seasons do not reach the level of excellence of BU hockey. We are not deserting this team nor do we want this ship to sink. However, when you notice a hole in the ship which leads to water entering, you need to patch it up. In this case, it’s evident O’Connell is the hole and unless he A) learns how to coach or B) is replaced, the standard of BU hockey is sunken.

    In regards to your question about PC and NU, both teams are currently nationally ranked, which BU is not. As a matter of fact, has BU been ranked at all this season? The answer is yes, for one week. PC and PU have been ranked all season long.

    Moreover, both Madigan and Leaman have won titles in their careers, which Albie has not.

  11. Playoff time let’s see what we can I think we will beat lowell… Are they ready to make a run let’s see starts Friday !! Zebras has had 1 foot out the door since opening night can’t be bothered at this level … Go BU 🐾🐾!!

  12. I’m have given alive alot of passes but can anyone explain to me why 19 deboer is on that top line with zegras and harper??? It’s mind boggling and last game pulled goalie and he brings deboer out really??? What are doing here ??? He slows that line down and zegras don’t like playing in his own zone so your already chasing and offensively he gets tired way sooner then the other guys … So many options for that spot u want size u can put Stevens u want banging out Chabot which worked few games I must say … I really hope he is. Not on that top line for playoffs makes no sense…. Nothing against the kid hes a 4rh liner or even a fill In type of player… Playoffs are here put best team forward and forget if u hurt people feeling… U can’t be everyones friend u need to be a a hole SOMETIMES… Go BU 🐾🐾 I will be there this weekend..

    • Hi Rui – They like DeBoer up there because he parks in front of the net, which few guys do on this team, especially with Quercia now out. The difference in speed really shows on the break, but when that line has extended offensive possession, putting DeBoer in front gives Harper and Zegras more room to operate and more lanes to shoot through. That said, I think it’s kind of strange that, on the top line with the team’s two most talented offensive players, the third spot on the line has been a revolving door for would-be fourth liners. Kinda feels like missing out on some potential there.

      • I understand the theory but I think we have enough film that shows it doesn’t lead to any positives. On the shifts they don’t get setup in the O-zone he’s a liability through the neutral zone. If they do have an up and down shift he gets gassed before the other two. And when he does camp out in front (which is not nearly enough) he’s not in a prepared position to anticipate and pounce on a rebound. Maybe stats say different but it would be interesting to see scoring data / o-zone time / etc. when the three of them are on the ice. Seems like a good kid. But he’s being put into a position that doesn’t help him nor the team.

        • Yes Mike, seems like he’s kind of being wedged into that spot in the hopes that it eventually works out. Who knows, maybe his physical style of play will help against an aggressive Lowell team.

  13. Oh Colin,
    it is not disloyal when you point out flaws. a record of 13-13-8 SUCKS. Read ice cold facts. he just saved me a lot of typing.i am willing to give Albie, albeit NOT part of the greatest coaching staff in the country, another year. but that is it. no more – he has no head coaching experience excuse. at first that was legit. now no more

    if a bu coach won 3 straight beanpots and 2 hockey east titles, i would not criticize him. if a bu coach’s team had made a number of successive ncaas appearance and a national championship as recent as 2015, i would not criticize him.

    get a grip. these past two years have been underwhelming to say the least. the highlight so far was a first round beanpot upset of BC. to then of course turn in the the Beanpot’s version of the Washington Generals as they have been bridesmaids 6 out of the last 7 years. those are facts. i base my judgements on facts. Albie seems like a real nice guy. i hope he turns this program around because the longer it stays mired in this mediocrity, the harder it is to turn it around. again, that is reality.
    i will close by say sincerely from the bottom of my heart Go BU

    • Yep. Similar size sheet as Agganis – only difference is the benches are side-by-side, but that’s nothing unique in Hockey East.

  14. The last time there were no fans was several years ago when Walter Brown was empty during a game because of mono.
    This no fan stuff is overkill as the have been no young people that have died and we have seen this kind of flu before. The nation has gone crazy and maybe BU can benefit from the empty arena. Don’t know.

    • Right, because only young people attend hockey games and none of those young people ever interact or live with older people or immunocompromised people of any age. Come on, SoCC. Even a little research can tell you why this is a big deal and why this isn’t “the kind of flu you’ve seen before.” One, it’s much more highly transmittable and unlike the “normal flu” where you’re likely contagious starting 24 hours before showing symptoms, with this one you could be looking and feeling totally normal for many days while being contagious. I recommend the following read, “Some of the best epidemiologists in the world are estimating that between 40 and 70% of adults will end up getting an infection. Even if we begin with that low end of 40% of adults in Massachusetts, that’s 2 million people getting infected. If we take data from China that says 20% of people needed hospitalizations, that’s 400,000 hospitalizations. Even if we said ‘No, that’s too many, we can cut that in half,’ that’s 200,000 hospitalizations. At any given time in Massachusetts, we think there are [3,000 to] 4,000 hospital beds open at most … And so, if you start doing the numbers, you very quickly realize we do not have anywhere near capacity to take care of tens of thousands of people with [COVID-19] who might need hospitalization … But if we can spread that out over many, many, many months — ideally a year — then I think we have a shot of being able to take care of everybody who will need the care.” from https://www.wbur.org/news/2020/03/10/coronavirus-covid-19-massachusetts-hospital-capacity-ashish-jha

      • Probably not an appropriate time to say this, but I shall anyway.

        No tournament means that BU cannot lose. Therefore one can argue that the person that benefits the most is Albie. Since this all but insurers one more year

  15. Guys, come on. I have seen this before as I believe I am older. We have had the swine flue and the Avian and a couple of others when I was younger. Thousands died that were compromised as to age or sickness. We never called off games. The abundance of media coverage has made us crazy. This is serious but if you guys get it you will not die. We are controlling it better than ever before but the media has really got you guys crazy. As I am older I have to be careful but the younger people have no worry. We have become a country of old woman. Jezz..

    • SoCC, I respect your age and life experience that most of us do not have. Having said that, we are not at all “controlling” COVD-19. How can we be controlling it if the virus is growing exponentially? As far as the media coverage, if you’re a big fan of misinformation and going by gut feelings and hunches, I can see how you’d have a big problem with the media. The media is now vitally important in connecting the public with evidence-based information from scientifically credentialed professionals. I’m not sure which BU school you graduated from but I have a feeling it wasn’t our School of Public Health. I wish you good health and a longer life than you could ever imagine.

Comments are closed.