By James Garrison
The Boston University men’s hockey team (10-10-3, 6-6-3 HE) faced off against the University of Vermont Catamounts (4-14-2, 3-7-2 HE) for the first time this season Friday night at Agganis Arena where they fell 2-1 in overtime.
Having only lost one game in regulation in the last eleven games and continuing to climb the Hockey East standings, the Terriers looked to continue their hot streak against the 10th place Catamounts.
The Terriers struggled to find the back of the net and found themselves in a low-scoring battle with the Catamounts. Despite having twice as many shots as UVM, the Terriers were unable to find the back of the net.
“Tough way to lose a hockey game,” said Terriers’ head coach Albie O’Connell in his post-game press conference Friday night. “Offensively we weren’t sharp tonight,” added O’Connell.
The Terriers came out strong in the first period, outshooting a very turnover-prone UVM 14-3 who did not get their first shot until midway through the first. Despite going down shorthanded twice, the Terriers were able to kill both penalties off.
The Terriers finally broke through late in the first period when junior forward Matt Brown got in hard on the forecheck and was able to get the puck to the front of the net where his linemate, junior forward Robert Mastrosimone, was waiting for an easy tap-in.
After a rough first period, the Catamounts came out much stronger in the second period, outworking the Terriers and matching their chances in the offensive zone.
“I thought they broke the puck out pretty well in the second period,” O’Connell said when asked about the improved play of UVM after their first period lull. “We had some guys that weren’t skating tonight so that allowed them to break the puck out.”
UVM freshman forward Timofei Spitserov evened things up early on in the second off of a low-angle wrister that just beat Terriers’ goaltender Drew Commesso and surprised a BU team that was expecting more of what they saw from the Catamounts in the first period.
The intensity ramped up in the third period with just about nine minutes left in the period after Logan Cockerill took a roughing penalty after the whistle in a scrum in front of the UVM net. The Terriers aggressively killed off the penalty served by Cockerill.
Both sides traded late surges in the final five minutes but were unable to deliver any crushing blows and the Terriers would go on to play another five minutes of three-on-three hockey; their seventh overtime game of the season.
Exactly halfway through overtime, Catamounts junior forward William Lemay put home a rebound from Commesso to win it in overtime for the Catamounts, 2-1.
Despite having 43 shots, the Terriers did not have as many great scoring chances as that amount of shots would typically bring. Along with that, their power-play failed to execute, going 0/3 in the game.
“They did a good job blocking shots…anytime we went to go get a rebound, they were on our backs. They did a good job cleaning us out at the front of the net,” said O’Connell about the Terriers’ power play struggles tonight.
After tonight’s results, BU currently sits sixth in the Hockey East Standings, one point behind Merrimack College and two points behind Providence College. The Terriers will not have to wait long to get revenge though, as they will see the Catamounts tomorrow afternoon.
As the season gets closer and closer to its end, and points become more and more valuable, tough decisions will have to be made by O’Connell to put the best lineup out there possible for the Terriers to get some wins.
“We’ve got guys sitting there waiting in the wings who want to get in the lineup, who are hungry for it and will do everything willing to win the hockey game,” said O’Connell.
The Terriers will see a quicker turnaround than the typical weekend series, as they will face off once again with the Catamounts on Saturday, with puck drop set for 4:00 pm at Agganis Arena.
O’Connell added at the end, “It’s a big game, we’ve got to be ready”.
Coverage for that game can be found on the blog as well as live updates on Twitter @BOShockeyblog and on Instagram @boston.hockey.blog.