The Boston University men’s hockey team (11-10-3, 7-6-3 HE) has a quick turnaround this week. Heading to Amherst to play the UMass Minutemen (12-6-2, 9-2-2) tomorrow night at the Mullins Center, the Terriers will face the reigning National Champions for the third time this season.
BU is coming off a 4-0 Saturday victory over UVM after losing in overtime the night before. Collecting four out of the six points up for grabs in the series, the group has some positives to build on as they try to take down No. 9 ranked UMass.
The Terriers’ leadership group has really stepped up in the past couple of weekends. Junior forwards Robert Mastrosimone and Ethan Phillips both had two-goal weekends, and captain and senior forward Logan Cockerill has been dominant with his extra-effort play and edge of physicality.
They’ve also had guys like junior forward Sam Stevens and freshman forward Brian Carrabes step up and show their purpose. On the fourth line with the always-flying sophomore forward Nick Zabaneh, the trio were a big reason for the shutout win.
Saturday’s matchup marked sophomore goaltender Drew Commesso’s final game at Agganis Arena before leaving for Beijing to represent team USA, and he also secured his first collegiate shutout with 35 saves.
Commesso would normally be the go-to starter against a powerhouse like UMass, but perhaps O’Connell will want to give sophomore netminder Vinny Duplessis some time in the crease to get comfortable against a big opponent before he officially takes over.
On the other side of the rink, the Minutemen most recently swept Northeastern University, taking it to them 6-0 on the Huskies’ home ice to finish off the series. Team point leader, senior forward Bobby Trivigno, had two goals in the game, boosting his season total to 10 goals and 12 assists thus far.
Graduate student goaltender Matt Murray has consistently held it down for his team between the pipes this year. He has garnered a .931 save percentage and 2.13 goals-against-average and will likely get the nod tomorrow night. Both the UMass and BU goalies are on the heels of their individual shutouts.
The last time these two teams met it was an exhilarating series to watch. The Terriers played some of their best hockey of the season up until that point and it was in no way a blowout by either side. Losing in a shootout the first game and then winning in overtime the next, BU proved they could not only skate but compete with a top tier team.
The scarlet and white have much improved since that weekend and are no doubt hungry to prove themselves once again. Both clubs may show some tired legs, but they seem to always get it going when facing off against each other.
The puck will drop at 7:00pm tomorrow night and we will have full coverage of the competition including a recap after the final buzzer. Follow along on Twitter @BOShockeyblog for live updates of the game and Instagram @boston.hockey.blog for additional content.