Following their overtime win yesterday, the Boston University men’s ice hockey team (5-1-0) extended their winning streak to five games with a blowout 5-1 victory over the University of Maine’s Black Bears (2-6-2). With less than 24 hours between this weekend’s matches, the Terriers fought fatigue and garnered an impressive 5 points.
Head Coach Albie O’Connell was all smiles in the post game press conference about his team’s performance this weekend.
“The guys are really committed to winning and committed to each other. We’ve got a good thing going right now so just pretty excited about where we are at,” O’Connell said.
This afternoon marked graduate student and forward Max Kaufman’s 100th collegiate game after recently acquiring the assistant captain title. In an interview between the first and second period, Kaufman said his team wanted to start the game off more aggressive and establish an offensive zone presence. After a sloppy first couple minutes, the squad found their footing and did just that.
BU’s fourth line ended up on the ice with Maine’s physical and dynamic first line in the opening minutes, but showed no trepidation, speaking to the depth and confidence this Terrier team has.
Freshman forward Dylan Peterson opened up the scoring for his team for the third time this season 6:20 into the first. With assists from freshman forward Nick Zabaneh and senior defenseman David Farrance, Peterson got BU on the board off a beautiful tic-tac-toe play, and a shot similar to his last two goals.
Maine planted men in front of Commesso throughout the first, trying to take away his eyes but it didn’t seem to matter––the freshman netminder stayed calm and collected. He displayed controlled saves, giving up fewer rebound opportunities than he has in past games. The Terriers’ defense also impressed once again with the team averaging 18.3 blocks a game to the Black Bear’s 10.
Sophomore defenseman Case McCarthy, who made his season debut in yesterday’s game, got called for an interference penalty with 5:41 left in the period. Maine failed to capitalize on this man-advantage after going 0-5 on the power play yesterday afternoon.
BU went back on the penalty kill 33 seconds before the buzzer concluded the first period. Zabaneh was unable to get on the ice to join his linemates because sophomore forward Sam Stevens stayed on. Stevens soon after laid out a heavy hit near the boards that landed him in the box.
Maine started the second with 1:28 left on the power play, but had no offensive production. We got some 4-on-4 hockey with penalties from BU sophomore forward Jamie Armstrong and Black Bear freshman forward Villeneuve-Houle 2:50 into the second.
During that 4-on-4 play, senior defenseman JD Greenway had a huge hit on sophomore forward Robert Mastrosimone in the middle of the ice. The hit was questioned for a five minute major, but ended up just being 2 minutes.
The Terrier’s power play was 4-on-3 for just a moment, but once back to 4-on-5, sophomore forward Jay O’Brien scored off a blast from just above the face-off circle to give BU a 2-0 lead.
At 13:13, Peterson––number 13––took a checking penalty which his team killed off, making it their 15th kill in a row with no goals allowed at that point in the game.
The second held some more scattered penalties but had an exciting finish when Mastrosimone got his second goal of the weekend to give the Terriers a bigger cushion going into the third. Mastrosimone flew past a Maine defender, stripping him of the puck, and flipping it shoulder side and into the back of the net.
But the scoring didn’t stop there. In BU’s most offensive game of the season, freshman forward Luke Tuch netted a wrister off a 3-on-1 less than a minute into the last period of play. There was no hesitation in his shot, showing the confidence these first year players have gained. Farrance’s assist on the goal gave him his third point of the game.
The Black Bears came out with a scrappy third period, driven by frustration, which resulted in a collection of penalties throughout the last twenty minutes. After getting called for a minor penalty, senior forward Eduards Tralmaks also earned a 10 minute major for throwing his stick. This undisciplined play did little to help Maine’s cause.
BU demonstrated true character amidst the physical period; they did not let themselves take bad penalties in response to the Black Bear’s pressure.
“I thought our guys were composed. We talked about before the game not yapping with the officials and I thought they did a really good job of keeping their cool all game,” O’Connell said.
Jake Witowski found himself in the box with less than five minutes in the game. Maine broke Commesso’s chances of his first collegiate shut out with a wrap around goal from junior forward Adam Dawe that was reviewed, but ultimately rewarded to the team.
With the Blackbear’s net empty and three minutes left in the competition, Jay O’Brien was able to net his second of the game, adding a tally for BU and leaving the score at 5-1 at the end of the third.
The Terrier’s had one of––if not their best––performances of the season and have really found their team chemistry in the last two weekend series. Hockey East schedules are now being updated weekly, so BU will have to wait to see who their next opponent will be. Updates to come on Twitter @BOSHockeyBlog.