Men’s Hockey fails to show up for home opener

All opinions are my own.

The Boston University men’s hockey team (1-1-0) returned to Comm Ave yesterday evening for the first game hosted at Agganis Arena in 581 days. Coming off a 2-1 victory in Hartford the night before, the squad looked for the weekend sweep against the University of Connecticut Huskies (2-1-0) but instead got dominated for most of the competition in a 5-1 loss. 

“It’s tough to know where to begin. We talked 24 hours ago about how excited we were about the win and the way we played, and it was a complete 180,” head coach Albie O’Connell said in the post game press conference. “We play in a hard league, UConn’s a really good team––probably one of the best teams in the league––and we played like we thought it was going to be easy.”

No doubt boosted by the fans in the crowd and an emotional 100-year-anniversary video, the Terriers came out with an energy that soon dwindled as the game progressed. The ice didn’t fully begin to tilt in favor of the opponents until the middle frame as the first period ended at 1-1. However, BU never showed a full tenacity to win––or to just make a solid play. 

UConn got on the board first at 9:52 with a goal from senior forward Marc Gatcomb who tapped a cross crease pass from fellow senior forward Jachym Kondelik past sophomore goaltender Drew Commesso. The Terriers trailed first in Friday’s game too, playing from behind the Huskies for a majority of the series. 

BU found the equalizer from transfer student and junior forward Matt Brown who joined the Terriers this season after playing with UMass Lowell for two years. Senior defenseman Joseph Campelito’s original shot had a loose rebound which Brown was able to sauce past the goal line and into the empty net at 9:52. This was his first goal of the season, and as a Terrier. 

Brown’s ability to gel with his line and his team while also leading by example on the ice so early in the season was perhaps one of the small positives the group can take from the night. 

“He had a lot of energy, he had a lot of chances. He probably could’ve scored three or four. It was exciting to see him get some confidence with that goal and break out––he moved his feet a lot better tonight than he did last night,” O’Connell said of Brown’s play.  

The scoring stopped there for the home team for the rest of the night as the Huskies took over the game for the remaining 40 minutes. UConn regained the lead less than a minute into the middle frame after senior forward Jonny Evans was left open on the right side and slapped one home for a 2-1 advantage. 

The Huskies simply outplayed BU as they looked for a tally to even the score. UConn cycled the Terriers in the offensive zone––it almost looked like they were using BU as practice dummies to run through their plays. The Terriers could barely get it past the blue line as the middle was completely clogged by their opponents and they were getting pushed off of pucks often and easily.  

“It’s just really sad for the people who came out to watch the team play tonight,” O’Connell said. “Lack of urgency, lack of understanding the situation––we hadn’t been in Agganis for four or 500 days, and we’ve got a packed crowd––it just wasn’t good enough, it’s not going to be good enough.” 

Sophomore forward Ryan Tverberg took advantage of the flatness of BU’s game and capitalized on an offensive zone turnover. He blew past all the Terrier defensemen and dished the puck from his backhand to forehand to then tuck it into the back of the net at 9:46. 

The scarlet and white continued to give up a handful of odd man rushes and couldn’t put together a successful connecting pass without a Husky getting in the way. It was sloppy pond hockey that frustrated the group and fans alike. Things got a bit more scrappy towards the end of the second with after-the-whistle hits and tussles on the boards––if they couldn’t find a way to score, at least they were being physical. 

The last 20 minutes of play were rattled with penalties and consistent poor play. Freshman forward Tyler Boucher, freshman defenseman Ty Gallagher, sophomore forward Nick Zabaneh, and junior defenseman Alex Vlasic all spent time in the sin bin throughout the third period while UConn continued to score.

“We played like a bunch of boys, they played like a bunch of men,” O’Connell said of his squad’s performance. 

Tverberg got his second of the game and third of the season with a wonky goal that trickled past Commesso and bounced off the far goal post and in. Now 4-1 at 5:55, there was a pretty deflating tone that encapsulated Agganis and the players on the BU bench. 

The Huskies struck once more in the second half of the third to reach the final 5-1 score. Junior defenseman Carter Berger sniped the puck from just above the right circle, putting salt in the wound of what had already been a tough night. 

Following this goal, O’Connell pulled Commesso from between the pipes and gave sophomore netminder Vinny Duplessis some ice time. The head coach made it clear that he was in no way disappointed in his starter’s play, he just wanted to give him a break from the mental and physical strain of the competition.  

“Commesso was outstanding even giving up five––it could’ve been 10,” O’Connell said. “He gave us everything he could.”

The final minutes ticked away to close out a game BU probably hopes to forget. The Terriers will look to redeem themselves next weekend in their home series against Sacred Heart University. They’ll be given two opportunities to garner a win on Agganis ice, starting on Friday at 7:30p.m. and then Saturday at 7:00p.m. As usual, we’ll be live tweeting the games on Twitter @BOShockeyblog and will have content on Instagram @boston.hockey.blog throughout the week.

26 thoughts on “Men’s Hockey fails to show up for home opener”

  1. Again too many of our guys thinking ahead to their pro careers.
    Looking at the roster and seeing only three goals in two games one wonders what is going on here.
    We have seen this lack of effort before. We have a half a team that did not play. Play all of those on the bench this week to show that this is not how we play BU Hockey.

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  2. Disgraceful. The mind-boggling lack of effort, discipline and sound decision making we witnessed was an insult to any man who ever put on that uniform and played his heart out. “This cannot be a team of common men,” said Herb Brooks. Which is a great point. But in this case you first need to be a man. Last night it was boys vs. men. I have a much longer version of this post but let’s see how they respond with SH before unleashing some real talk critiques. Lol. I will say this: if I were Albie, that team would have been back on the ice as soon as the crowd had cleared Agganis. God willing, the staff will start holding the team and themselves accountable before its too late.

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  3. My remarks will be quick I’m getting ready for game 3 but I must say things like last night do happen in sports . We were manhandled and had no resemblance to the team that played the night before. One thing that concerns me is the way the team was frustrated with each other and the individual play I saw. I’m hoping and have full confidence the coaching staff will address this and it might work out to being a useful lesson for later on in the season.

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  4. Waited two years almost to see a game at Agannis and what a disappointment. The Terriers really seemed intimidated by a bigger aggressive team determined to make amends vs the team it lost againstthe night before at home. Failing to respond adequately to the physical beating it was suffering BU seemed to play scared at times and allowed UCONN to dominate the play falling behind at one point 25-12 in SOG. The third goal in particular was an inexcusable mistake by Fensore on a solo rush running into trouble and giving up the puck leading to an easy breakaway goal for UCONN. The Terriers started to turn the territorial advantage around toward the end of second period with the help of PP opportunities but where was Albie earlier in the period wheb the Terriers were completely passive. Why not call a time out at that stage?, and give them an earfull to WAKE UP! JP surely would have done it. I just hope that the team doesn’t have a passive disposition reflecting the attitude of their coach

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  5. Jeckel and Hyde, from encouraging performance to painful embarrassment. SOCC, Mark, Colin, and Vito covered the obvious very well, as did Albie in his post-game interview. I too was disappointed that a “message sending time out” was not called when we began leaking oil. This is D-1 men, every game requires 100% effort from every player; especially so when an opponent is looking for redemption. Felt bad for Commesso – hung out to dry by most players, especially defense. Skill is only productive when it is fortified by hard work and determination. Hope this was a humbling wake-up call. PSD

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  6. Hard hitting piece that, appropriately, made no effort to sugarcoat or provide excuses for a terrible effort. Wake-up call. Move past it but do not forget it. You are BU Hockey. Act like it. Great use of “sauce” btw.

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    • Coach did not have skates on . Scotty Bowman could have been behind bench was not the coaching. It was poor play plain and simple

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  7. I’m sorry but “poor play plain and simple” is an oversimplification. This is UConn game is not an isolated incident. Lack of effort, discipline and the basic desire to win has been a persistent, recurring theme over the last few years. The St. Cloud game in the tournament last year was the alarm bell and the smoking gun that a course correction was needed. After last night, it’s obvious this cultural issue is still going unaddressed and that ABSOLUTELY IS on the coaches. Keep doing the same thing the same way and expect a different result—that’s the definition of insanity as the saying goes. But that’s what we’re seeing. Calling last night just a bad night—sorry but that’s crazy talk.

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  8. Absolute embarrassment, plain and simple. Something has to change with this program. Good showing of students in the stands half of which will never come back after that debacle. This is supposed to be one of the best college hockey programs in the country and it’s just painful to watch the lack of hustle, lack of hitting, pitiful passing.
    Off the ice the price of everything at the rink is out of control. The new parking system is ridiculous, not letting older patrons use the elevators unless they are premium seat holders is just stupid. The food at the concessions is often stale or cold and the service is slower than slow.
    I have had my seats for over 40 years now and it’s just not fun anymore!!! Done griping for now.

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  9. Albie seems to be a nice fellah . . . alas, unable to command any respect. Take last night’s latest episode, no effort and no adjustment to the easy manner, in which UConn scored all of its goals. If this is the level to which 100 years of B. U. Hockey has devolved, it’s time to clean house and start over w/ Kelley/Parker, Boston University hockey.

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  10. I had a feeling after a bad game in which the team did not perform well we would go after the coach and if that’s the route you want to go that’s fine. I have always said I would not go after a player personally because they are amateurs but a coach is paid and he is fair game . I will just say because he is fair game does not make it right. Albie has poured his heart into this program during the pandemic when there was a hiring freeze he alone ran the hockey program. He was a former captain believe me coach Parker would have taken that C away from him right away if he did not deserve it or was not a good leader . I have been following BU hockey for many years i remember many years where a BU team doesn’t show up for a game. Coach Parker the best coach in the game was not blamed for the loss. This team and every other college team is comprised of young kids sometimes the game just gets away from you. It even happens in professional sports. You don’t just wake up one morning and say I want to coach BU hockey if that was the case I would be on my 36 year behind the bench. You have to prove yourself and that’s what coach OConnell has done over the years I believe he deserves the respect of the fans and I know he has the respect of his players. Loyalty goes a long way in my book.
    I also want to touch on the BU culture i think it’s unfair for a fan who is not around the team to talk about a culture they don’t know about. In fairness I’m not around the team all the time but I certainly see many of them all summer long I know how hard they work not only in hockey but in school I may be missing something but I don’t see a culture problem with this team. I can’t say how proud I am of this group as a BU fan of how hard they have worked this past summer I’m so impressed of how great these kids are. They represent the university in the highest light.
    It’s hard for me to predict where this season will go we are two games in but for fans to go after the coach and team after two games sounds like a agenda issue outside of hockey. For me it’s not political the only thing I want is for BU hockey to succeed. Since I was a little kid I have been the ultimate BU fan I’m often the one on this blog being positive when everyone else is negative. I’m sure some of the responses to this post will attack me backing this coaching staff and this team but I don’t care I relish the opportunity to stand up for my hockey program.

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      • Absolutely son of cesar I wear it like a badge of honor. This is the bu hockey blog I would think being a friend of the program is a good thing. I can tell you this just because I’m a friend of the program does not mean I can’t think independently I admit that game Saturday was awful but I’m not ready to give up on team or coach just yet. It also does not mean I agree with every decision that has been made leading up to this year but it’s not my place as a fan to question it on this blog. I have full faith this ship will be put back on course we have great coaches and great captains as I said before this is not the first time a team has layed a stinker in home opener we will see what happens next weekend. Go bu

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    • I think you’re in denial. Sometimes reality is negative and you just have to face it to improve. That requires mental toughness, which appears to be in short supply with this club. I hope they prove me wrong. In the meantime, denial just perpetuates the issue.

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  11. Now it’s on to Sacred Heart. That should do us a world of good. Our out of conference schedule is so weak and boring. Not one team made the NCAA tournament last year .In the past you could always look forward to 3 or 4 high end teams coming to Agganis. Why has that changed. I guess someone thinks a win over Sacred Heart is better then a loss to Michigan.
    What ever happened to being the best meant playing the best

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    • So true. Atlantic teams shouldn’t play HE teams except for those exhibition warmups. Winning against SH accomplishes very little unless we outscore them 20-0 over two games. Good luck with that after what we saw against UConn.

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      • I’m not thrilled with our out of conference teams but Covid did a number on many teams. Your schedule is fine on a contract for instance if we go to Denver then Denver comes here the following year. Because of covid teams were able to get out of there contracts. Alaska was scheduled to come here they bailed so we got Sacred heart . Everyone on here is so quick to criticize the coach but he should be getting praise during the hiring freeze he wore all the hats for all the departments. I agree for pairwise you want some iron but we play in hockey East half our teams are nationally ranked if we win our games we won’t have to worry

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  12. Colin I don t think so.
    All the high end teams would come east and play BU and BC. Now they come out east and play BC and PC or NU. Not a COVID thing . Just like the tournament at Duluth this weekend we were in it and then pulled out. That is how PC got in. Guess Sacred Heart was more appealing

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    • This weekend we were playing Alaska at home they pulled out . I would bet next year we travel to more appealing places. I don’t really care I’m flying out to Northern Michigan and if they were playing in Siberia I would fly out and have a blast go bu 🐾

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  13. Colin

    It’s not about traveling it’s about playing high end teams. Alaska or Sacred Heart are both bottom feeders. They
    do nothing for you in the pairwise or revenue at the door.

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    • Ozzie I would imagine your Norte Dames Denver’s Michigan Minnesota teams filled there schedules months ago. We filled this spot weeks ago. I’m just glad we found a opponent. Sacred heart is no iron but they are a division 1 team . You have to play the team your playing. I would think next year’s schedule would have some top teams on it.

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  14. The more goals my team wins by, the better the game it was. So, I love playing teams like SHU and Alaska! I also would much rather watch us play new teams or teams we don’t often play. That makes it especially appealing to me when I consider which games to watch in person.

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