Game Recaps

Fueled by its power play, BU takes down Maine, 3-2

Photo by Gracie Davenport.

BOSTON — Take penalties against the No. 8 Boston University men’s hockey team at your own peril. 

With their power play clicking on all cylinders, the Terriers captured a 3-2 win over No. 9 University of Maine Friday night at Agganis Arena. All three tallies came on the man advantage.

“Special teams was the difference tonight,” BU head coach Jay Pandolfo said postgame. “Overall, really happy with the win.”

Before fans could settle into their seats, the Black Bears (6-4-1, 3-2-1 Hockey East) took a 1-0 advantage. Sophomore forward Thomas Freel collected the puck behind the net, saw BU netminder Mathieu Caron out of position and swiftly tucked home a wraparound goal 14 seconds in.

Less than two minutes later, freshman forward Macklin Celebrini scored on the power play to bring the Terriers (7-3-1, 4-1-1 HE) level. Celebrini corralled a pass from sophomore defenseman Lane Hutson and blasted a one-timer from the right circle that snuck under the pads of Maine goaltender Victor Ostman.

 That play — a Lane Hutson pass to a Macklin Celebrini blast at the right circle — has become a staple of the Terriers’ top power play unit. So far, it’s been unstoppable. 

“They’re moving, they’re getting pucks to the net, they’re recovering pucks,” Pandolfo said of BU’s power play. “They’re moving the puck quickly — that’s the big thing. When they move it quick, they’re much better.” 

Photo by Gracie Davenport.

Lane Hutson’s assist was his 60th point at BU. He’s played just 49 games as a Terrier.

At 5:11 of the second period, the Terriers delivered on the power play again. This time, it was Quinn Hutson driving the play. The sophomore carried the puck across the right circle and floated it to a wide-open Ryan Greene at the top of the crease, who tallied a tap-in to make it 2-1.

Less than three minutes later, Tom Willander joined the power play party. The freshman defenseman ripped a wrister from the blue line. With Luke Tuch screening Ostman at the top of the crease, the puck sailed into the top corner and earned BU a 3-1 advantage. 

“I just feel like we’re playing a really smooth game,” Willander said. “I feel like everyone’s chipping in when we’re on the man-advantage and I just think everyone’s bringing what they’re supposed to bring to the table.” 

After killing two more BU power plays — by the skin of their teeth — the Black Bears kept things within reach. At 9:02 of the third period, Freel scored his second of the evening on the power play, cutting the Terriers’ advantage in half. 

The Black Bears had chances to find the equalizer, but Caron came up with big saves. Pandolfo called Caron’s performance “excellent.” 

“He seems like he’s getting better game to game,” Pandolfo said of the netminder, who made 29 saves. “He’s understanding how we play and I think he’s adjusting very well.”

Photo by Gracie Davenport.

Goaltending aside, the Terriers put together a cohesive defensive effort — especially late in the third. BU blocked 14 shots in the contest, including a huge one by Shane Lachance with less than a minute left in the game.

“You’ve got to take away their time and space right away, and I think we’ve been doing that pretty well,” said senior forward Sam Stevens, who notched two blocks. “At times it gets away from us, but I think we’ve been doing a lot better job recently.”

BU’s gritty fourth line — of Shane Lachance, Sam Stevens and Doug Grimes — put together another impressive effort. The trio combined for six shots on net, and matched up with Maine’s dangerous top line of Bradly Nadeau, Josh Nadeau and Lynden Breen.

“They keep it simple,” Pandolfo said of the fourth line. “They put pucks behind the other team, they reload back well into our own end, they’re very sound defensively…I think they just feed off each other well and they know their role.” 

The two teams will face off again Saturday evening at Agganis Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 6 p.m., and the Boston Hockey Blog will have full, on-the-ground coverage. Be sure to follow along on Twitter (X) @BOShockeyblog and Instagram 

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