After a lengthy up and down series of road games to start the season, the Terriers finally got some home ice advantage Friday night at Agganis Arena. Fans and students in attendance were treated to a 5-2 win against No. 19 UMass Amherst (4-2-0, 0-1-0 Hockey East).
Building off the momentum of its first regulation win last weekend at Notre Dame, Boston University (3-2-0, 1-1-0 HE) put in an all-around solid performance against a Hockey East opponent.
“I was certainly happy with our effort overall,” BU head coach Jay Pandolfo said postgame.
46 seconds into the night, junior UMass forward Ryan Lautenbach put the Terriers in a 1-0 hole off the Minutemen’s second shot of the game. From the left circle, junior defender Scott Morrow fed Lautenbach an easy shot into the stickside corner of junior goalie Mathieu Caron’s net.
Pandolfo was proud of his team’s resilience in the face of that early deficit.
“I liked the way we responded after that. Our guys stuck with it, we didn’t get down, and we found our game,” Pandolfo said.
The Minutemen weren’t able to build any momentum off that first goal, and despite still leading in shots on goal halfway through the period, it was only a matter of time before the Terriers put one in the net as they consistently pushed the play up ice.
BU got its first power play after a roughing call against freshman forward Cam O’Neill and tied it in the man advantage off a goal by sophomore defender Lane Hutson with five minutes left in the first period.
L. Hutson set up his shot in the right circle, after the feed from fellow sophomore Jeremy Wilmer, and fired the game-tying goal between the legs of freshman goalie Michael Hrabal.
In his first game back from injury after sitting out of last Saturday’s matchup against Notre Dame, L. Hutson said he was feeling “good enough.”
“I felt good enough. Good enough to play, definitely not 100 percent, but just good enough,” he said.
Senior forward Dylan Peterson put UMass on the power play immediately following this goal after a boarding call, but four saves from Caron gave the Terriers a successful penalty kill.
“Thought our special teams were very good tonight, both penalty kill and power play,” Pandolfo said.
A minute before heading to intermission, freshman forward Macklin Celebrini put the Terriers up by two with a goal coming off another primary assist from Wilmer.
Celebrini took advantage of the opportunity to relish in his first goal in front of a home crowd, emphatically shooting his hands up in the air — as if to say “are you not entertained?” — before leaping into the glass.
The Minutemen opened the second on the power play after M. Celebrini was called for slashing at the 20-minute mark of the first, but UMass could only get one shot off.
Terrier defenders did a great job throughout the night of keeping shots away from Caron; by their own admission, BU has left Caron “out to dry” in many of these early games.
“I think we’re getting back to playing our defensive zone structure the right way,” Pandolfo said. “We’re protecting the middle of the ice. There was still some I didn’t love tonight, but, overall as a whole, we’re much better.”
Past the halfway point of the second, the ever-productive Peterson-Zabaneh connection gave BU its third goal of the night. Zabaneh circled around netfront before dishing out the puck to a driving Peterson who ripped it bar-down on the right side.
Wilmer had a secondary assist on that play as part of a productive three-point performance playing on the Terriers’ third line.
“I just stuck to the basics,” Wilmer said, “[Zabaneh] and [Peterson] were flying all night, so I was just looking for them, giving them the puck, and they made the most of their opportunities.”
Following the Terrier goal, the Minutemen landed another man advantage from a boarding call against freshman defender Aiden Celebrini. Caron survived three attempts from UMass’ power play, with BU then leading shots on goal 20-12.
Seconds remained on A. Celebrini’s penalty when fifth-year forward Sam Stevens joined the box, before another successful Terrier penalty kill.
The Terriers were outshot 9-7 in the second period but left for the final intermission up 3-1 on UMass.
Sophomore forward Ryan Greene scored a power play goal past the halfway point of the third period, off an assist from M. Celebrini, to add a fourth goal to the total.
A goal from Minutemen freshman Taylor Makar briefly narrowed the deficit for UMass until an empty netter from senior forward Luke Tuch minutes later capped off a Terrier win that put their record over the .500 mark.
Friday’s victory was the ninth win in an unbeaten streak for Pandolfo against UMass, including five wins from his time as a player.
“I have no clue on that, I did not know that.” Pandolfo said, “It doesn’t mean anything, like I said, we try to prepare as a team, the right way and try to play the right way and it’s not always going to be there, it doesn’t matter what team we’re playing.”
As the Terriers head to UMass tomorrow for the second game of the home-and-home series, Pandolfo stresses that the preparation will remain the same regardless of any recent success.
“We’ll prepare in the morning, get on a bus and go to UMass, and hopefully play well again.”
Puck drop is scheduled for 7p.m. tomorrow in Amherst and the blog will have full, on the ground coverage so be sure to follow along on Instagram @boston.hockey.blog and Twitter (X) @BOShockeyblog.