Game Recaps

Terriers find way to clinch extra Hockey East point in shootout win against UMass

Photo by Gracie Davenport.

The Boston University men’s hockey team (3-2-1, 1-1-1 Hockey East) pulled out an unbeaten weekend against the UMass Amherst Minutemen (4-2-1, 0-1-1 HE) on Saturday night at Mullins Center in a 3-3 tie – and shootout win – that they probably didn’t deserve to run away with. However, in a league with as much parity as Hockey East, you’ve got to find ways to win on the road, and that’s exactly what the Terriers did. 

“I know it’s a shootout win, but it’s a big win for us,” BU head coach Jay Pandolfo said postgame. “Getting down a few different times in the game, being able to find a way to battle back, hopefully goes a long way for our group.”

The Terriers rolled with their same lineup from Friday night at Agganis Arena; both sophomore defenseman Lane Hutson and graduate defenseman Cade Webber remained available after returning from injury this weekend. 

The Minutemen got on the board first off a pretty give-and-go between junior defenseman Scott Morrow and freshman forward Jack Musa who rocketed the cross-crease pass past Caron from the left side, marking his third goal and ninth point of the season at 9:37 of the first period. 

Junior goaltender Mathieu Caron posted 12 saves in the opening frame, looking a bit shaky with his puck control at first, but settling into the game in the latter half of the period. Caron ended the night with 38 stops, kept his team in the game when things got hectic in the third and denied all three UMass shots in the shootout. 

“Every game it gets a little bit better. Confidence is obviously building as a team. Things are starting to fall into place for myself and for other guys as well,” Caron said postgame. “It’s a huge team effort. Being in these tight games early on is only going to make us better come playoff time.” 

Devin Kaplan took his second penalty of the night at 5:52 of the second period for high sticking, but the sophomore forward made up for the undisciplined play with a breakaway goal right out of the penalty box. Kaplan picked up a leading Luke Tuch pass by the blue line and ripped it glove-side on Hrabal to tie it 1-1. 

Photo by Gracie Davenport.

Tuch really leaned into his physicality this series and was throwing Minutemen around at Mullins. The assistant captain has stepped up the past two weekends and complemented his linemates – Macklin Celebrini and Kaplan – well, making space for them but also driving the puck to the net when he got his looks. 

The Terriers got hemmed in their own zone quite a bit in the second, and breakout turnovers didn’t help the matter. UMass gained momentum from its lengthy puck possession spurts, and cashed in with a freshman forward Dan Locemelis goal – first of his collegiate career – with just over a minute to play.

M. Celebrini then knotted things 2-2 on the power play at 5:20 of the third period. Dished by sophomore forward Jeremy Wilmer, M. Celebrini snapped it top shelf from the right doorstep, making good of a BU power play that had yet to score through three previous chances.

“Getting a sweep against a very good team over there, it meant a lot to us as a team. We’re just fired up and can’t wait to get back at it next weekend,” M. Celebrini said postgame. “Very rarely do you play a perfect game, pretty much never. Great teams find a way to win and I feel like that’s what we did here tonight.” 

The Minutemen didn’t lose their jump after giving up the tying goal, and pushed hard to retake the lead at 9:45 with a snipe from freshman forward Aydar Suniev from the high slot, putting UMass up 3-2. 

Lapses in coverage by BU down low created consecutive frenzies in the crease in front of Caron who was working hard to keep it a one-goal game with some acrobatic stops. The Minutemen were hounding the puck and capitalizing on second chance opportunities that the Terriers were letting pop out. 

Ryan Greene’s defensive game, though, cannot be discounted in his series performance. The sophomore forward scored his second goal of the season on Friday, but his shutdown effort on the penalty kill and on the forecheck – which don’t show up on the stat sheet – stood out too. 

“Having a good stick – his stick was definitely better this weekend – and that’s important for him,” Pandoflo said. “He’s such a good skater and can close time and space quickly, that when he has a good stick, he ends plays quickly and transitions.” 

Photo by Gracie Davenport.

M. Celebrini kept his team in a game that UMass had wholly taken over in the third period. The 17-year-old wristed it from below the left dot for the eighth – yes, eighth – goal of his freshman campaign to make it 3-3 and force overtime. 

“He’s that type of player. He’s a big time player, he embraces the challenge, wants to be in big moments,” Pandolfo said of M. Celebrini. “I just like the fact that he doesn’t cheat the game. He’s just as good defensively as he is offensively.” 

The L. Hutson, M. Celebrini, Greene trio got stuck on the ice for what felt like half of overtime, clearly gassed by the 2:30 mark, but was able to hold things down before finally shifting. The extra hockey ultimately didn’t determine a winner, and the two squads were off to the shootout. 

Three Caron saves and one sophomore forward Quinn Hutson goal sealed the extra Hockey East point for the Terriers. 

“It’s really important, Hockey East is a heck of a league this year, I feel like every team has gotten better,” Pandolfo said. “So you’ve got to gain as many points as possible early.” 

The Terriers will be back in action next weekend when they host the University of North Dakota for two games at Agganis Arena. The Boston Hockey Blog will have full, on the ground coverage so be sure to follow along on Twitter (X) @BOShockeyblog and Instagram

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