The Boston University Men’s Hockey team (1-2) fell to the Sacred Heart Pioneers (1-2) in a deflating and penalty-ridden game at Agganis Arena in Boston on Friday night. After a 5-1 loss to the University of Connecticut last week, the Terriers hoped to improve their record, but a last second goal put the Terriers back below 50%.
“It’s obviously a really frustrating end, losing late,” head coach Albie O’Connell said after the game. “We won the special teams game. We won the faceoff game, but we didn’t win the game. So I think we put ourselves in a spot to get tired. I thought that some of the D had to play a lot of minutes, but I liked our competitive spirit. I like how hard we played.”
The Terriers started off their game in a similar manner to their Saturday evening loss to the University of Connecticut with undisciplined play and nine minutes of penalties in the first period alone. The penalty-ridden first period began just over two minutes into the game when junior forward Wilmer Skoog was sent to the box for hooking. Sacred Heart was able to establish a pretty dominant tone off of the first penalty, cycling pucks and creating scoring chances but sophomore goaltender Drew Commesso remained a brick wall in net, stopping 11 shots in the first.
After making it through the first kill, the Terriers and Pioneers traded opportunities with some seamless entries into the offensive zone by junior forward Matt Brown, but the score remained zero-all. After a few miscommunications, graduate transfer forward Max Kaufman took Skoog’s place in the box with a penalty of his own for tripping at 7:30.
After a few more minutes of solid cycling by the Pioneers, junior forward Markus Boguslavsky put the Terriers back in the sin bin for hitting from behind. Boguslavsky’s hit resulted in an unnecessary five-minute major as well as a game misconduct, keeping him from participating in the rematch against the Pioneers on October 16.
The first period proved physical with consistent hits by junior forwards Robert Mastrosimone and Sam Stevens, but both teams failed to complete their plays and net any pucks throughout the first.
Following a flat first 20, whether as a result of the score or of a locker room pep talk, BU came out with a much higher level of compete to start the second period.
“I thought Vlasic was terrific tonight. I thought him, “Galley” [Ty Gallagher], and Fensore. That school had a good game. I thought our penalty kill in general, did a really good job,” O’Connell said.
An early penalty on Sacred Heart’s Tim Clifton put the Terriers up a player in the first three minutes, giving the Terriers the power play they needed to crack open the scoring at 4:30 of the second period. Junior defenseman Domenick Fensore received a slick feed from juniors Ethan Phillips and Skoog to net the Terrier’s first goal of the night from between the circles.
1:45 later, the Pioneers were able to tie it up when junior winger Braeden Tuck picked up a rebounded shot from senior forward Austin Magera and sniped the puck right past Commesso’s shoulder. The even-strength goal tied the game at two. Sophomore forward Nick Zabaneh saw a few opportunities from the crease, but Pioneer netminder Justin Robbins was able to keep the Terrier scoring chances to a minimum.
At 10:11 of the second period, the Terriers went back on the powerplay when SHU’s junior blueliner Logan Britt received two minutes in the box for an interference. Despite the man-advantage, the shots remained minimal and the score was unchanged. Two minutes after the Britt penalty, freshman forward Tyler Boucher was sent to the Terrier penalty box for a nasty crosscheck against a Sacred Heart forward. In a back-and-forth penalty exchange, neither team scored and the game stayed one-all.
For a final exchange in the second period, BU’s Stevens and Sacred Heart’s sophomore defenseman Dante Fantauzzi each spent time in the box for charging and interference, respectively. Just one minute after the penalties expired, Mastrosimone took the puck to the net, netting a sleek goal from a tough angle at the bottom of the left circle. His second goal of the season gave the Terriers a 2-1 lead they would maintain for almost the remainder of the game.
Throughout the three periods of play, Commesso stayed solid in net, making critical saves through heavy screens in front of the crease. Between Commesso’s impressive play and some major hits by the Terrier’s big bodies, BU was able to turn the tide in favor of the home team with a more aggressive-style of play.
The Terriers began the third with four players due to a remaining 1:35 on freshman forward Tristan Amonte’s tripping penalty. Following the penalty kill, the game remained even with 14 and 15 shots for the Pioneers and Terriers each. The
At 12:59 of the third, Sacred Heart again evened the scoring with an even strength goal from Magera. This would be the first goal and third point for the senior in three games. Now tied at two with seven minutes to go, both teams produced plenty of disciplined hockey, free from penalties or any major hits.
Despite solid shot attempts from Fensore and Mastrosimone, both teams stayed locked on producing offensive chances until assistant captain and senior Ryan Steele broke the silence at 19:47. Graduate forward Dakota Raabe’s rap around attempt turned into a perfect scoring chance from right in front of the net in a shot Commesso couldn’t get to. The late third-period goal would prove to be the game-winner for the Pioneers, as the Terrier’s couldn’t capitalize on the final 13 seconds.
“I know there’s some positives, but at the end of it all, we were so eager to move on.”
The Terriers and Pioneers will meet again at Agganis Arena tomorrow night at 7pm with updates to come on twitter @BOSHockeyBlog and on Instagram at Boston.Hockey.Blog