Following an overtime loss on Friday night, the No. 9 Boston University men’s hockey team (3-2-0, 1-1-0 Hockey East) defeated the No. 14 University of Connecticut Huskies (6-1-1, 3-1-0 HE) in a game carried by goal-scorers on the second line.
Starting in net for the Terriers following 26 saves the night before was junior netminder Vinny Duplessis. With junior goalie Drew Commesso out due to hamstring injury, Duplessis took back the pipes for the second match in the UConn series.
“He’s a gamer,” head coach Jay Pandolfo said of Duplessis after the win. “He’s a competitive kid, like he loves being in the net.”
Both the Terriers and Huskies came out hard, using size and physicality to their advantage in a back-and-forth first period. While it seemed like the two were just trying to out-skate each other, the Terriers held on o a 23-9 shot advantage through the opening frame. Freshman forward Devin Kaplan created some early chances, but puck-possession and lack of passing kept the score at zero.
The second reunion game for the Amonte brothers proved more complications for new Husky Ty Amonte who seems to have no luck at Agganis Arena. A collision with Terrier captain Domenick Fensore and a UConn teammate sent Amonte to the locker room with a shoulder injury, but he rejoined the bench soon after.
For two teams who pride themselves on physicality, the so-called “skill” line was the one that got the Terriers on the board first. After ten minutes of chippy, physical play, senior forward Matt Brown sent a cross-ice pass to junior defenseman Dylan Peterson. Peterson’s toe drag in front of UConn’s freshman goalie Arseni Sergeev got lost in the rush, only to be picked up by freshman Lane Hutson whose backhanded lift over Sergeev’s shoulder put the Terriers up by one at 14:32 of the first period and earned him his sixth point of the season.
“It was great to see him get his first goal,” Pandolfo noted. “Every time he has the puck on his stick, it looks like he’s gonna make a high-end play. So he was really fun to watch tonight.”
The Terriers came out hot to start the second period, doubling their lead just over a minute in. Senior forward Wilmer Skoog picked up his first point of the 2022-23 campaign when his pass from behind the net connected with Brown’s stick at the top of the circle, who sent it home to lift the Terrier lead to two.
BU continued to show their commitment to each other and the game by eating pucks and blocking shots, but began to dwindle halfway through the middle period. UConn’s applied pressure and a miscommunication on the Terrier bench led to a too-many-men call that UConn capitalized on thanks to a skate-in goal from junior Ryan Tverberg to halve BU’s lead.
UConn played a promising second period and looked to take over the play before discipline issues sent them to the sin-bin three times, including 1:41 of 5-on-3 play for the Terriers. Sergeev took a roughing penalty that would be served by grad student Adam Dawe, and 14 seconds into the two-man advantage, Brown added another tally to the score sheet. UConn went on to challenge the goal, but the call on the ice remained and the Huskies would forfeit their time-out.
Following the Friday night loss Pandolfo had cited the fourth line’s game, saying that the upperclassmen should start paying attention –– they did just that. The Brown goal was a perfect tic-tac-toe powerplay goal with assists from senior leadership in Jay O’Brien and Fensore.
“Tonight they wanted to come out and play well –– and they did,” the head coach said. “I think it was just a response from them. They’re veteran guys that knew they needed to respond and they did.”
The scarlet and white started the third period down a player as a result of Tristan Amonte’s slashing penalty but continued to push the Huskies, adding another goal just over three minutes into the final 20.
Brown and L. Hutson racked up the points all game and their two-on-one created a rush to add to BU’s lead. L. Hutson picked up a pass from Brown in front of the crease and a sloppy rebound off of Sergeev’s pad landed on the stick of Peterson, who launched the puck into the net for a 4-1 lead.
“I think we just have chemistry off the ice,” Peterson said of his play alongside Brown. “I mean, we’re roommates (…) we were just clicking up there so it’s fun.”
Broken sticks and frustration plagued the Huskies third period until Tverberg went five-hole on Duplessis to cut his group’s deficit to two. Both squads took penalties through the final five minutes of play, but senior forward Sam Stevens recorded his second goal of the season with an empty-netter to seal the deal.
After being booted from the Hockey East playoffs by the Huskies last year, these three points in the win column are big for both the records and morale. The Terriers will next face the UMass Lowell Riverhawks at the Tsongas Center next Friday night. Previews, interviews, and updates will be on the Blog all week so be sure to follow along on Twitter @BOShockeyblog and Instagram @boston.hockey.blog.