By James Garrison
Off the heels of a huge midweek victory against Notre Dame, the Boston University men’s hockey team (8-4-0, 5-3-0 Hockey East) took the ice for an exhibition matchup against the USA NTDP. The Terriers responded after a slow start, but dropped the overtime contest against some of the nation’s top prospects.
With much of the leadership core given the afternoon off, the matinee matchup served as an opportunity for many Terriers to see rare game action. Sean Driscoll, Jack Page, John Copeland, and Thomas Jarman all returned to the blueline after multiple weeks without seeing action.
Two BU commits, goaltender Michael Chambre and defenseman Kai Janviriya took the ice before likely suiting up for the scarlet and white next season. Janviriya recorded an assist against his future teammates, while Chambre was relieved after surrendering five goals on 19 shots in over two periods of action.
“I thought [Chambre and Janviriya] both played very well,” Head Coach Jay Pandolfo said following the loss. “It was unfortunate for Chambre that we got two quick ones in the third there and they decided to take him out. ”
The NTDP opened the scoring early on. Oliver Moore flew through the Terriers’ defense and penetrated the five-hole of Vinny Duplessis to open the scoring. Keeping up with the speed of the USA would be a struggle for BU in the first period, who would later surrender three more tallies in the opening frame.
“I thought we started off really slow today,” Pandolfo said. “We weren’t ready to play. Sometimes it’s tough, an exhibition game at two o’clock in the afternoon.”
Prior to the USA’s takeover midway through the first period, the Terriers were opportunistic on a two-man advantage. Senior forward Ethan Phillips followed up on a second chance opportunity to even the game at 8:20 of the first frame.
The Terriers would be unable to generate any momentum from the Phillips tally. In the ensuing 10:33, BU would surrender three goals and head into the locker room facing a 4-1 deficit.
The Terriers had a stronger showing in the second period, as their physicality was able to somewhat limit the NTDP’s opportunities.
“I think we just played physical, played to our strengths,” junior forward Luke Tuch said in between periods. “They’ve got a lot of really skilled guys who are going to be high end draft picks. We’ve just got to stay to our strengths and keep playing fast and up the wings.”
At 6:15 of the second, senior forward Sam Stevens drove to the net and caught a lucky bounce, cutting the USA’s lead to two.
Later on in the second, Boston College commit Gabe Perrault restored the USA’s three-goal lead. Another future rival, fellow Eagles commit Will Smith, beautifully set up Perrault’s second of the game.
Senior forward Matt Brown would respond with a late third period tally, giving the Terriers some necessary momentum heading into the third period. The Terriers continued their late second period momentum, with two strikes early on in the final frame.
“Third period, we found our legs and we started pushing a little bit,” Pandolfo said. “I thought we were better in the second than we were in the first and I thought we still had more to give. The guys, I think, kind of woke up and started pushing.”
Two minutes into the third, both Wilmer Skoog and Lane Hutson found the back of the net just 1:23 apart. In a goal-filled contest, neither side could find another tally in regulation time, and the Agganis faithful would be rewarded with five minutes of extra hockey.
The Terriers began the overtime period shorthanded due to Lane Hutson’s late third period holding penalty. Team USA made the Terriers pay, as Oliver Moore beat Duplessis to give the NTDP the overtime victory.
After five and a half weekends of high-end opponents, BU finally encountered some breathing room in their schedule Saturday afternoon. In a low-stakes exhibition, the Terriers found some late motivation after a very low-energy start.
“An exhibition game this time of the year, you want to get through it without any injuries,” Pandolfo said. “You want your team to play with structure and play the right way, but it’s tough sometimes, those games.”
Both Phillips and Skoog got on the board after struggling to consistently produce throughout the first third of the season. A newfound offensive confidence for the two upperclassmen would greatly serve a Terriers squad approaching a very winnable, yet important Hockey East weekend against New Hampshire. Be sure to follow along on Twitter @BosHockeyBlog and Instagram @Boston.Hockey.Blog for continued updates.