Terriers take down No. 9 UMass Amherst in overtime

Written by James Garrison

Junior defenseman Case McCarthy after scoring against UMass Nov. 12
Photo by Caroline Fernandez

The Boston University men’s hockey team (4-7-1, 3-4-1 Hockey East) traveled west to the Mullins Center in Amherst, Massachusetts on Saturday night to play the second game in their weekend series against the No. 8/9 UMass Amherst Minutemen (6-3-1, 4-1-1 Hockey East). After playing their most complete game of the season Friday night, the Terriers looked to finish the weekend on a positive note. 

The Terriers welcomed junior forward Ethan Phillips after missing Friday’s game due to undisclosed reasons. Going into the night, Phillips was sixth on the team in scoring, with one goal and five assists for a total of six points, and he finished the night with three shots on goal and an even plus-minus rating. 

The Terriers continued their strong play in the first period, outshooting the Minutemen 12-7. The Terriers controlled the majority of the play in the first period, with some great scoring chances that were almost buried by Jay O’Brien and Robert Mastrosimone. The positive impact of Jay O’Brien’s return continued to be felt throughout the Terriers’ locker room. 

In his return Friday night, O’Brien was held off of the scoresheet but provided a noticeable boost in energy to the Terriers’ offense. At 18:01 of the first, O’Brien wired a wrister past Matt Murray to put the Terriers up 1-0. Junior defenseman Domenick Fensore figured in for an assist on the play for his eighth point in twelve games this season.

“He was awesome,” head coach Albie O’Connell said when asked about O’Brien’s play as a whole this weekend. “It’s a big boost for our team when you have one of your best players out of the lineup for eight games.”

The Terriers were back on their heels in the second period, having to defend a Minuteman offense that came out with a lot of jump. The Minutemen also brought a lot of physicality in the second, with both Fensore and O’Brien taking big hits that left them down on the ice. Both Fensore and O’Brien returned to play later on in the period, though. 

Despite spending much of the period in their own zone, the Terriers were able to capitalize on their opportunities. After freshman forward Tyler Boucher drew a tripping penalty, the squad went on their second power play of the game. 

With just eight seconds remaining in the power play, junior forward Wilmer Skoog deflected a shot from O’Brien to put the Terriers up 2-0 with 10:11 remaining in the second period. The Terriers’ power play went one for three on the night and surrendered a short-handed goal in the third period. 

The Minuteman responded quickly after Skoog scored his fifth of the season, only 1:12 after the Terriers went up 2-0. Junior defenseman Matthew Kessel’s shot from the point found its way past sophomore goaltender Drew Commesso to cut the Terrier lead in half with 8:59 remaining in the second period. 

Just as the Terriers were looking to head into the locker room with the lead, they were forced back onto the penalty kill, with junior forward Jamie Armstrong heading to the box for tripping with 1:20 remaining in the second. The Minutemen would capitalize with only 0:33 remaining in the period as captain Bobby Trivigno was able to swing momentum back in UMass’ way before the third. 

In the final frame, the Terriers looked to re-take the lead as they went on their third power play of the game. Freshman defenseman Ryan Ufko was able to pick off the puck at the blueline and head in on a shorthanded breakaway. Ufko deked around Commesso and put the Minutemen up 3-2 with 14:48 remaining in the third period. 

It did not take long for the Terriers to respond, though. Freshman defenseman Ty Gallagher crashed down from the point and found the loose puck in a scrum inside the crease and was able to put it past Minutemen goaltender Murray to tie the game up at three. It only took the Terriers 1:18 to respond, with now only 13:30 left in regulation. 

“We weren’t really too worried on the bench, to be honest with you,” O’Connell said when asked about the Terriers’ mentality after going down 3-2. “We were playing a good game and we just wanted to stick with it.” The Terriers and Minutemen would finish the rest of the third scoreless and head into their second overtime in just as many days. 

The overtime period opened up slowly, with both sides taking their time to try and set up winning plays. The Minutemen’s best chance in overtime would be thwarted by an excellent save by Commesso, who stopped 20 of 23 shots faced, and had his best of the night when it counted. 

At 1:31 of overtime, the game would finally be ended. Fensore circled behind the Minutemen net and found Case McCarthy for a one-timer in the high slot that found its way past Minutemen goaltender Murray. 

“It just speaks to the character of the guys in the room,” McCarthy said post-game when asked about the resiliency of the Terriers throughout the game. “We’re gonna stick together and we’re gonna do the right thing. We’re gonna stick to our game plan and obviously that paid off tonight.”

For McCarthy, it was his fourth goal in his past five games. “A lot of guys make a lot of plays and me getting lucky,” McCarthy said when asked about his recent offensive production. “I just have to get myself in an open spot and hit the net, luckily it went in”. 

After a four-game skid and a concerning start to the season for the Terriers, this weekend served as a template and a marker to show what this team is capable of. The Terriers and their fans will hope to keep this strong play going into next weekend and further on. 

Looking on to next weekend, the Terriers will play a home and home series with one of their Hockey East rivals, Northeastern University. The puck will drop Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at Agganis Arena and 7:00 p.m. on Saturday at Matthews Arena in Boston, MA with coverage on Twitter @BOSHockeyBlog and on Instagram @Boston.Hockey.Blog.

20 thoughts on “Terriers take down No. 9 UMass Amherst in overtime”

  1. James thanks for writing the article it was a great weekend for bu . There is a lot more season left and bu should feel good about beating this team but it should show them two things they can beat anyone but if they try to do it as individuals they won’t win in this league. I believe we have turned the corner I’m guessing the group on this blog are questioning the same thing will this terrier team show up next week or will it be the team that played at northern. A lot of haters are questioning did I jump ship to early and I can only say hope you can find your way back I can’t promise you dominance especially in this league but as sure as I can be I think this teams found it’s identity. As to next week remember Northeastern recent history against bu they have played very dirty and have done some class less things off ice. I hope some of the history is taught to these young terriers. Here is Northeastern game plan play dirty hit late hit high lots of gamesmanship with ref and hope bu retaliates . Bu needs to be disciplined there breakout needs to keep improving if northeastern drops back on bu dump and chase and wear them down. Northeastern goalie is good but if we get to rebounds and are strong in front of booth nets we will wear them down. I wanted to mention Fensore who sometimes gets beat up on this blog was dominant this weekend he never gets tired and u mass tried to play physical with him and they could not I want to emphasize my previous arguments that he is the most underrated player in hockey East. Also having O’Brien in line up was huge that kid is a hockey player.

  2. Colin, Umass is very over rated. They are 0-2 vs teams in the top 16 in the country. They did beat PC twice but the rest of their wins are over bottom feeders and they have scored fewer goals then we have.

  3. Ozzie they are a good team they won the national championship last year there goaltender has played for them in key spots there coach is one of the best in the business I don’t think they are overrated I think we played well for two nights against one of the best teams in our league and the country. I never knock a opponent because it cheapens your win but U mass knows how to win and as our coach stated going into the weekend they play as a team and our guys met there intensity and got 4 pts that’s a big accomplishment on to Northeastern

  4. Shows what can happen when you play hard . team must be like this every game to win. We shall see.

  5. Just saying Umass last year is not this year. They lost their top goalie and all of their offense. Like us their early part of the schedule has been not that hard. Not sure they will be a top four in HE

  6. the mark of a real good team is consistency

    the mark of a real bad team is inconsistency

    let’s see how it shakes out vs NU

  7. I don’t pay to much attention to national polls but if your ranked in the top 10 in both polls your a good team. We beat a good team . Why people won’t give this terrier team credit for a big win and tie is puzzling.

  8. They has a nice weekend. Ok. But they have dug themselves into quite a hole. Let’s see if they can come close to winning out the rest of the first half schedule. One win is not something to get they excited about. If it helps the teams confidence to play winning hockey from now on,then great. However if they revert back to playing 500 or less each weekend, then the win was nothing more than a broken clock being right twice a day.

    NU and their goalie Levi will be a real test

  9. Three big ones in a row coming up against NU (twice) and Cornell at MSG.

    Let’s get it done by taking at least 2 of 3.

    Kudos on the consistent efforts BU showed against UMass last weekend. Hopefully that will be the team that shows up from here on out…

  10. Great effort this past weekend finally smart solid hockey not perfect but very good … I think we have turned the corner I said to my fellow by fans tis weeknd was make or break … Gettimg guys back also helps obrian rich this weeknd .. Few weeks some of you on here said we are losing against subpar teams just wait until the umass nu etc come up .. Bu takes 3 of 4 points from umass defending champs and vinnie says umass is overrated.. I’m not surprised…. Anyhow go bu 🐾 great weekend keep it going … Even on a very good weeknd some of u still complain… Go BU 🐾 hi Colin 😊

  11. i never said Umass was overrated. that was Ozzie who said they were. i said, let’s see if they can continue winning. they need wins badly because of the hole they are in, after losing to SUBPAR teams. that seems reasonable.

    two against NU, two against UNH and one game each against BC and Cornell

    you tell me, Rui. how many of these game do they need to win to get back into the national picture? 500 won’t cut it. that’s facts

  12. We keep playing like we have this past weekend and we should be fine maybe to big of a hole for national polls etc but don’t forget hockey east playoffs .. It’s a brand new season come playoff time im just saying … I like the direction this team is headed … Ps I’ll pick drew over Levi all day … Trade teams bet u Levi numbers like like drew that’s facts.. Plus getting bodies back is huge.. Go BU 🐾

  13. Rui
    So are you saying that Northeastern’s team is stronger than be BU’s team? Maybe so. The kid does have three shotouts. This weekend will be interesting to see how they both perform.

    If they keep playing like this maybe we can snag a bean pot or a Hockey East title. I just don’t like relying on having to win a hockey East title to get into the NCAA’s. That’s a real tall task for any team to run that table. I know we did it in Quins last year but still it’s not easy.

    Six games left before the break. Gotta go at least 5-1

    Also, I am going to be miffed if I see Tuch out for bu and then skating around on the world junior team. Hope that won’t be the case

    • Great points u are right we need to win hockey east for NCAA can we do it lets see like u said its been done very hard but team showing good signs.. Don’t get me Levi is great im just saying BU stuggles effected drew numbers that’s all.. Should be a good weeknd of hockey need to keep trending upwards. Go BU

  14. Vinnie nobody wants to play more then Luke Tuch I think he and Brown will be on the ice this weekend. I do agree winning hockey east to make the national tournament is a tall task and it is a possibility that might need to be done. I think we could absolutely win hockey east but at this point we need to focus on winning the next game in front of us. We had a good weekend now we need another one. One reason why I enjoyed coach parkers teams so much is they always seemed to improve over the season and by the time the bean pot arrived they would peak and ride it into the playoffs. I think this team is capable of that because of injuries we have not hit our potential yet I see us gearing up for a great November, December and on. Roys point of Winning hockey east is great let’s do that and vinnies point that it’s a tall task is correct as well but if hockey east schools continue to fair negatively against other schools outside the league I can see only one or two teams making national tournament but for now let’s just worry about Friday. Go BU 🐾

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