*BEANPOT* Live Blog: BU vs. Northeastern, 2/4 at 8pm

In the first round of the 2019 Beanpot, Boston University will take on Northeastern at the TD Garden. The Huskies won last year’s tournament, getting a 5-2 win in the final over BU. The Terriers will be seeking revenge, looking to get one step closer to their 31st Beanpot title.

It’s one of the biggest games of the year, so come join our live blog! Coverage will start at 7:45pm, with puck drop set for 8pm.

Resilient Terriers come up just short against #2 UMass

In a game that featured three surmounted deficits for the hosts, the Boston University men’s hockey team fell to #2 University of Massachusetts 7-5 at BU’s Agganis Arena on Friday night.

“Both teams pushed hard, both teams competed well,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell. “[UMass] got on the right side of it.”

The Minutemen (20-5, 12-3 Hockey East) took no time taking a lead in the opening frame as senior forward Jacob Pritchard snuck in at the back post and knocked home a feed from sophomore forward John Leonard just 49 seconds into the game. It was the sixth consecutive game in which the Terriers (10-11-3, 8-6-2 Hockey East) conceded the game’s first goal.

“I don’t have an answer for that,” said Coach O’Connell regarding his team’s consistent struggles from the opening puck drop. “Just keep fighting.”

As alluded to by their coach, the Terriers did fight back. Awoken by the early UMass tally, BU temporarily tied the game six minutes in as senior forward Ryan Cloonan unleashed a laser into the top right corner off the pass from graduate forward Max Willman. After being kept off the scoreboard throughout the first half of the season, it was Cloonan’s second goal in as many weeks.

“I liked the way we bounced back competitive-wise,” said O’Connell following another slow start for his Terriers. “We kept playing.”

The Minuteman lead would be restored just two minutes later, as freshman forward Bobby Trivigno tipped in a shot from sophomore defenseman Cale Makar. The assist was the 30th point of Makar’s season, and the lone point of the night for the talented Canadian who has taken Hockey East by storm.

[Makar] is about as good as anyone I’ve seen in this league in a long time,” commended BU’s O’Connell.

With four minutes left in the period, freshman defenseman Marc Del Gaizo launched a seeing-eye rocket from the blue line, soaring through a crowd in front and into the BU net. The assist went to senior forward Kurt Keats, and the teams retreated to the locker rooms for the first intermission with UMass leading 3-1.

“We kind of just took our foot off the gas at a few moments in the game,” said junior forward Patrick Curry in response to the Terriers giving up multiple goals in quick succession.

Just past the halfway point of the middle stanza, it was BU who tilted the ice on the Minutemen. During a 5-on-3 power play, a centering pass from sophomore forward Ty Amonte trickled through the UMass crease, and it was freshman forward Joel Farabee there to sweep it in and give BU their second goal of the game.

Farabee would be involved in BU’s third goal as well, flicking across a pinpoint pass to a wide-open Curry at the back post. The junior would make no mistake, tallying his eighth goal of the season and tying the game for the Terriers with less than five minutes to play in the period.

BU’s joy would be short-lived, however, as the UMass regained the lead just a minute later. In a flurry in front, the puck fell kindly to sophomore forward Philip Lagunov, who buried it from just a few feet out. John Leonard was credited with the assist for his second of the night, and UMass had the one-goal lead going into the second intermission.

Three and a half minutes into the third period, Patrick Curry added his second goal of the game to bring the Terriers even 4-4. A rebound fell to the junior, who slid it in with assists credited to sophomore defenseman Kasper Kotkansalo and Ty Amonte.

“The compete level was there all night,” said Curry after the game.

Once again though, the level scoreline would not stand for long, as freshman defenseman Ty Farmer benefitted from a convenient rebound at 8:49 off a shot from Bobby Trivigno to put the Minutemen up for good.

“We just weren’t sharp at times defensively,” said Coach O’Connell.

Farmer would fire in his second goal of the period on a breakaway inside of three minutes left to make the lead 6-4, but BU sophomore forward Logan Cockerill would reduce the advantage to one goal again less than a minute later. After Farabee came up empty on a one-on-one with the keeper, Cockerill came flying in for the rebound to get his fourth goal of the campaign.

With the goalie pulled in search of a seventh, BU would surrender a breakaway to Leonard, leaving sophomore defenseman David Farrance no choice but to take the attacker down from behind. A goal would be awarded to Leonard in place of a penalty shot on an empty net, giving the sophomore a 3-point game, and UMass a two-goal cushion.

There would be no last-second miracle for BU, and the game would finish 7-5 in favor of the Minutemen.

“It’s happened a few times this year,” recalled O’Connell. “We’ve made comebacks and we haven’t been able to get it done.”

Jake Oettinger had 27 saves in the defeat for BU, and his skaters would be the first to admit that the junior netminder was left alone at times against a potent UMass attack.

“We didn’t help Jake Oettinger out very much,” admitted Patrick Curry.

Senior co-captain Bobo Carpenter was absent Friday against UMass, and may be unavailable for the first round of the Beanpot on Monday has well.

“I think it’s like 50/50 right now,” shared Coach O’Connell.

Despite missing their leading goal scorer in Carpenter, the first-year head coach was impressed with his team’s offensive output against the Minutemen.

“Not having him and scoring five goals – if you gave me that before the game, I would have said I liked my chances.”

While a loss is never a result to be satisfied with, O’Connell was proud of his team’s effort against the second ranked team in college hockey.

“It was a tight game from start to finish,” said the BU coach.

The Terriers will now turn their attention to the Beanpot, which kicks off on Monday night at 8pm when BU will take on Northeastern in a rematch of last year’s championship game.

Photos by the Boston Hockey Blog’s Emily Hunter.

Terriers set to host #2 UMass on Friday in greatest test thus far

In a final tune-up before the Beanpot, the Boston University men’s hockey team will host the University of Massachusetts on Friday night in one of the Terriers’ greatest tests of the season thus far.

While history may favor BU (10-10-3, 8-5-2 Hockey East), who have not lost to the Minutemen (19-5, 11-3 Hockey East) since 2013, a victory over this UMass team is by no means a guarantee. The Minutemen have been consistently ranked among the top teams in college hockey all season, including multiple stints holding the number one spot in the Division 1 rankings.

This season, UMass has the 2nd highest scoring offense in D1 hockey, averaging 3.79 goals per game. Individually, senior forward Jacob Pritchard holds a team-best 31 points on 12 goals and 19 assists, while sophomore forward Mitchell Chaffee leads the team with 15 goals. Chaffee has also been recognized on a national level, currently tied for third among all Division 1 players with an average of .65 goals per game.

On the defensive end, the Minutemen have been nearly as dominant as they have been in attack. UMass has allowed the fifth fewest goals per game in the NCAA’s top division with only 1.96 goals conceded on average. Anchoring the defensive effort has been sophomore goaltender Matt Murray, who is fifth in college hockey in terms of save percentage, turning away 93 percent of all shots faced.

While the Minutemen boast the joint-best winning percentage in Division 1 at .792, the Hockey East leaders have stumbled as of late. UMass fell 1-2 in a visit to Northeastern on January 19, before splitting a series at the University of Maine between the 25th and 26th. The team’s current road swing could be responsible for the Minutemen’s drop in form, as all but one of their losses have come away from home ice.

Like UMass, BU will also be entering Friday’s contest coming off a loss, as the Terriers fell 3-0 to #17/15 Arizona State University on  January 26. After benefitting from some fortunate bounces to put up four goals in a 4-2 victory over the Sun Devils the night prior, the Terrier offense came up dry in the second game of the weekend series. It was the first time in nine games that the Terriers had been held goalless, a streak dating back to December 1st.

“The team that wants it more usually wins,” said BU Head Coach Albie O’Connell in the minutes after the loss to the Sun Devils. “Arizona State wanted the game more.”

The Terriers were without a few significant names last Saturday night, as junior netminder Jake Oettinger and senior forward Bobo Carpenter each got the night off during the loss. After appearing in every one of BU’s 22 contests prior, Oettinger was replaced by freshman Vinnie Purpura, who made 36 saves in his debut with the Terriers.

“Our goalie was our best player,” remarked Coach O’Connell after the game regarding Purpura, who joined the Terriers during the winter break.

As for the captain and leading goal scorer, Coach Albie O’Connell reported that Carpenter had been banged up going into Friday’s contest, in which he was still able to tally his 100th point as a Terrier – joining a list of only 82 BU hockey alum who have hit the century mark.

“I love Bobo,” commended Coach O’Connell following Carpenter’s milestone game. “Everything he gets, he deserves.”

While a rest was certainly deserved by these two star Terriers, all hands will be on deck for this week’s meeting with UMass. BU’s two-game home-and-home set against the Minutemen will be split between the first two Friday nights of February, separated by the first round of the Beanpot on Monday the 4th.

It will be a challenging stretch for the Terriers, but one that will be crucial to their season, simultaneously fighting to claim a Beanpot title and climb up the Hockey East standings.

The Terriers will take the ice against the Minutemen at 7:30pm on Friday, February 1. We will have minute-by-minute coverage of the game through our live blog, accessible through this website or our twitter account.

Terrier offense stifled by Sun Devils in Purpura’s debut

Looking to build on a Friday night victory over the Sun Devils, the Boston University men’s hockey team was upended by #17/15 Arizona State 3-0 on Saturday night to split the weekend series.

“We have had a lot of benchmark wins this year. This one is going to rank at the top though,” stated ASU head coach Greg Powers.

Freshman Vinnie Purpura made his first start in goal for the Terriers (10-10-3, 8-5-2 HE), giving junior Jake Oettinger a well-deserved rest after appearing in every one of BU’s 22 games thus far. Coming from the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL, Purpura was added to the Terrier roster during the winter break, and has already made a positive impression in his first few weeks with the squad.

“He looks good,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell. “He’s calm at practice, and he was really calm before the game.”

There was little to separate the two teams in the first period, and neither side could break the deadlock through 20 minutes. Purpura started the game flawlessly in the BU crease, turning away all ten Sun Devil efforts, while BU were kept off the board on their nine shots on goal by ASU junior netminder Joey Daccord.

In the second period, it was the Sun Devils (17-10-1) who tilted the ice and took control. Sophomore forward Filips Buncis drew first blood for ASU three minutes into the period, lofting a shot over Purpura in four-on-four play after a pass from senior forward Anthony Croston. It was the second time in as many nights that the duo linked up for a goal.

After an ASU onslaught that saw the Terriers pinned deep in their own zone for much of the period, sophomore forward Johnny Walker made the Sun Devil lead two at 18:46 with his nation-leading 20th goal of the season. Among a crowd in front of Purpura, Walker got a stick on a drive from freshman defenseman Josh Maniscalco, with the second assist credited to senior forward Dylan Hollman.

“It’s just what he does,” reacted Coach Powers regarding Walker.

Arizona State may have doubled BU in shots on goal 18-9 in the second stanza, but O’Connell knows his team left opportunities on the table in the middle period.

“We had a ton of chances,” said the first-year manager. “We could have had 50 shots tonight if we were willing to shoot the puck.”

With the Sun Devils holding a two-goal lead going into the final 20 minutes, it was Walker again who provided the Sun Devils with their third goal to all but seal the victory for Arizona State.  Nearing the halfway point in the period, the standout attacker tossed home a rebound opportunity, with the assists by junior Brett Gruber and sophomore Jacob Wilson.

With his star forward kept quiet the night prior by the Terriers, Powers knew that Walker was poised for a big night the second time around.

“Johnny’s always confident, trust me” laughed the 11-year veteran.

The game got scrappy in the end, but Arizona State would finish the 3-0 victors. It was the first win over BU in program history for the Sun Devils.

“The team that wants it more usually wins,” remarked Coach O’Connell. “Arizona State wanted the game more.”

As for the hosts, it was the first game in nine that the Terriers were held goalless through sixty minutes – a streak dating back to December 1st when BU drew with Boston College 0-0.

“Our goalie was our best player,” said O’Connell of Purpura, who made 36 saves in the loss. “It was a really good effort by him.”

The Terriers will face a tough test next Friday, as they host UMass to conclude their 5-game homestand.

Lighting the Lamp: Jan. 25, 2019

In this week’s episode of Lighting the Lamp, Brady Gardner and Liam O’Brien recap everything that has happened in BU hockey since the end of last semester. The guys begin on the men’s side, covering everything from a solid win over Dartmouth to conclude 2018 to a blowout victory over Merrimack in the team’s most recent game. They also take a look at an exciting series against Arizona State coming up at the end of the week.

Switching over to the women’s side, Brady and Liam revisit the Terriers’ tough stretch to finish December, but impressive start to the new year. They also give their thoughts on what has been the key to the team’s success as of late and recognize some key contributors who have been leading the team.

It’s the first episode in more than a month, so come get your BU hockey fix by listening to Lighting the Lamp.

Terriers flex their offensive muscle in 7-2 trouncing of Merrimack

Looking to return to winning ways after a devastating late loss to Quinnipiac, the BU men’s hockey team broke out for three unanswered goals in the third period to down Merrimack, 7-2.

Freshman Chase Gresock got the Warriors (7-17-1, 4-11 Hockey East) on the board first with a goal immediately from a faceoff win by senior Derek Petti just over eight minutes into the game. It was the third straight game that saw the Terriers (9-9-3, 8-5-2 Hockey East) go down early, having fallen behind by two goals in the first period against both Providence and Quinnipiac.

However, as they did against both the Friars and Bobcats, the Terriers would respond well to the early deficit. At 14:34, David Farrance powered in a shot from the point on the power play to knot the game up at one. It was the sophomore’s third goal of the season, with assists from juniors Patrick Harper and Patrick Curry.

“Just get the next goal” was the mantra Farrance identified as his team’s key to coming back after conceding first.

With less than a minute remaining in the first period, BU would earn the lead through senior Ryan Cloonan with the assist credited to sophomore Cam Crotty. In a frenzy in front of the net, it was Cloonan who jammed the puck in to give the Terriers the advantage at the break, tallying his first goal of the season.

“It was a sigh of relief,” joked Cloonan about finally scoring his first as a senior.

Not only was it the first tally of Cloonan’s 2018-19 season, but it was also his first since his freshman campaign. Still, BU head coach Albie O’Connell has been impressed by the play of the Massachusetts native.

“He’s played really well in the second half, and for the most part, all year”, commented the first-year manager.

In the second frame, BU doubled their lead through a shorthanded goal by graduate student Max Willman at 9:39. The former Brown University Bear showed impressive speed to escape Warrior defense, and made a nifty move to pot his first goal of the season.

“He scored a really nice goal,” commended Coach O’Connell. “Hopefully that gives him a little bit of confidence.”

With Willman and linemate Cloonan both scoring their first goals of the season, Coach O’Connell seemed optimistic about the potential for the two veterans to contribute offensively down the stretch.

“[Those were] two guys with no goals, now they have a goal each, and hopefully that can springboard those guys and give us some more scoring.”

Junior Patrick Harper would make the BU lead three at 13:17 in the period, attacking a loose puck just outside the Merrimack crease for his second goal of the campaign. Only 20 seconds later, Merrimack freshman Logan Drevitch would negate the Harper goal with a breakaway effort to send the teams into the final intermission at 4-2.

The game became a rout in the third, as BU tacked on three goals in nine minutes to seal the victory. Junior Dante Fabbro kicked off the onslaught with a rocket on the power play for his fifth of the season, assisted by junior Chad Krys and freshman Joel Farabee.

Just four minutes later, Farabee assisted again, banking a pass off Merrimack netminder Craig Pantano and into position for sophomore Shane Bowers to net his ninth of the campaign. After four more minutes, David Farrance fired in his second of the game to cap off the victory for BU, assisted by junior Patrick Harper and sophomore Kasper Kotkansalo.

With his third and fourth goals of the season, Farrance has already surpassed his total posted in his freshman campaign.

“I think I just have a lot more experience now”, said the sophomore. “the game is coming a little easier.”

The 7-2 BU victory was a far cry from the 4-0 thrashing the Terriers took at the hands of the Warriors back in October.

“Tonight they had their legs, and we had trouble keeping up”, remarked Merrimack coach Scott Borek.

From BU’s perspective, it was exactly the performance the Terriers needed to rebound from a heartbreaking loss against Quinnipiac two nights before.

“They gave a good effort and played pretty physical tonight,” said O’Connell. “It was big.”

The Terriers will return to the ice on Friday night as they host a weekend series against Arizona State (16-9-1) in their final nonconference fixtures of the campaign, excluding the Beanpot.

BU look to bounce back against Merrimack in MLK Day Matinee

Following their first defeat of 2019, the BU Men’s Hockey team will look to return to winning ways against Merrimack in a late afternoon clash on Martin Luther King Day.

The Warriors (7-16-1, 4-10 in HE) topped the Terriers (8-9-3, 7-5-2 in HE) by a score of 4-0 in the teams’ first meeting back on October 20, defending home ice with a dominant effort on both ends. Senior Mike Babcock and junior Logan Coomes scored early for Merrimack, and junior Johnathan Kovacevic and sophomore Laine McKay added insurance late. Senior Craig Pantano had 34 saves in the victorious shut-out, while a BU combination of juniors Jake Oettinger and Max Prawdzik came up with 24 saves collectively.

It was the first time the Terriers were held goalless by the Warriors in the history of the fixture,  and the third defeat in BU’s 0-4 start to competitive play. However, the team found life following a fourth loss to post a tie and three wins in their next four games. Trending in the opposite direction, Merrimack fell in two contests following their victory against BU, though both losses came against the University of Massachusetts, who have established themselves as one of the top squads in collegiate hockey all season long.

In their most recent fixture, the Terriers fell 4-3 to Quinnipiac in heartbreaking fashion through a last-second goal by former Terrier Brandon Fortunado. BU fought back from being down multiple times in the contest, overcoming a two-goal deficit in the first period, and then leveling the game again in the third after the Bobcats had regained a one-goal advantage. BU’s loss was their first of the new year, having tied and won two games in 2019 ahead of the Quinnipiac matchup.

While he did recognize his team’s resiliency, BU head coach Albie O’Connell knows his team can do better.

We really got out-competed in those first two periods,” remarked the first-year manager. “[There is] a lack of competitive spirit at times.”

After winning three consecutive games over Northeastern, Michigan and Connecticut, Merrimack also dropped their last contest with a 5-0 thumping against the University of New Hampshire on January 18. The Warriors’ struggles did not result from a lack of opportunities, as Merrimack tallied 25 shots in comparison to UNH’s 20, and gained the benefit of five Wildcat penalties. Defensively, five goals against is by no means a desirable total to concede, so Merrimack will be looking to recover on both sides in their visit to BU.

Providing an offensive spark for the Warriors will be junior Tyler Irving, who holds a team-best 16 points and 11 assists. BU’s points leader, Dante Fabbro, has 18 this season, and leads the team in assists as well, with 14. Freshman Chase Gresock leads Merrimack in goals with six, while BU senior Bobo Carpenter has 10, holding the title as the only Terrier with a double-digit goal total thus far. Netminders Pantano and Oettinger carry save percentages of .896 and .923 respectively.

Merrimack have entered a stretch of Hockey East clashes that will close out their season, currently holding a record of 1-1 since this run of divisional games began on January 12.  As for BU, the Terriers will take a brief break from conference play to host a weekend series with Arizona State following the Merrimack game, before finishing the season with Hockey East matchups the rest of the way, and the ever-anticipated Beanpot in early February. All attention for both teams is on Monday’s game though, with momentum on the line and crucial Hockey East points up for grabs.

How does Coach O’Connell think his team will respond from the devastating loss to Quinnipiac?

“Don’t know yet,” responded the smirking head coach.

BU vs. Merrimack can be watched on NESN and TSN, or listened to through GoTerriers.com. Puck drop is at 4pm, and the Boston Hockey Blog will have constant coverage of the game through the live blog.

Former Terrier Fortunato gets the last laugh in dramatic 4-3 win over BU

Former Terrier Brandon Fortunato netted an early goal and a last-second game-winner to lead #7/6 Quinnipiac by BU 4-3 at Agganis Arena on Saturday night.

The Bobcats (17-5-1, 7-4-1 in ECAC) took the quick lead less than four minutes in on a short-side shot by freshman Desi Burgart that snuck by junior netminder Jake Oettinger. Quinnipiac would double their lead at 12:37 through Fortunato, who fired a wrist shot from Oettinger’s right that got through a sea of Bobcats and Terriers in front before finding the top right corner.

Fortunato was a Terrier for two years, before joining Quinnipiac ahead of his junior campaign.

“When he was here, he was really good for us,” remarked BU head coach Albie O’Connell. “Things just didn’t work out.”

Going behind by two goals for their second game in a row, the Terriers (8-9-3, 7-5-2 in Hockey East) dug in, and found their opener just two minutes after Bobcats’ second, as a feed in front by sophomore Ty Amonte found the upper body of junior Patrick Curry at the goalmouth and redirected into the Quinnipiac goal. It was Curry’s sixth goal on the season, and Amonte’s third assist.

With less than two minutes to play in the period, Amonte then provided BU with their equalizer, firing a shot by junior goaltender Andrew Shortridge while the Terriers were on the penalty kill. Willman’s assist was his fourth in the 2018-19 campaign, and Amonte’s goal was his fifth, capping off a two-point period for the Norwell, Mass. native. Still, despite his team’s rally to come back, O’Connell wasn’t satisfied with BU’s early effort.

“When you play a good hockey team, you have to start on time,” said the BU coach.

The offensive fireworks stalled in the middle stanza, as both netminders came up with big saves on top-tier opportunities. The lone goal of the period came from Quinnipiac freshman Daniel Winslow who poked home a pass inside to regain the Bobcats lead 6:22 into the second. The Terriers threatened with power play chances throughout the period, but ultimately headed into second intermission down 3-2.

It didn’t take long into the game’s final frame for BU to find their third goal, as sophomore Shane Bowers lit the lamp 7:35 into period on a feed in front from senior Ryan Cloonan. The goal continued Bowers’ hot streak of three goals in two games, and gave the Canadian his eighth tally of the season. The assist for Cloonan marked his third as a senior, all coming within the last four games.

The teams traded opportunities for the rest of the third, with the most notable coming on a penalty shot won by Quinnipiac sophomore Joe O’Connor. However, the defenseman’s bid was denied by Oettinger, who flawlessly turned away wave after wave of Quinnipiac attacks throughout the period en route to a 40-save performance.

“That was a huge play in the game,” commended O’Connell regarding Oettinger’s penalty shot save. “I think Jake has played really well these last 5, 6 games.”

Oettinger’s counterpart Shortridge was equally impressive late for the Bobcats, and the game remained deadlocked into the waning moments of the period. However, on the final rush of regulation, a last-second effort by Brandon Fortunato on a goalmouth scramble found the back of the net with two seconds to play. It was the senior’s second score of the game, and a goal holding special significance for the former Terrier.

“It’s a pretty special feeling”, said Fortunato. “I felt good out there.”

With their 2019 unbeaten streak broken in heartbreaking fashion, the Terriers will look to turn the page quickly as they host Merrimack on Monday at 4pm.