The Boston University men’s hockey team (10-9-3, 6-5-3 Hockey East) came out victorious tonight with a 2-1 overtime win against the University of Connecticut Huskies (9-9-0, 6-5-0 HE). In their first league game of 2022, BU extended their win streak to four games and continued the turnaround narrative they’ve begun to write in the second half of the season.
“I’m just really happy with our team, our effort, coming down here and continuing to try to improve as a group,” Head Coach Albie O’Connell said in the post game press conference. “Hopefully we can just keep going.”
The Huskies entered the first with energy and tried to gain control of the game on home ice, but the Terriers were able to counter and gained some momentum with a solid penalty kill early on. BU has been skating with a greater sense of confidence the past couple weekends.
Sophomore goaltender and usual starter Drew Commesso was in between the pipes for the Terriers on the heels of being named to the USA Olympic team roster. He’ll miss a chunk of the season with BU, but O’Connell said the group completely has his back.
“We’re psyched for him, it’s a big honor,” O’Connell said. “He gets a chance to represent his country and we told him that with whatever his decision was we’d support him either way––not too often a 19-year-old goaltender gets an opportunity to go to the Olympics.”
The Terriers went on the power play at 11:29 but did not get on the board until 2:50 when sophomore forward Ethan Phillips and junior forward Matt Brown went to work in the UConn zone.
Phillips carried the puck over the blueline, protecting the rubber from three Huskies, before he dropped it off for Brown who backhanded it bardown on the right side to give his squad a 1-0 lead. Brown has scored in all three of BU’s last games.
Phillips had an outstanding performance tonight, and his line with senior forward Ty Amonte and junior forward Wilmer Skoog produced an impressive amount of chances for the scarlet and whtie throughout the competition.
“I think that was one of the best games Ethan Phillips has played in his career,” O’Connell said. “He was all over the ice––on the forecheck, he was good in our zone, he scored off the rush. I think he was a guy that made that line go.”
It was a scoreless second period, but both sides could’ve collected a couple tallys if it weren’t for the stellar goaltending on either side of the rink. The Terriers hit their fourth post in the middle frame, coming inches away from extending their lead multiple times.
Graduate student netminder Darion Hanson absolutely robbed sophomore defenseman Cade Webber of his first collegiate goal with a sprawling save halfway through the period. Kicking his right heel out to stop the puck from trickling over the goalline, Hanson kept his team within one.
Junior forward Jay O’Brien also almost doubled his group’s advantage in the last minute of the period on the breakaway, but Hanson stood tall once again. OB would get his revenge with the eventual overtime game winner.
“He’s been on the shelf quite a bit, and we’re a better hockey team when he’s in the lineup,” O’Connell said.
UConn skated into the third period hunting for the equalizer and sustained pressure in the BU end for extended amounts of time, but it never felt like the Terriers had lost full control even when the Huskies tied the game.
Chase Bradley knotted the matchup at one a piece at 13:00 after a scramble in front of Commesso’s crease spat the puck out to the freshman forward who sent it soaring to the back of the net. The BU bench responded well, maintaining their compete level and composure.
The Terriers had one of their best nights at the faceoff circle which allowed them to manage their play with more ease and dominance as the clock wore down and the third period eventually ended. Faceoffs had been an area of struggle for the group earlier on, so it’s great to see the improvement.
“We were pretty pleased with at least our alertness and competitiveness off draws,” O’Connell said. “We outbattled them off the faceoff there in overtime, OB pushed through it, and we end up with a 2-on-1 and a goal so it was definitely a factor in the game.”
Tied 1-1 at the end of regulation, each team got a point and headed to overtime to determine who would collect the extra point up for grabs––and it didn’t take long. Fans were barely back in their seats before the Terrier team flooded the ice to celebrate O’Brien’s game winning goal.
Only eight seconds into the free hockey, O’Brien soared up the right side and snapped one past Hanson to end the game and secure a 2-1 victory for the away team.
This BU group has really found themselves in the past couple games as more guys come back from injury and the believability on the bench strengthens. It’s exciting to see the team play up to their potential and finally have some fun on the ice.
With only one game this weekend, the Terriers will be back in action next Friday when they’ll kick off their series against the University of Vermont at 7:00pm at Agganis Arena. We’ll have a preview and live coverage of the game as usual and follow along on Twitter @BOShockeyblog and Instagram @boston.hockey.blog for further updates.
Belle I love bu compete level. U conn is physical and is explosive off the rush. At times last night they had us back on our heels. Good teams can do that to a opponent. Two months ago we loose this game by a goal or two and the bloggers say how our program is done, our coach needs to go, we can’t get a big save when we need it etc.
What’s changed even though the injury bug/ covid bug is still affecting this team we have Tuch ,O’Brien, Ty Amonte and Phillips back in line up. Bu has depth but you can’t ask a young kid who is a role player to now play on top line and be a goal scorer long term hockey does not work like that.
Coach specifically mentioned Ty Amonte and Phillips play in his press conference and they definitely showed some jump. That’s two guys who have been out. The line I was impressed with that I think shows so much is O’Brien Kaufman and Tuch. O’Brien is just a gifted player. I was so impressed with Tuch game down low and in front of the net he was dominant. Kaufman always hustling he drew a big penalty late in 3rd by just out working the other guy. He gets loose pucks and if he puts it on his line mates stick that’s dangerous for our opponents.
Our D played good Dom solid as always vlasic rock solid Webber this kid gets better every day I was very impressed. Glad to see Copeland not only playing but playing well. With McCarthy out it’s huge we can fill that spot.
One glaring weakness I saw is our transition game which looked good last week at times last night was not. I saw on more then one occasion we just throw the puck up the boards right on to the u conn D or wings stick one reason why is our forwards are stationary in college hockey we can’t do this. When we hit our wings they have to get there feet going and we’re often caught by U conn backcheckers. We need to move our feet with out the puck create a passing lane and go like the wind. Our D needs to possibly hold on to the puck till that seem opens up if they have room and not in front of the net they don’t need to rush that initial pass it will make us harder to defend against.
I’m very happy for this team and coaches they have worked very hard all year and now that hard work is finally starting to pay off. This is a great group of kids who deserved the win last night as coach said keep working on getting better and who knows where that will take us.
It will be tough to play without our elite goalie Drew Comesso but what a accomplishment for him and bu. I think bu hockey and the Olympics is a winning tradition.
We usually agree on most points, but rarely on all points. On this occasion, I saw the game exactly as you did, and am in harmony with all of your strategic observations, and individual player kudos. Moreover, I was also disturbed by the progressive erosion of our transition game, as the contest proceeded. In the first period our D zone outlet was very effective, and our movement through center ice was excellent, but as the game progressed our outlets and transitions deteriorated, for the reasons you noted:
“We just throw the puck up the boards right on to the u conn D or wings stick one reason why is our forwards are stationary in college hockey we can’t do this. When we hit our wings they have to get there feet going and we’re often caught by U conn backcheckers. We need to move our feet with out the puck create a passing lane and go like the wind.”
I expect that this will be addressed in the video room, and in practice.
Finally, it was especially gratifying to have decidedly broken the Hartford OT bane.
One thing I forgot to mention is as successful as Tuch was in creating havoc in front of U conn goalie he had at times the attention of 3 UConn players and took some whacks he never retaliated. Bu won the penalty battle last night. First half we had Boucher play that big power forward role and as much as I enjoyed Tyler he got called regularly for retaliation penalties. Tuch played smart hard nosed hockey. I can’t emphasize enough how big it was for him to play that type of game last night. Go bu 🐾
I also thought their team speed was a strength and also their team defense. Going to need this kind of effort the rest of the way out if we have any chance to add to the trophy case.
In case you have missed it UCONN has not been the same team since the break. They have lost to Harvard AIC and BU but beat BC who now can not win a game.
We have played Seven games vs teams in the top 18 in the pairwise and we are 1-4-2
Very disappointed we could only score 1 goal vs a journeyman goalie in regulation. If you don t win in regulation it not worth much in the pairwise
Of course u would come and talk BU down its ok u must be lonely and miserable.. We look a total different team but now u cry about scoring 1 goal.. Unreal u just post to get attention we get it.. Go BU 🐾
Although one cannot argue with the facts as you point out your general viewpoint of the Terriers this season seems overly negative and pessimistic as opposed to Colin’s overly positive and optimistic view. I think as usual the truth lies somewhere in between. BU had certainly struggled badly early in the season vs everybody they played. They couldn’t beat the conference teams, the non conference teams, ranked highly or not. However there is evidence that ( with a 6 game win streak) that BU has turned their season around not necessarily to get into the NCAA tourney or Frozen Four for but for us to be optimistic that the team will continue to win with a chance to win some hardware, especially the Beanpot ( Harvard do not seem like wordbeaters and although NE is the clear favorite the Terriers have played them very tough in both encounters this season as well as vs BC. I think the Terriers are lucky to have two good goalies ( how handy at a time when we lose Commesso to the Olympics for a couple of weeks, we have Duplessy who while not having played much this year has shown last season that he is capable of playing very well in division 1. ( Lets hope he has not missed a beat.) If BU can sweep Vermont this weekend which IMO is very important they can maybe make a run ay being ranked top 20. I’m very interesting in seeing how we fare vs Prov. in a couple of games coming up, a team that is very good and historically has been a thorn in BU ‘s side. As we have seen this year in Div.1 all results are possible, you can’t take anyone too lightly, so there is much to be resolved the rest of the way.
Perfectly said couldn’t agree with all your points ..
Still in a tough spot playing Vermont next weekend if they play. Vermont at 58 in the pairwise so nothing to gain only a possibility of loosing ground
Ozzie pair wise is important and I’m not giving up on getting in top 13 but I’m also realistic a lot has to go right to get in top 13.
To say games against Vermont don’t mean much is ludicrous for one we have the second longest unbeaten streak in the country I want to keep that streak rolling.
If we can take six points from Vermont we will be in striking distance of home ice for playoffs.
I believe you are wrong next weekend games are very important and U VM has a lot to play for as they are playing better hockey and trying to improve there playoff seedlings . Bu needs to keep playing well and improving every day.
Our reality is that we need to win the Hockey East tournament to get in the NCAAs as I’m not sure even running the rest of the regular season table would be enough.
We already own the pairs with UVM, BC, Maine,
We’d have to flip the UMass/Providence/Harvard pairs, not slip up and give away any of the pairs we own, and hope quite a few teams above us free fall.
Maybe not mathematically impossible but at the same time, when I play Mega Millions, I know there’s a chance I can win but I’m not banking on it. We just dug too big a hole in the 1st half of the season.
So let’s just try to enjoy the much improved performances, hope Vinny D can hit the ice running (as it were), win the Beanpot, and hope our very low NCAA odds somehow come through.
We are what we are and hopefully we can at least enjoy the 2nd half.
UVM playing better. They have not won a game since 12/3. They are 59 th out of 59 teams in the pairwise.
Not sure what they are playing for it’s not the first overall pick in the draft. Let’s hope they show at Agganis. Maybe they pull a Michigan
Ozzie home ice in first round is still up for grabs for them . They are definitely a lower level team in hockey East but I saw them play they are scrappy and well coached . I learned not to dismiss a opponent especially in hockey anything can happen bu will need to play hard to win and that’s what they should do. Go bu
Ozzie go home your drunk ..😂go BU 🐾 g
I completely agree that sweeping Vermont is what we need to do and I’ll be cheering mightily for that outcome. HOWEVER, if we do sweep them, it in no way means that we’ve turned the corner and are headed for an NCAA birth. If we sweep, we have absolutely nothing to gain in terms of being more likely to get an NCAA invitation but the sweep would be meaningful and helpful in that it will better position us for the Hockey East playoffs. If we don’t win that HE tournament, our season will in no uncertain terms be over.
Glenn fair statement I agree a automatic bid looks doubtful. Bu needs to focus on what they can control and that’s winning as many games as they can.
We certainly can secure home ice and a bye to second round. Every game we play we need to get better. I have been consistently the most positive of this team all year but we definitely have things to improve on if we want to win hockey East .
Ozzie asked the question what does UVM have to play for ? If your a athlete at this level you play for your team pride in your school your own sense of pride and let’s face it every team makes playoffs which essentially gives every team the opportunity to continue there season if your quitting in January that’s disgraceful and I’m 💯 percent sure Vermont is not quitting and any team that takes them lightly will find out the hard way. I stated many times first half in the blog that hockey has changed over the years at the college level. The difference between top tier teams and lower tier teams is minute. Bu needs to be ready Friday and make no mistake these are big games UVM wants these points and will be ready to play .
We all know the only way on making the NCAA is winning hockey east no one is saying otherwise… We have played some good team hockey of late amd if u keep going you set your self up for hockey east seeding … Do I think we can win hockey east absolutly!! Bc just got swept vs UNH and MERRIMAC just swet9 Providence!!! So I’m just saying we have a great shot at it there is no FAVORITE this year so I think we will be ready to go … Go BU 🐾 AGAIN WE KNOW WE MEED HOCKEY EAST TO GET INTO NCAA…
i understand that certain comments get under your skin. certain comments get under my skin too. however, what i do not get is that you always seem to accuse those who you disagree with as being drunk. I disagree with Colin a lot but i do not think he is drunk or high etc. he just sees the situation differently from me. it is kinda what makes the blog fun (most of the time)
i just like when BU wins, so even though victories against vermont (i know, nothing is automatic in HE) might not do anything for the NCAA’s, it is still nice to see them win
Get ready for this. NU blanks Vermont but falls in the pairwise. Hold on while I get a new Fosters.
Ozzie, this is indeed an idiosyncrasy of the Pairwise Ranking system. I’ve seen that phenomenon before and BU has been one of many schools that suffer short-term in their PW standing after defeating a very poor D-1 team. Still, in the end, it all works out and IMO is one of the better ranking systems.
Ozzie under the old system many teams had gripes including bu in certain years. I agree with Glenn pair wise although not perfect is the fairest way to give at large bids.
As has been stated numerous time throughout this thread bu has slim chances of getting one of those at large bids a lot of things have to go right for that to happen. I think your fixated on pair wise when I think bu needs to control what’s in front of them which is two games against a opponent in its league. Who knows where bu will wind up at the end of the year but hockey East is up for grabs. I don’t see any team that I say we can’t beat and other teams are probably saying the same thing.
One thing the best college coach of all time excelled at was starting to peak right before beanpot and riding that success into the playoffs. I know it would pain you to admit this but bu is doing just that. It is hard to predict the future and the games are played on the ice but I’m basing my opinion on our win streak and just my look at the team they look confident they are healthy they still have holes especially through their transition and breakouts but make no mistake I think bu will make a push come playoff time will it be enough I hope so but I’m going to enjoy and root for them that’s what makes college hockey great
Take care of business and sweep VT. Can not afford ties, even ot ones, or losses. We need to show up and if we lose it will be because we took them Lightly. We are a far better team than Vermont