Terriers fall to Eagles in disheartening third period

In a packed Agganis Arena, the Boston University Terriers (6-9-2, 5-5-2 HE) closed out the first half of the regular season with a heartbreaking shootout loss against the rival Boston College Eagles (8-5-3, 5-3-2) in the 285th meeting of the Battle of Comm Ave. The Terriers completely outshined their opponents in more ways than one––for the first 40 minutes––before falling apart in the third period in a deflating loss.

In the first rendition of the Green Line Rivalry in front of fans since February 2020, BU pulled out all of the stops in a touching memoriam of legendary Terrier Hockey coach Jack Kelley, who passed away last September. A tribute video with interviews from former coach Jack Parker and current Head Coach Albie O’Connell honored Kelley as the founder of the BU Men’s Hockey system, paving the way for a legacy to follow.

The Terriers also dressed in throwback jerseys to commemorate the 1918 opening season of BU Hockey.

“It was awesome,” freshman defenseman Ty Gallagher said. “It was a cool production and I thought it brought a lot of energy to our team; brought a lot of confidence. I feel like we played with that confidence and that swagger tonight.”

After a ceremonial puck drop by Kelley’s great grandson––also named Jack––the Terriers and Eagles began an exhilarating 65 minutes of back-and-forth hockey. BU dominated early on, applying solid pressure for long stretches of time and successfully clearing the zone in the opening minutes.

Just over 10 minutes into the game, Gallagher’s shot on net deflected off of Eagle goalie Eric Dop’s pad, landing on the stick of junior Robert Mastrosimone who got it out to a wide open Domenick Fensore for the go-ahead goal. With the tally, Fensore collected his 14th point of the season.

Gallagher has also been off to a hot start of his rookie season, garnering three assists in tonight’s matchup alone, for a total of nine on the season. 

“Ty’s a gamer. You know, when the bright lights come, he shows up,” O’Connell said after the game. “He loves to play. He’s really competitive. He had really good poise I thought tonight through pretty good stretches.”

BU’s senior leadership of Logan Cockerill, Max Kaufman, Ty Amonte, and Alex Vlasic, had their most offensively-productive weekend of the season in the UNH series after a slow start to each of their seasons. After breaking the ice though, Kaufman earned his third goal in just as many games at 11:32 of the second. Some confusion in the Eagle’s zone gave Gallagher the room to make a stretch pass to a lonely Kaufman, who capitalized on the breakaway to put the Terriers ahead by two.

“He’s been terrific. He’s been good all year,” O’Connell said of his graduate pick-up. “He just needed to break the ice with a goal, and all of a sudden he’s got, I think, four in just a couple games.” 

Also worth mentioning is goaltender Drew Commesso’s poise and control throughout an intense, high-shooting matchup. Numbers aside, Commesso’s 28-save night kept the Terriers in the game through the end of overtime, stopping wrap-around attempts and standing tall through moments of confusion in his crease.

While the game started off as the Terriers’ most solid 40 minutes of play over their biggest rivals, a fire must’ve sparked in the BC locker room, turning the game around in favor of the visitors. Only one minute into the final frame, senior captain Marc McLaughlin got a puck through traffic to lift his squad within one. Six minutes after the McLaughlin goal, Nikita Nesterenko added another for his group. And when things couldn’t get any worse, the Eagles added a third thanks to a tic-tac-toe goal from Patrick Giles, with assists by McLaughlin and Jack St. Ivany. 

“You’re down two-nothing, but games swing back and forth,” Eagles head coach and recent USA Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Jerry York said after his victory. “College hockey, pro hockey, [it’s] the same thing; you just can’t ever give up.”

Despite going down 3-2 in the span of seven minutes, Kaufman, Gallagher, and Amonte combined for Kaufman’s second of the night to keep the Terriers in the game, tying the score at 3 to close out regulation.

A wild 3v3 overtime saw even more exchanges from both sides, but Dop and Commesso stood tall in their respective nets. BU’s best OT chance came two minutes into the period when Commesso’s pass to Matt Brown sent him on a breakaway, but he couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity, and the match went down as a tie in the books, followed by a five-round shootout in which BC’s Trevor Kuntar sealed the deal for his squad.

“Obviously the records not something that we look for,” the freshman defenseman said. “We’ve been playing really good hockey, and I feel like it’s something that we can build off of, and, you know, bring it into the Beanpot and into March and the playoffs,” Gallagher said.

BU will host the US National Under-18 team on Saturday afternoon at 3p.m. in an exhibition matchup before heading into the mid-semester break for the holidays. Follow along on Twitter @BOSHockeyBlog and on Instagram @Boston.Hockey.Blog for updates.

23 thoughts on “Terriers fall to Eagles in disheartening third period”

  1. I’ll start with the good:

    It was nice to finally have a full house at Agganis and an atmosphere (although more subdued for a BU/BC game compared to years ago. Note: We’d have more good crowds if our record weren’t so mediocre since Quinn left).

    I thought we played a very solid first 30 minutes. Made good decisions. Were sound in all three zones. Deserved our lead. And were near even in faceoffs (unusual for this team).

    A few players had really strong games.

    The Bad:

    We just can’t figure out how to play 60 minutes. After we went up 2-0 we slowly stopped doing everything that put us in our good position. Got away with it through the end of the 2nd but played a really poor 3rd. We “switched off.” Didn’t forecheck as well and lost control of the defensive zone. All this with BC not receiving a single power play all game.

    We finished 27 and 39 on faceoffs.

    Sometimes you take a tie against your arch rival but when your poor record means you’re only chances of real positivity this season lie in results against BC, the Beanpot, and the HE playoffs YOU CANNOT throw away a 2-0 3rd period lead at home against BC in such an easy manner.

    And let’s be honest, this is objectively one of the weakest teams (and certainly the weakest goalie) BC has put on the ice in about 20 years. AND WE STILL left the game with 1 point to their 2. We haven’t beat BC at Agganis since January 2017. And this “poor by BC standards” BC team is 8-5-3.

    As Parcells once said, “You are what your record says you are.” We are 6-9-3. We are 2 points behind 5th place BC in Hockey East but we’ve played 3 MORE games than them. UConn is 3 points behind us in 7th and has played FOUR LESS games than us.

    Why are we here? It’s the coach and the players. Albie is now 45-45-16 in charge of the program. But he’s also getting let down by his upperclassmen. Our Juniors/Seniors/Grads are a combined -24 on the season. Only 3 of the 15 of them are +. And we’re being let down by our captains. Cockerill. 3points. -4. Amonte 2points -3. Vlasic 5points -5. Kaufman 4points +2

    I firmly believe that if Patrick Curry were still with the program that we’d be a better team because he held other players accountable. I’m not sure there’s any accountability currently running through the program. It’s hard to look at your captains for inspiration when they are all having career-worst seasons. It’s hard to look at your coach for inspiration when he’s a career .500 coach with no coached Beanpots nor Hockey East Titles nor NCAA wins.

    I’m not sure what to say. We are who we are. And its plain old mediocre and frustrating.

    I asked a friend after the game if they were in charge, would they give Albie a contract extension. He said, “What has Albie done to show that he deserves an extension?” I couldn’t give him a single reason. And I can’t explain why our most experienced players are playing so poorly.

    Personally, I think the program needs a new voice. Someone who has high expectations, commands respect, can be an a-hole when the situation requires it, does not accept excuses, gets more than the sum of his roster’s talent, and has a proven track record of winning. Someone like Rand Pecknold (not that he’s leaving Quinnipiac).

    If coaches were allowed to wallow in mediocrity forever then no coaches would ever get fired. Sometimes your results aren’t good enough, your program isn’t improving, and it’s time for a change. Albie is what his record says he is as a head coach at BU. I fully expect that he’ll be better in his next gig because coaches typically learn from their experience but need to move on to get better at their job (see Belichick in Cleveland vs in New England). But it’s time for a change.

    The BU Hockey community deserves better.

    P.S. I’ve never, ever, in my life seen a team so poor at breakaways/shootouts. While we’re on the topic, please explain to me why Carrabes and Gallagher took shootout attempts but Mastro and Fensore didn’t?!?! Strange coaching decision.

    I know some of you are eternal optimists and believe we’ll miraculously turn this around and become a hockey force by the end of the season. I’m a realist. The reality is we’re a very mediocre team, we’ve been that way for a while, and aside from a positive blip here and there, we’re on track for another .500 finish. It’s not good enough for me. Why is it good enough for you when so many other programs have either passed us or stayed ahead of us? Why are you content with mediocrity?

    Ask yourself this. Would you rather have a coach like Belichick who demands greatness, coaches his players up to be more than the sum of their talent, coaches a roster to have a next man up mentality, and never makes excuses? Or would you rather have Sean McDermott of the Bills? Talk is cheap. It’s a results business. We’re not getting results.

    In other words… I assume that most on this blog don’t think that participation trophies are useful and often have negative results like not preparing kids for the realities of life. Why is anyone ok with handing out participation trophies to the coaching staff over our past four seasons?

    Mike

  2. mike,
    you got it all wrong. we have the greatest coaching staff in college hockey. if you don’t believe me, keep checking the blog for the Colin and Rui report

    next you are not supposed to single out any player. they are just kids and they are good kids and they come from good families.if you don’t believe me, keep checking the blog for the Colin and Rui report

    another all too familiar sight. BC celebrating on our home ice

    and just to be clear, BC and NU are cleaning our clocks on the recruiting trail, so what you see now is only going to get worse.

    i thought they competed hard for the most part. where has that effort been since day 1??

    onto the US development game after the holiday skate. it’s a big one

    and finally, is nikita nesterenko a skilled hockey player of what? that kid has incredible hockey moves and hockey sense. love watching him play. oh no, i should not have said that. now i will be accused on being a BC fan. oh well

  3. Of course u would talk your b.s. u must be bored with your life and. Let me ask u where did I ever say we have the greatest coaches never came out my mouth so pay attention clown !!! If uread my posts i have always said its not what wr expected but make it to playoffs anythng can happen !! CLEARLY your obsessed with Colin… Clowns like u belong on the circus not here .. Im sure u were one of thr ones who wanted to fired Parker then Quinn etc so it keeps u happy crying and moaning about every single thing they do wrong and u have Not heard me say THEY ARE GREAT KIDS NOT 1 TIME ..nice try tho….. Oh yea we got a point by the way .. Go BU 🐾 k look forward to your response… Lay off the bottle💯💯

  4. Tough result no one likes a tie and I hate shootouts to me a old school hockey guy I hate them. I don’t even like 3-3 . As is expected. I do have a different take first no O’Brien no Phillips puts us in the hole the flu bug has done some damage I know a few kids who gut it out. Once upon a time I played this game and when your not 💯 percent especially at this level your behind the perverbial 8 ball.
    When coach O’Connell took the time out in the second I know he accounted for this score 2-0 tired legs I had no problem with it. I heard a lot of gripping over it and I agree we could have used it in the third but you have to coach the game in the present.

    To address the coaching staff I stick by my many comments that they are some of the best in the country and I’m not going to sway from that. There are a lot of things that play into giving a contract extension to a coach and I don’t like predicting things outside my level of expertise which is within the boards but I would sign Albie O’Connell to a contract extension without a doubt he has done a very good job.

    To address the leadership it’s there can you find a better kid then Max Kaufman his compete level and hustle commitment to this program is unmatched. Ty Amonte big time player he was buzzing last night he always had a knack of scoring a big goal last night he had a big time assist just imagine if he did not make that tape to tape pass we would not be talking about a tie but a loss. Cockerill is struggling offensively but he’s hustling and working hard if you continue to do that your going to get results. Last night I earned a lot of respect for vlasic if you could not see in his face or the coughing fit he had before the face off in the third and the toll the minutes he played had on him then you should not be commenting on this blog. That kid is tough as nails.

    You can be disappointed in the results of the game but a tie against Bc is not terrible especially under the circumstances bu is playing good hockey we just need to get healthy from injuries and sickness and keep this little run we are on .

    I’m proud of these kids they played hard and in my opinion were the better team. After Bc went up 3-2 it would have been easy to just say we are down guys we are sick good effort and they did not again everyone on that bench stepped up they learned a valuable lesson which will only make this team better. Go bu 🐾

  5. Can’t disagree with any of your points, Mike.

    Having Drury or Bates in the shootout may have helped. Or heck, even the recent vintage of Keller or Farrabee.

    A win against the Iggles would no doubt have been a good confidence boost for BU, but the way things have been going for them, I expected a 3-2 setback after BC’s third period burst. At least they fought back for the tie, credit to them for that.

    On to 2022, with no real feel if the team will show further improvement on the road to postseason or just continue to spin its wheels. Could go either way.

  6. The story of this era of BU hockey is written. History will not be re-written by unrealistic optimism, sunshine trolling and deplorable writing skills. Facts are facts. You want to be ok with the current facts, it’s a free country and you’re free to make as many ridiculous statements as you please. Just don’t plan on winning a lot. Funny how that parallels this team exercising it’s prerogative to not show up on a consistent basis. I guess they’re just ok with being mediocre. But I’m sorry to break this to you, kids, in the real world mediocrity is ruinous and undermines lives that’d otherwise be well-lived. And that is wasteful and tragic. No excuses.

  7. Colin,

    Let me get this right. Our coaching staff has slipped from being the best in the Country to some of the best. So if AOC was a free agent what school would offer him a contract. I think that answer speaks volumes and that is why our ship is sinking

    Right now it looks like we are comfortable being a 500 hockey club. If you can point to something that says other wise let me know

    Mike you were on target again. That was the weakest BC team of the last 20 years

  8. Ozzie I don’t know specific schools interested in signing coach I hope he stays right here . I don’t mince words and I have not wavered once I think our coaching staff is among the best in the country and at the head of that staff is Albie and he is a great coach who would be valued at any school he went too but for the 1700 time I want him on my staff 110% of the time.

    If you can’t see this team is not improving your not ever going to see it. I don’t know where this team will wind up but I hear all your gripes around the rink . I probably have talked to you for all I know but there are others with your opinion and there is a movement to undermine the coaching staff and I don’t like it. As adults and someone who is a fan we should be supportive of the kids . I know in college hockey fans have access to the kids I love that I have formed many a friendships this way but I never undermine the coaching staff or players on the team . I don’t know if you do this but I concede their are others with your view points that do and I think that’s are biggest problem right now.

  9. In my opinion, the only one undermining Albie is Albie. Again, nothing personal. 45-45-16. Recruits the players (many high draft picks), coaches the players, is supposed to improve the players. Is supposed to improve the TEAM. 45-45-16. Those are unemotional numbers. Those are facts. Those are what we are. Mediocre. And it’s not good enough for BU with our history, facilities, and expectations.

    Sure, it’s great to improve when you underperform for so long (most of the first half of this season). But if it’s just getting you back to .500, where’s the REAL improvement as a program? We’re almost 4 years on from Quinn. Is the program in better or worse shape than when he left? Objectively. Not emotionally. In the seats, on the ice, in the standings, in the results. Better or worse after almost 4 years?

    As I noted before, Quinnipiac, UMass, Providence, North Dakota, Denver, BC, etc. all have superior or far superior coaching staffs to ours. We may have the nicest guys on the planet at the helm. They may take time to talk to everyone, check in on your kids, send Christmas cards. But coaching D1 hockey is about RESULTS. And many other more successful staffs somehow find the way to be both nice AND win.

    I don’t want us to wallow in mediocrity. I certainly don’t want to risk turning into UNH or Maine. That’s why I think a change (objectively) is warranted now or more likely at the end of the season.

    Opposing opinions are welcome. But if they’re just based on emotion or personal relationships then any nice guy can be nominated to be a coach. Because in those instances, results don’t matter.

    Mike

  10. One last comment on this embarrassing 1st semester. And ‘BU93’ on USCHO recapped it well so I’ll use his words…

    – 18 games played
    – 4 regulation wins against UConn, Sacred Heart, Merrimack and UNH
    – 2 OT wins in 3 x 3 that only count for 55% of a win (really ties)
    – 0 for 3 in shootouts (really ties)
    – A home loss to Sacred Heart
    – A non competitive effort at Northern Michigan and against Cornell at Red Hot Hockey which are some of this year’s marquee games…

    Back to me…

    Mix in the fact that we have FIFTEEN upperclassmen and that we’ve had a total of ONE regulation win since OCTOBER 23. Think about that. No, seriously, stop and think about that.

    We’re also 47th in the country in faceoff win percentage which as we all know plays a big role in offensive production, especially on O-zone faceoffs on the power play.

    Finally, we’re 35th out of 60 teams in the PWR.

    U-G-L-Y and we ain’t got no alibi (extra credit for anyone that remembers what movie that line/cheer is from 🙂

    Anyway…Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all that celebrate. See you in the new year.

    May 2022 be much better to the BU Hockey community.

    Mike

  11. mike
    “I don’t want us to wallow in mediocrity. I certainly don’t want to risk turning into UNH or Maine.”

    TOO LATE

  12. There is no question that the Terriers are dysfunctional at this moment. There are probably many reasons why as i have not followed the team that closely this year, however i have been to several games ( UCONN, Northeastern, UNH) and have watched others on TV ( UMASS, BC, UMASS). Firstly i would agree with Mark that the Terriers rarely play 60 minutes. They seem to play well in flashes and then sort of sleepwalk , stop skating, and get pushed around by the opposition. BU is a team largely it seems based on speed and finesse and the opposition counters this with physicality to slow down and intimidate the Terriers. I don’t like the overhandling of the puck by Fensore. He is a terrific skater but his long carries and circling in the O zone seldom lead to anything, and he often turns it over ( the team needs to find the open man more and SHOOT ( this is another reason why they struggle to score.) Maybe they don’t have the goalscorers they have had in the past. Injuries are a partial excuse. Certainly without O’Brien in the lineup for extended periods hurts their offense, he is a terrific talent and can score. The goaltending has been inconsistent with Commesso. Although I only saw the highlights vs Cornell, he played very poorly in that game and also has let in some soft goals this year in other games.
    As i’ve mentioned before Albie IMO is not a forceful enough personality to coach this program. He seldom calls out players for lack of performance and determination and also is becoming an excuse maker for them.
    Finally the idea that there may be an acceptance of mediocrity among the fans and athletic department regarding the hockey program currently. I remember JP when asked about why BU hockey was year in year out so good saying that it was because BU ( the administration) wanted the hockey team to always be among the best. i wonder if that has changed. In an interview i saw between periods of the game last night our AD was talking about the 100th anniversary of the program, the throwback uniforms, the sell out crowd for the game, the success of the basketball teams ( men;s and women’s),. well that’s all fine and dandy but should we be celebrating so much when the crown jewel of BU athletics , the hockey team, is three games below .500 and not even being close to being nationally ranked. This was supposed to be a good year for the Terriers ( only losing one significant player, Farrance, to graduation, no early departures, the returning of players who are experienced, Amonte, Cockerill, kaufman, all disappointing. the old excuses for failure, ( early departures, in experienced team,) don’t hold true anymore. Either the quality of the players isn’t there or leadership or coaching is not there. They better sort it out fast, time is running out for this season.

  13. I think one thing we can all agree on is that BU Hockey means a lot to someone like Colin. Being a super fan is part of his identity that he externalizes very much, whether or not we agree with his opinions on the current state of BU Hockey and the caliber of the coaching staff.

    Reasons why I think he defends Albie as much as he does is because Albie has been more accommodating towards Colin’s presence in comparison to Quinn or Parker. A byproduct of that accommodation is that it’s empowered Colin to become quite “proactive” and “assertive” in getting to know some of the players and their families.

    I think because of that, a lot of what we read from Colin is his defense mechanism for protecting the program. It’s kinda like how one might protect their loved ones from criticism at all costs. It comes across in the form of reasons, sometimes excuses, and occasional flaunting of his connections to Albie/players/their families.

  14. Terry err you are correct in that coach is very good to me but coach Quinn was certainly good to me as well. I certainly admired and idealized coach Parker who I have known for years however I do not know him personally like our last two coaches. My friend ships are just from me being around the rink and seeing these guys around campus. I do protect them because this is my program and that is what a fan does for a team he has cheered on since I was a kid. To say bu hockey means a lot to me is a understatement.

  15. Terry err

    One other thing that should be pointed out my friendships with players and there families are not just from this current era of bu players but I have friends from teams from the 80’s maybe I’m a social guy. I don’t protect the coaching staff or players for no other reason then this is my team and that’s what I do. I like what bu hockey symbolizes.

    I have stated many times I’m not a alumni of bu. I have no hidden agendas my only wish is for bu hockey to succeed if I did not like how the program is run I could pick any other team in hockey East what’s interesting is I have many a hockey friend ships with players and former players from many of our rival schools it’s what makes college hockey so great the friendships among all teams. A few years ago Joe Woll thanked me for helping him enjoy his summer and helping his Bc teammates he asked me if I was going to root for Bc that year I laughed and said Joe if we score no one will be yelling sieve louder then me. College hockey is a great time and in my opinion no better place or team to follow then bu . It’s frustrating that most folks don’t see just how great a program we have and make no mistake about it it’s great because of our AD because of our coaches, staff, players, fans etc but when folks try to influence change by undercutting from within I call it for what it is b/s as always go bu 🐾

  16. Colin,
    “Nice guys finish last.”
    Albie is a nice guy. What he is not is a good head coach.
    With BU’s tradition and resources, our season, and much of the past four year, have been embarrassing.
    No, BU will not finish last. Nor is BU playing anywhere near its potential.

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