Farrance lights lamp in overtime to give Men’s Hockey 4-3 win, series sweep over UMass

BOSTON — One day after notching a 4-2 victory in Amherst, the Boston University Terriers (3-1-0) returned to Walter Brown Arena for the second leg of a home-and-home series with the University of Massachusetts Minutemen (9-4-2). The Terriers sealed a 4-3 comeback victory in overtime after trailing 3-1 entering the third period.

Senior defenseman David Farrance netted the winning goal on a clean breakaway to garner his eighth point of the season (3g-5a-8p). Forwards Domenick Fensore (1g, 1a) and Nick Zabaneh (2a) added two points apiece to lead the team with Farrance. UMass forward Oliver Chau led the Minutemen with two points (2a) in the game.

BU netminder Drew Commesso allowed three goals and made 44 saves in the winning effort, while UMass goalie Matt Murray made 28 saves on 32 shots on goal.

“I wouldn’t say we had unbelievable legs tonight, but we grinded it out,” BU head coach Albie O’Connell said. “You gotta give guys credit. They took care of themselves. They’re doing the right things and they’re just excited to play hockey.”

With BU snapping the Minutemen’s seven-game winning streak the day prior, UMass came out playing with an aggressive forecheck, eager to avenge the loss. UMass dominated early possession, but the Terriers were able to get into a rhythm after a few minutes.

Just over five minutes in, freshman forward Dylan Peterson scored his second goal in as many days with a quick top shelf shot, cutting in from the right side of the zone to give the Terriers the early 1-0 lead. The possession started with a precise lob clearance from freshman defenseman Thomas Jarman, but it was Cade Webber, another freshman blue liner, who set Peterson up with the primary assist for his first collegiate point.

Continuing their ongoing trend from yesterday, the two sides began trading penalties, with UMass defenseman Anthony Del Gaizo getting called for goaltender interference 10:28 into the period, and BU captain Logan Cockerill getting sent to the box for hooking just 31 seconds later.

A poorly executed line change after the end of Cockerill’s penalty allowed UMass to pounce on a loose puck, where UMass forward Cal Kiefiuck was able to tie the game 1-1 with 6:53 left in the period.

The two sides traded shots for the rest of the opening frame — the Terriers killing off another penalty in the process — and the two sides entered the first intermission locked at one goal apiece.

The Terriers opened the second period with a handful of scoring chances, but it was UMass that ended up striking next as UMass forward Carson Gicewicz continued his hot shooting streak. Gicewicz managed to sneak the puck over a sprawling Commesso to take a 2-1 lead 4:31 into the second period. Gicewicz now has 10 goals on just 31 shots, giving him an astounding 32.3 shooting percentage, the highest rate in Hockey East (minimum 10 shots).

UMass took over the momentum, stringing together multiple strong possessions in a row without letting BU get much offensive zone time. UMass continued to apply pressure, and another failed clearance from BU allowed the Minutemen several good chances with about five minutes left in the period. After two missed shots, forward Jake Gaudet caught Commesso scrambling and rifled the puck in to give UMass a 3-1 lead with 4:52 remaining in the second.

A holding call on Aaron Boehlinger gave the Terriers a chance to regain momentum with 3:19 to go, but they couldn’t capitalize. A few late chances in the offensive zone were snuffed by Murray, and the score remained 3-1 entering the third period.

“When we went into locker room between periods, there’s definitely believability. We’ve got a really good, resilient group. They’re really confident in their abilities,” O’Connell said.

The Terriers received a golden opportunity less than a minute into the third period when Gaudet threw a wild hit on BU’s Cockerill and was assessed a five-minute major penalty for roughing. Cockerill appeared shaken up by the hit and didn’t return to the ice.

O’Connell did not have any updates on Cockerill’s status. Despite netting a five-minute power play that resulted in a goal, O’Connell was disappointed that it cost the team its captain for the remainder of the game.

Just 15 seconds into the power play, Fensore swooped in from the blue line and blasted the puck past Murray to cut the deficit to 3-2. The Terriers got a few more looks on net, but a turnover led to a Matt Kessel breakaway, which drew a slashing penalty from Fensore, ending the man advantage with 2:17 left in Gaudet’s major.

“They took a penalty that put them in a spot to change the game, and we took advantage of it. We’re not gonna feel bad about it; we’re gonna feel good about our effort,” O’Connell said.

After a couple minutes of four-on-four play, the penalties expired and Luke Tuch intercepted a UMass clearance attempt, quickly centering the puck to a perfectly positioned Wilmer Skoog. Skoog sent a one-timer to the back of the net, tying the game 3-3 with 14 minutes left in regulation.

With the game tied and time running low, the possessions ebbed and flowed on either side, each team trying to gain the upper hand. Commesso and Murray continued to bail out their teams with impressive saves.

A controversial interference call against Fensore put UMass on the power play with just over 5:30 left in regulation, but UMass forward Garrett Wait was called for hooking 45 seconds later to wash out the man advantage. The two sides continued to exchange chances down the stretch as time expired, sending the game to overtime.

The two sides traded off possession time in BU’s first look at three-on-three overtime, but Zabaneh gained puck control in the defensive zone and connected with a streaking Farrance on the breakaway. The star defenseman caught Murray on a nifty fake and tucked the puck through the five-hole to win the game 4-3 and earn the weekend sweep.

O’Connell said the team has only practiced three-on-three play twice since September due to all the stoppages and the long breaks, but he touted Zabaneh as the best three-on-three player in practice.

“It’s fun,” O’Connell said of the new overtime format, “I’m sure it’s not fun when you don’t win, but when you win it’s fun, especially when we got some high level guys.”

Riding a three-game win streak, the Terriers are slated to take on Maine this weekend on Jan. 22 & 23, while the Minutemen will move on to face Providence.

15 thoughts on “Farrance lights lamp in overtime to give Men’s Hockey 4-3 win, series sweep over UMass”

  1. tremendous turnaround by the terriers after a poor opening game effort. the team has shown now early on they can strings wins together with consistent efforts. great 3rd period comeback against a very good team, and we saw for once it was the opposition that put themselves behind the 8 ball with foolish penalties. the terriers showed great determination to win without both amonte and cockerill, after the hit he took. the team seems also to have the necessary depth to survive injuries , lets hope the 2 return soon. ferrance’s OT goal was electrifying, he’s got to be one of the best players in college hockey. Its just too bad old WBA wasn’t filled to capacity to enjoy it like the old days. Now the team must maintain focus vs a umaine team which appears to be , at least from their record, not very strong. GO BU!

    • One thing to keep in mind for Maine is their power play has been pretty good to start the year (9-for-35 = 25.7%), and BU has been taking a lot of penalties, but both are winnable games.

  2. Farrance is by far the early favorite for 2021 Hobey Baker Memorial Award. And as for that major penalty against UMASS, Albie should drive home the message post-game … see … NEVER EVER DO THAT or there will be hell to pay!

    • Hey Glenn! O’Connell definitely wasn’t happy about the hit on Cockerill, said he “won’t speak much about that,” but I think it definitely lit a bit of a fire within the team after seeing their captain go down. Should learn more about his status within the next couple days.

      • Hey Joe! I’m sure he wasn’t happy at all. Just saying that Albie totally needs to drive home the point that UMass pretty much lost the game because of that dumb penalty they took and our guys should know that they could easily have that happen to them with a dumb third period penalty. Too often we have been on the other end of that momentum shift (because of a dumb penalty). BTW, sometime during this coming week, can you guys do an update as to the status of our injured or infected Terriers?

  3. joe nice coverage enjoyed the weekend we have a lot of talent and we have heart and a level of savvy confidence. When we are down I believe we can come back when we are up I believe we can close it out. Our injury bug mixed in with covid will make it tough on us but when guys like Witkowski can block shots late in close games and our talented Defenseman can rush end to end you know we will be fine. What I’m most excited about is I think this team is better then what they are playing as the season goes on and we have more practice time together we will get better. We can beat any team in hockey east this will be a good year go bu 🐾

    • Thanks Colin! You said it; this team is still figuring out how to play together and yet guys are contributing up and down the roster. If they don’t hit many more snags in postponements and long breaks, they have a real chance to stay hot and keep rolling on this win streak they have going.

  4. Great weeknd for our boys vs a tough umass team which has played double the games that we have . I like the way we are coming along after 4 games still work to be done of course but game to game we see a difference in everyones play, especially comesso looks alot more relaxed letting puck find him and great glove hand… The new look pp is pretty good would like to see more shots but movement is great … Given covid, injuries, etc line up keeps changing but it seems to be working .. I would just say we need to cut down on penalties for sure and for the defensemen a little less wrapping it around blindly … Talent is there and will get better for sure game by game … FARRANCE by far the honey baker finalist again .. The best I think in college hockey .. I also believe we are built for agganis not Walter Brown but we will adjust … Keep the negatives vibes ofd here if u can and YES I WILL TRY MY BEST.. BIG ROY OUT 😉

  5. Vito’s, Glenn’s, Roy’s, and Colin’s (many times stated though not here) assessments of Farrance being one of the best players in college hockey may be understatements. His obvious elite talents are only one factor in the equation that has, and will again, earn him recognition as a Baker finalist. His shouldering of leadership, especially when things are starting to unravel, is inspiring and contagious. Much like Eichel caused an elevation in the level of the play of his teammates, Farrance does likewise. An intangible, but priceless commodity.

    Although the season is still in its inception, I am very much impressed with the mixture of raw talent, and polished skill, throughout the lineup. So much so that I can see this team emerging as a dominant force; not just in HE, but in the NCAA.

    Colin’s notation of the shot blocking is worthy of repetition. The number of players who did so this weekend was indicative of a team that has a “will to win at all costs”.

    Final kudos: Agreeing with Big Roy, Commesso has been impressive in facing a plethora of shots, kept us in games, has the poise of a seasoned veteran, and is showing more of these qualities with each passing game. Movement patterns of the new PP structure are a vast improvement. Aggressive PK movements are also a welcome addition. PSD

  6. Let ‘s give the coach a big hug for the job he has done. With the crazy restrictions and lack of games he has put out an outstanding team.
    Should have at least limited attendance at WB. Other sport venues allow it.
    Shame we may not have the chance at National Title as I believe this team has something special. Forwards and FARRANCE five this team something special.

        • Well I think if that was going to be an issue, it wouldn’t last more than a few weeks. The way that the overwhelming majority of teams gets into the Hockey East playoffs, they will control their own fate. Besides, they should be in great shape way before March.

  7. hey Joe
    can you find out what is going on with Amonte and cockerill in terms of their injuries? could you let us know how long they will be out?

    thank you

  8. It’s been years since I’ve been this optimistic for BU hockey & it feels really good.

    In previous years, the 2nd & 3rd lines did not create consistent offensive opportunities, but that does not look like a problem this year. This offensive depth makes the game sooooooo much more enjoyable to watch compared to previous teams that at times lacked offense when their talented 1st line was off the ice.

    I really hope we get to see this team at 100% health because not only are #3 Amonte & #9 Cockerill impact players, but I also saw #2 McCarthy & #28 Phillips both made plays last year that show they can contribute at the D1 level.

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