Game Recaps

Terriers down Northeastern 4-2, advance to Hockey East Semifinal

Macklin Celebrini scores his 30th goal of the season against Northeastern. Gracie Davenport/ Boston Hockey Blog

Just over a month ago, Jay Pandolfo sat at the press conference in TD Garden.

“Pretty disappointed in the end result,” the BU head coach choked out.

The Terriers had just lost to Northeastern University in the Beanpot Championship in dramatic 4-3 overtime fashion. It was a game BU dominated, outshooting the Huskies 36-17. Yet, the cross-town rival ended the night with its name in the rafters.

“It was obviously disappointing losing the Beanpot where I thought we played pretty well but found a way to lose that game,” Pandolfo said postgame. “We had a pretty good feeling we were going to see them again at some point, and we had that opportunity tonight.”

Saturday afternoon was a story-book matchup scriptwriters pen in for the grand stage of TD Garden with banners and hardware on the line. Nevertheless, the teams settled for a packed Agganis Arena for the quarterfinals matchup.

For BU, its pride was at stake; for Northeastern, its life.

The Terriers (25-8-2) scored three-straight, second-period goals and thwarted a Huskies (17-16-3) comeback with Macklin Celebrini’s 30th of the season to defeat the Huskies 4-2 when it mattered most, advancing to the Hockey East Semifinals at TD Garden.

“You have to stay patient against them, because they’re a patient team. You think at times you’re controlling the play, but you don’t put anything up on the scoreboard and they’re opportunistic,” Pandolfo said. “It certainly gives our team confidence.

While the game began back-and-forth, BU quickly took the driver’s seat. However, the Terriers came up empty-handed in the first period, despite several opportunities. On the other end, the Huskies only recorded one shot through the first eight minutes of play, but their second shot nearly broke open the scoring.

Sophomore forward Jack Williams wrapped the puck around toward a wide-open cage, but BU goaltender Mathieu Caron’s right leg shot out just in time to stuff it short of the line — confirmed by a video review.

The second period began slowly with Northeastern gaining an early edge. However, nearly 10 minutes into the middle frame, the Terriers finally broke through.

“We just stuck to what works best for us,” senior forward Luke Tuch said. “We took what was given to us and didn’t complicate the game.”

Junior forward Jack Hughes entered the zone, playing the puck off the boards and backhanding it to Greene behind the net. Greene quickly pivoted and fired it to a charging Quinn Hutson, who tapped it in with ease for a 1-0 advantage at 9:52.

The sophomore forward scored his sixth goal in five games and is coming off of a hat-trick in the regular season finale.

“That was a heck of a play on that goal on the rush,” Pandolfo said. “Right now, Quinn’s feeling it, so he’s getting his chances.”

Just 12 seconds later, senior forward Nick Zabaneh was called for tripping. In the final seconds of the penalty kill, Northeastern was called for too many men on the ice.

While the Huskies could not capitalize, the Terriers sent a charge into Agganis with their second goal. Sophomore forward Jeremy Wilmer took a one-timer from above the right dot, which was redirected by Tuch at 13:40.

If that wasn’t enough to rectify a slow start to the second period, graduate student defenseman Case McCarthy tacked on another with a missile just a stride within the blue line for a dominant 3-0 lead.

Of course, Northeastern wouldn’t retire quietly to the locker room. Junior forward Justin Hryckowian was fed a perfect back-door pass from his brother, freshman forward Dylan Hryckowian, to bring the game within two at 18:51.

BU captain Case McCarthy scores his third goal of the season to make it a 3-0 game in the second period. Gracie Davenport/ Boston Hockey Blog

BU graduate student defenseman Cade Webber went down after an awkward bump with the glass early in the third period. However, the winner of Hockey East’s Best Defensive Defenseman was back on the ice by the end of the game.

“I think he looked pretty good coming back out there, so I would expect that he gets a couple of days off,” Pandolfo said. “Knowing him, he’ll be ready to go.”

Northeastern kept their momentum strong in the final period, cashing in when Justin Hyrckowian, parallel to the net, flicked the puck in at 15:09. The captain’s second goal added some sorely needed dramatics.

The drama was short-lived, however. Freshman forward Macklin Celebrini danced his way into the slot before firing the dagger top shelf just 26 seconds later.

“Going into that last little bit, we knew they were going to make a push,” C. McCarthy said. “A special player making a special play to give us that lead back.”

The 4-2 score held until the buzzer with BU advancing to the Hockey East Semifinals next Friday. The Terriers will find out which team they draw at TD Garden later tonight.

“The expectations here are always very high, and our group expects that we should be able to get there if we play the right way,” Pandolfo said. “It’s going to be tough, there’s a lot of good teams in Hockey East.”

Before then, however, the Terriers said their farewells to Agganis Arena for the season, especially the seniors and grad students playing their final game on home ice.

“It’s an absolute privilege to play here. A lot of history here, and I think we do have the best fans in college hockey,” Tuch said. “I’m really grateful to have the opportunity to put on the Terrier sweater, and it’s been an absolute blast.”


  1. BU- ti – ful

    We won faceoffs 34-22. NU came in with over a 55% average in face-off wins

    Love Webber

  2. Good victory. Top 6 forwards looked solid plus a decent game from Tuch representing the bottom six who need to step up their game to stand a chance in the tournament. I think Wilmer is going to struggle without line mates who can finish.

    Despite his contribution of that slapper goal (his 3rd of his 5th season) McCarthy continues to be a defensive liability. 5th year captain continues to give the puck away in the D-Zone…inexcusable.
    Aiden Celebrini should get more ice time.

    Caron looked good. Keep it up but for the love of god leave the puck handling to the skaters.

  3. mark,
    i could not agree with you more about our captain. egregious turnovers

    and #20 is susceptible to turnovers as well

    as we play more talented teams, this penchant for turning it over could haunt us in games where one goal is the difference

  4. Good game vs a tough team …#7 Def has a injury we can tell in his movements .. Keep it going … Caron last few games has been caught out of position over aggressive fix that we will be fine … Huge relief webber is back … On to Maine ..