The Boston University men’s hockey team (3-5-0, 2-4-0 Hockey East) concluded their weekend series against UMass Lowell (3-1-1, 2-0 Hockey East) tonight in a 2-1 loss, completing the sweep for the River Hawks. Following Friday’s disappointing game, the Terriers did little to respond at the Tsongas Center.
Senior goaltender Owen Savory returned to the crease for Lowell, starting in back-to-back games for the first time this season. Garnering his first––and the team’s second––shutout of the year, Friday’s 29 save night was a boost for his squad coming into their home arena.
On the other side of the rink, sophomore netminder Drew Commesso was the Terrier’s best player in the first period and arguably throughout the night––surprise, surprise. Commesso had a big stop at 8:34, denying a point blank slap shot that soared off junior forward Zach Kaiser’s stick. The save kept the game knotted at 0-0 and allowed his group to try to find their footing.
BU played with more of an aggressive edge in the opening frame, looking to create some momentum and find the back of the net for the first time this weekend. Through some dump and chase hockey, Brehdan Engum was sent to the box at 8:48 for slashing and gave the Terriers an opportunity to get on the board…and they almost did.
Sophomore forward Dylan Peterson shifted the ice with confidence, dragging the puck around the offensive zone to then drop it to a netfront Tyler Boucher. The freshman forward’s blast from the middle got past Savory, but was eventually called back for goaltender interference. Junior forward Jamie Armstrong made contact with the Lowell goaltender, enough for the refs to take the tally away from BU.
Towards the end of the first the Terriers began to set their own pace instead of simply following the River Hawk’s suit. They had a solid netfront presence, won foot races, and jumped on loose pucks, actually competing instead of participating.
This spark was soon blown out by sophomore defenseman Ben Meehan who collected his first collegiate goal with 1:29 left on the clock. The River Hawks had good puck movement in BU’s zone, swinging it around to find Meehan on the left side who put some serious release behind his ripped shot. He gave his team a late 1-0 lead, forcing the Terriers to play from behind once again.
Boucher and junior forward Carl Berglund got matching interference calls within eight seconds of each other with a little less than 30 seconds left in the period. 4-on-4 hockey proceeded into the start of the middle frame.
Lowell dominated in shots-on-goal in the first, leading 14-3. Although the ratio is big, BU had a more opportunistic style of play and came out on top 12-6 in faceoff wins.
Neither squad capitalized on the 4-on-4 as Boucher and Berglund were released from the sin bin. The ice evened out a bit in the second period, but the River Hawks had spurts of offensive rushes that kept BU on their toes and made Commesso work extra hard.
The Terriers had a chance to find the equalizer on the man-advantage when junior forward Blake Wells got two minutes for high sticking. The plan backfired though, as senior forward Lucas Condotta stripped the puck from sophomore forward Nick Zabaneh at the blueline and exploded onto the breakaway. The Lowell captain’s shorthanded snapshot from the right side doubled his team’s lead to 2-0 at 16:26.
The last 20 minutes of play showed a great amount of frustration and lack of discipline from BU. Junior forward Wilmer Skoog got in a physical altercation with junior defenseman Jordan Schulting, cross checking him into the boards twice and throwing a punch before being sent to the penalty box at 4:03. The third was a heavily scrappy period.
A few more penalties ensued for both sides before junior forward Case McCarthy gave the Terriers some life with 1:35 to play in the competition, breaking Savory’s five period shutout streak.
Junior forward Robert Mastrosimone gathered the puck from a scrum to the side of the net and passed it to McCarthy in front who snapped it past the goal line to make it 2-1. It was too little too late for BU though. Lowell held on until the buzzer at the end of the third, securing the weekend sweep.
Another disheartening performance is in the books for the Terriers as their inadequate play is starting to become a pattern and lack of effort is starting to become a theme. BU is tasked with proving they belong in this league and upholding the respect and prestige of the program––the type of hockey we saw this weekend is not going to cut it.
The Terriers will travel to Michigan next weekend for an away series against the Northern Michigan University Wildcats. The puck will drop at 7:00p.m. on Friday and 6:00p.m. on Saturday and we’ll have live coverage of the games on Twitter @BOShockeyblog.
Head Coach Albie O’Connell was unavailable for comment following the game.