Terriers take first step forward in offensive shootout against Merrimack

By James Garrison

The Boston University men’s hockey team (3-3-0, 2-2-0 Hockey East) returned home to Agganis Arena this Saturday for a rematch against the Merrimack College Warriors (3-3-0, 1-2-0 Hockey East) for the second of a home-and-home series this weekend. After a disappointing loss on Friday night to the Warriors, the Terriers were looking to salvage a series split for the third week in a row. 

The Terriers were pleased to welcome back senior assistant captain Ty Amonte to the lineup for his first game of the season tonight. Amonte scored the opening goal for the Terriers, his first of the season, providing a much-needed spark on and off the ice. 

“Getting him injected back in the lineup was huge for the team. He had a big, you know, kind of wild, I wouldn’t wanna say speech, but amped up lineup-yell before the game, and the guys kind of fed off of his energy,” head coach Albie O’Connell commented in his post-game press conference. 

As the team leader in terms of points, junior defenseman Domenick Fensore, was named Hockey East Defender of the Week October 18, and finished the game with three shots on net and a +2 plus/minus Saturday night. 

After the Terrier’s 3-2 loss Friday night, O’Connell was “frustrated with our lack of, you know, attack. Our lack of want to score and drive to score.” The Terriers were night and day in that department right from puck drop, with their offensive mentality quite apparent. 

“We came out with a kind of attack-mentality of just playing the right way, getting the puck in behind their D, getting shots on net, and that’s how we kind of grew that lead,” O’Connell commented. 

While eight shots in the first period may not have seemed to be an overwhelming output by the Terriers, they capitalized on their opportunities and scored four goals on those eight shots in the first period alone. Sophomore forward Dylan Peterson put home two of the Terrier’s four first-period goals, with Robert Mastrosimone and Ty Amonte putting home one tally each. 

It was a full 200-foot effort for the Terriers in the first, bringing an intensity that had been absent throughout much of the season so far and playing their most complete period yet. The Terriers headed to the locker room up 4-1 after a highly energetic period. 

Going into the game, an area of the Terriers game that wasn’t under scrutiny was their penalty kill – a perfect nineteen for nineteen through five game. Of the Warriors’ six goals though, three of them came on the power play. Merrimack finished the game three for seven on the power play Saturday night, accounting for half of their goals.

Despite chippy play on both sides, the Terriers would only draw one penalty after the first period, while Merrimack was granted five. As the game progressed and the offense continued to pile on for both sides, so did the physicality and the extra-curricular activities after the whistle. 

“Penalties, we’re gonna have to be a little more disciplined, for sure,” O’Connell said. “We just gotta be a little smarter away from the puck.” The overall physicality and chippiness of the game Friday night definitely carried over into Saturday, especially in the third period. 

Despite giving up two goals in the second, BU was able to stay even with the Warriors by putting up two of their own. Junior forward Wilmer Skoog scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season and third goal in two games at the 8:15 mark, followed by Peterson securing a hat-trick with just ten seconds left in the period to put the Terriers up 6-3. 

Coach O’Connell praised Peterson, saying that he “had a huge bounce-back game, because he was one of those guys who had many opportunities to shoot.” Peterson scored his first three goals of the season Saturday night, quickly tying a career-high for goals in college hockey. 

“We’ve had some split weekends for sure, and this weekend was huge for us. Coming off of this big win, I think we’re going to move forward and we’re gonna roll through the next couple of weekends and we can go on a little bit of a streak here. So, I’m excited to see what happens,” Peterson said post-game after being asked about the momentum a win like this could provide. 

The third period did not slow down in terms of goal scoring, with Merrimack outscoring BU 3-2 in the third. Freshman forward Brian Carrabes and sophomore forward Nick Zabaneh both scored their first-ever goals in college hockey and their first goals in scarlet and white. 

Merrimack defenseman Zach Vinnell scored twice in the third period- at 9:35 and 18:53- to complete the hat-trick for the junior. Vinnell has already tied his season-high for goals at three and already has four points in six games to start the year off. 

Despite the final being a difference of only two goals, the Terriers controlled the play in a game that seemed less close than the final score showed. Terrier goaltender Drew Commesso was not as sharp as he had been in previous games like Friday night in Merrimack, likely due to his back-to-back starts, but he secured the win nonetheless.

It was a night-and-day difference for the Terriers in terms of energy and finding that ‘other gear’ that they had struggled to find in the first five games of the season. A sense of urgency was palpable from the puck drop and the Terriers proved in the first period that they can dominate opponents like Merrimack and look like the top-ten ranked team that they should be. 

The Terriers will return to action next Friday night at Agganis Arena in Boston, Massachusetts to take on the UMass Lowell Riverhawks for the first of a home-and-home series, with coverage on Twitter @BOSHockeyBlog and on Instagram @Boston.Hockey.Blog.

11 thoughts on “Terriers take first step forward in offensive shootout against Merrimack”

  1. Nice article Caroline. Great effort both games nice having Ty back when we get healthy we will be hard to play against. Coach last night said we made mental mistakes. I think we made errors both nights we can not give up six goals too often and expect to win. We can’t take these undisciplined penalties. I know many will disagree with me but I see some serious potential for this team for stretches tonight we dominated. We put ourselves in unfortunate situations due to unnecessary penalties and puck watching. Tonight’s offense was buzzing BU will go on a nice little streak before long.

  2. I just listened to coaches post game interview not surprisingly I agree with him. BU did have a buzz going in the offensive zone. I must say I want more shots and I think we should have shot more then we did. Coach referenced east/west north/south passing. I loved the cycling and the drive to the net. I did see what I refer to as “drive by’s ” by our forwards we need to stop in front of net and stop with stick on the ice. It’s hard to get a rebound when your not square to puck and your stick is up at your waist. We used our points well last night but our D needs to walk into slot or move parallel to get defenders to move remember it’s easier to cover a target that’s not moving. If we get movement up high it will open things up down low and provide better shooting lanes.
    Defensively we need to be better. Our breakout last night was fantastic I can’t say how great it is that we have Dom Fensore he is the most underrated player in hockey east he moves the puck up ice so fast and wears teams down. Vlasic webber Gallagher Complito Mccarthy all played well. In my opinion we have serious problems defending down low I liked our D playing physical down low but we just collapse as a team and watch then try to react at this level if you do that you go to the box or the puck goes in. A friend of mine said last night a lot of Merrimack goals were lucky rebounds that landed right on there sticks it’s not luck if your in the right place we need to defend better if we do that we protect Drew and we cut out the penalties. This team is improving I know many on the blog disagree with me but I can see improvements and I see the effort being put forth next week we will need to be even better. Go BU 🐾

  3. Team showed the O talent they have. However lack of discipline going forward could hurt. Still worried about D. Do we have it there ?

  4. Spot on analysis Colin, and SOCC our considerable talent was, indeed, on display. We have the talent, speed, and ability to beat anyone on any given night. Hopefully, last night was the beginning of a run; wherein those attributes will be permanently on display. However, as you also both noted, we are in need of a bit more discipline. Penalties were still a problem this weekend, and those taken after the whistle especially so.

    Great to see 33 (formerly 3) back, who immediately starting the scoring off. He has been missed. I could distribute accolades, but the list would be all inclusive. I am a believer in the effect of physical play deterring an opponent’s ability to free-wheel, and even our smaller forwards were hitting everything in sight. Speaking of physical play, 19 is becoming a favorite of mine – just needs a slight touch of anger management. Everyone played well, and the SOG’s refreshing. One exception, as Colin noted, a scoring opportunity was unexploited because of a stick not being on the ice to receive a back door pass.

    Mike S. (always astute) remarked that it was great to have had perhaps our most exciting and entertaining game before such a large group of patrons, parents, and friends.

    I went home very happy and slept well. Thanks men! PSD

  5. That was like a 1970s or 1980s ECAC game with a lot of offense and only a hint of defense.

    BU is lacking a veteran D-Man to play a lot of minutes and settle things down, like Gilroy or Grizz.

    Hopefully they can break this win one-lose one cycle moving ahead but they’ll need to tighten up on the back end for that to happen. Looks like it will be a wild ride for a while.

    Nice to see a crowd turnout of over 5k last night.

  6. Good win. Let’s settle down with the victory laps though. This team is 3 and 3 against UC, SH and Merrimack. +1 in goal differential over a weekend vs. unranked team isn’t exactly worthy of a confetti fight. Defense still looks generally flabby and unconcerned with moving their feet to create a perimeter and thwart the opposing cycle game. String together a few w’s against teams not in the lower third of D1 and report back. Till then, back to work boys.

  7. I don’t think our defensive issues are entirely on our D . We have solid D. Our issues are down low too much puck watching and not picking up open guy that’s as much on forwards as D

  8. It was a good win in front of a great crowd for a Merrimack game. I agree with Mark Myword when it comes to the competition we have faced so far. Way to many stupid penalties and way to many ticky tac calls by the Officials. This isn’t basketball, let them play a little.

    • Dan absolutely agree on the letting them play and couple that with the unnecessary penalties after the whistle and behind the play are putting us in bad situations. Walker Holton was the ref booth nights and he is a good ref I believe he did miss some calls and definitely took issue with his game Friday night that said we took two retaliation penalties after Merrimack crashed the net, the refs never saw the initial infraction but we hammered the forward. As a bu defender absolutely protect the goalie but if there guy sprays the goalie or gives him a love tap you can’t respond with a cross check to the head it’s that simple. Box him out take a number let ref know your seeing this and that your going to protect your goalie so that the ref has been put on record this maybe you can buy a call or if your called later maybe it’s a matching penalty it’s just gamesmanship you need to think the game constantly emotions are getting the better of us right now. As to the game Saturday walker was reffing again along with Cam lynch who in my mind is the best ref in hockey East I’m sure he was made aware of how the game got out of hand Friday so the game was called more tight. I would not have called that penalty on Boucher for going hard to the net especially after Merrimack hit Comesso after every whistle but again they were trying to keep the game under control. I was furious with walker after Friday night and had the opportunity as he was leaving to let him know how bad he was. I can’t say the same for Saturday and that’s not because bu won but rather because they were consistent with calls.
      I also agree the competition is a step up from Merrimack moving forward. I think we are improving and getting healthy hopefully we can continue to improve and beat the upper echelon teams in our league. Go bu 🐾

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