The Boston University men’s ice hockey team kicked off their two-game series against UMass Amherst with a strong and character-building 4-2 win. The Terrier’s victory snapped the Minutemen’s seven-game winning streak and proved the team is here to compete.
In yesterday’s press conference, Coach Albie O’Connell pointed to UMass’s success and strength as a team and what it would take for his squad to come out on top in today’s match.
“I think we’re gonna have to have our best to beat them. They’re pretty seasoned, they play really competitive in all three zones, really good on faceoffs, their special teams, this year, are light years, especially the powerplay, than what they were last year,” O’Connell said.
The Terriers rose to the occasion led by freshman goaltender Drew Commesso, who got his third straight start, while sophomore forward Wilmer Skoog made his first appearance of the season.
Freshman forward Dylan Peterson got BU on the board 8:47 into the first period with his first collegiate goal, assisted by sophomore forward Jamie Armstrong.
UMass tied the game at 5:34 with a goal that caught Commesso off-guard. The tally was junior defenseman Ty Farmer’s first of the season.
The Terriers found themselves in the penalty box with 1:38 remaining in the opening period from a cross-checking call on sophomore defenseman Alex Vlasic.
The Minutemen capitalized on this advantage as redshirt senior forward Carson Gicewicz netted one with 0:44 seconds left.
Although heading out of the first down by a goal, BU held their own in a fast-paced and action-filled period.
It seemed both teams mellowed out going into the second period and settled into their own respective games.
Captain and senior forward Logan Cockerill made an outstanding play, stripping freshman defenseman Aaron Bohlinger of the puck on a forceful breakaway that resulted in not only a goal, but a power play too as Cockerill drew a hooking penalty.
“That was a big moment, turning point, momentum shift for our team,” O’Connell said.
BU regained the lead on the power play towards the end of the second. Senior defenseman David Farrance blasted one from the point that headed right for the back of the net.
Commesso also played a major role in keeping the Terriers in the game, with 21 saves by the end of the second. O’Connell said his play was, “Very solid, very calm, very poised.”
UMass hadn’t lost a game this season after leading in the first period, however the Terriers were determined to change that going into the third.
Armstrong’s holding penalty around six minutes into the period surprisingly resulted in a goal for his own team. Cockerill scored his second short-handed and fourth overall goal of the season. The captain outskated three Minutemen and dumped the puck through the five-hole to give his team a 4-2 lead.
BU made it a lot harder on themselves to get out of the third with a win by taking three penalties in that period alone, but the PK looked good nonetheless.
UMass put on intense offensive pressure in the last minutes of the competition, but the Terriers held strong.
“In those last two minutes it looked like guys wanted to block shots. It’s really good, it speaks to our character as a team and how we’re interacting with each other and how much trust we have in each other,” Cockerill said.
After an impressive effort today and a gritty win, BU will head home tonight to prepare for their 3:00 pm home game against the Minutemen tomorrow.