In a Saturday night battle, the No. 13 Boston University Terriers (8-2-0) were in Gutterson Fieldhouse for the second straight evening to take on the University of Vermont Catamounts (1-7-2). After potting five goals, including a hat trick from transfer forward Jay O’Brien, and getting solid play from freshman goaltender Vinny Duplessis, BU completed the road weekend sweep over UVM with a 5-1 victory.
After the Terriers hemmed the Catamounts in their zone the first couple of shifts, UVM responded with an attack of their own. Freshman forward Dovar Tinling, youngest in NCAA hockey at just 17, got the Catamounts on the board with his first collegiate score 2:28 into the contest. Senior forward Bryce Misley and defenseman junior Carter Long got on the score sheet with the assists.
BU did not waver and was immediately looking for the equalizer. Not even two minutes later, the Terrier first line went to work and started pressuring the Catamounts in their own zone.
Senior forward, and former Catamount, Max Kaufman found captain Logan Cockerill open near the right circle. Cockerill took the ice that was in front of him and creeped closer to the goal. He noticed the lone sophomore near the goal-mouth, O’Brien, in a prime scoring area. On a perfect feed, O’Brien buried the opportunity to tie the game at 1-1 3:55 into the opening period.
“Our guys were resilient,” BU head coach Albie O’Connell said postgame. “I thought we did a better job of attacking and shooting the puck. In all three zones, I thought we played really well.”
With under five minutes remaining in the first period, O’Brien was not done making plays. He picked Long’s pocket near UVM’s blue line and then busted into the Catamount’s zone. The forward then snapped a shot from inside the right circle. The attempt appeared to catch goaltender Tyler Harmon by surprise, as the puck found a way to leak past the senior and into the back of the net.
With just over a minute to go, the Terriers were on a search for more goals. Freshman defender Cade Webber, who was back in the lineup after sitting out for a one game suspension, stepped up near the red-line and delivered a pass to Jamie Armstrong. The sophomore forward then whipped a pass to forward Matthew Quercia. The feed sprung BU into an odd man rush and the junior snapped home a score to extend the Terrier’s lead to 3-1.
After such a defensive battle the night before, with BU prevailing 1-0, a four goal first period output was quite the change of pace.
During the second period, the Terrier defense stymied the Catamount’s attack. Even when sophomore defenseman Alex Vlasic, who has been playing terrific hockey with David Farrance out of the lineup, took a penalty 4:46 into the period, UVM could not find an offensive spark.
On the other bench, one Terrier excelled in a new opportunity to show off his offensive arsenal. O’Connell had bumped sophomore Robert Mastrosimone up to the second line prior to the contest, which moved freshman Dylan Peterson to the third group of forwards. Mastrosimone was effective now skating now with sophomore Wilmer Skoog and freshman Luke Tuch.
The line’s passing ability was on full display during the middle of the second period. Mastrosimone was able to coral a loose puck and simultaneously walk UVM’s blue-line to keep the play onsides. He then laid a pass to his left that allowed Tuch to gain speed before skating into the puck. Tuch then snapped a pass to Skoog, who was streaking down the slot. The sophomore then drilled a shot past Harmon to balloon BU’s lead to 4-1.
It is clear that Skoog and Tuch have a good amount of chemistry. It will be interesting to see if Mastrosimone can keep pace and stay on the second Terrier line.
BU would head into the second intermission still leading by three. Speaking of that number, O’Brien was searching for his third score of the contest when the final period got underway.
A rugby scrum near the UVM bench left four Catamounts behind the play. Once O’Brien got control of the puck, he was all alone in front of Harmon. After a nifty stick handling display, he fired an attempt on net. The puck squirted past the goaltender and was sliding on the goal-line. O’Brien swatted it home for good measure, assuring he collected his third score of the evening. While it may have squeaked in on its own, the sophomore did not take any chances with a hat trick on the line.
While the Terriers were done scoring for the evening, they were not done competing. BU did a great job of limiting the amount of time UVM spent in their offensive zone. When the Catamounts did find themselves there, the Terriers limited their quality scoring chances.
Duplessis put together a solid effort in between the pipes. After only recording two saves in the first, he stifled 14 UVM shots over the next two periods. He has now allowed two goals in his first three appearances donning the scarlet and white.
“He was poised throughout the entire weekend,” O’Connell said. “He made some huge saves last night. He was good. He’s poised, he’s confident. Very excited for him.”
This was the first time this season BU played two consecutive road games. For last night’s matchup, the Terriers made the over three hour bus ride to Vermont the day of the game. O’Connell said he believed the team came to the rink with more focus and energy the second game of the series.
The Terriers next matchup will be announced by Hockey East on Tuesday. Follow @BOShockeyblog on Twitter for updates and coverage of Boston University Men’s and Women’s hockey teams.