Junior defensemen Dante Fabbro and Chad Krys combined for three goals and six assists in the Boston University men’s hockey team’s convincing 5-1 win over Merrimack College on Saturday at Agganis Arena.
“[Fabbro and Krys] offensively and defensively were very good,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell.
It was Senior Night at Agganis Arena, as Class of 2019 Terriers Ryan Cloonan, Max Prawdzik, Shane Switzer, Max Willman and captain Bobo Carpenter were recognized in a ceremony before the game.
“It was a big night for the Seniors,” O’Connell said.
It was an especially significant game for captain Carpenter, who made his first appearance in over a month after being kept out for ten games with a lower body injury.
“He’s got a smile on his face,” said O’Connell of his returning captain. “I hadn’t seen him smile in a while.”
The four skaters would lead the Terriers (14-15-4, 12-8-3 Hockey East) into the meeting with Merrimack (7-24-3, 4-18-12 Hockey East) as starters for the opening puck drop, and Prawdzik would enter the game late in the third period.
“I thought the Seniors played well,” O’Connell said after the game.
The Terriers came flying out of the gates, capitalizing on the game’s first penalty with a power play goal four minutes into the period.
After seeing his stick snap on a one-timer attempt just seconds before, junior defenseman Dante Fabbro would grab a new twig and immediately find the back of the net on a shot that redirected off a Warrior skate and inside the far post to put BU up 1-0. The tally came on passes from freshman forward Joel Farabee and Krys, assisting the co-captain’s seventh goal of the season.
Fabbro and Krys would factor in again for BU’s second goal later in the period, as this time it was the penalty-killing unit that provided a goal for the Terriers.
Skating shorthanded 11 minutes in, sophomore forward Ty Amonte spotted a seam in the Warrior defense. Receiving the puck from Krys, Dante Fabbro slid a pinpoint pass forward to Amonte, who deked goaltender Craig Pantano and slipped the puck into a gaping net. Making the lead 2-0, Amonte’s seventh tally of the campaign also brought BU’s shorthanded goal total to a nation-leading 10 on the season.
“I think we had no goals five-on-five,” said O’Connell in regards to his team’s effectiveness in special teams play to put up five goals without a tally at even strength.
While unsuccessful with their two chances on the man advantage, Merrimack would find their legs in the second half of the opening frame. Freshman forward Chase Gresock tallied five shots on target by himself, carrying the visitors to a 17-7 advantage in shots on goal by the end of the period.
We have to be willing to shoot the puck,” O’Connell said about trying to match Merrimack’s offense shot-for-shot.
BU would weather the Warrior storm, holding the 2-0 lead at the break.
With Merrimack taking another penalty three minutes into the second period, BU’s power play unit would go to work once again.
Just twenty seconds into the man advantage, co-captains Fabbro and Carpenter combined to set up Krys with time at the left circle. Taking the space given to him, the assistant captain would unleash a laser past Pantano to provide the third-year Terrier with his sixth goal of the season, and BU with the three-goal cushion.
“The first goal was teed up for me pretty well,” said Krys. “You kind of grip it and rip it at that point.”
Never deterred, Merrimack clawed one back four minutes later, persisting with the pressure that would result in a 30-20 shots-on-target lead by the end of the frame.
Nearing the contest’s halfway point, forward Jordan Seyfert found forward Logan Drevitch shuffling in to junior netminder Jake Oettinger’s right. Firing away uncontested from the dot, Drevitch would beat the keeper to the far post, reducing the Terrier lead back to two with a 3-1 score line.
Nine minutes into the period with the Terriers down a man again, Merrimack would concede a penalty of their own, and the Terriers would get the better of the Warriors in four-on-four play.
At the 9:35 mark in the second stanza, Fabbro hit an open Krys from the first draw after the Merrimack penalty. From one hot hand to another, Krys reached the same position he took aim from for his first tally, and the result was no different. The junior’s shot trickled through Pantano and over the goal line, boosting the Terrier lead to 4-1.
Krys’ two-goal night was just the second of his career, which has seen the Connecticut native find the back of the net 19 times through his three seasons. Krys’ father Mark, who also donned the scarlet and white between 1987 and 1991, only scored one goal as a Terrier.
“I scored more goals tonight than he did in his career,” joked Krys about his father.
With a back-and-forth second half of the middle period, both teams would threaten late, including a five-on-three opportunity for the Warriors. Following the theme of solid special teams play, the Terrier penalty killers would get the job done.
After 40 minutes, BU were still on top, 4-1.
With the power play unit firing on all cylinders through two periods, it was no surprise when BU were successful for the fourth time with the extra skater.
A minute into a Merrimack penalty, Krys tossed the puck to Fabbro, who moved it along to Joel Farabee in the Terrier zone. The Philadelphia Flyers prospect did the rest, soaring through the Warrior defense and made a slick move to beat Drew Vogler, who had taken over for Pantano in net. Coming at the 3:33 mark, it was Farabee’s team-leading 13th tally, and the fourth assist of the night for Fabbro to make the lead 5-1.
“The goal that Joel scored was a highlight reel [goal], ” O’Connell said.
Killing off two penalties in the final eleven minutes, the Terriers put the finishing touches on an impressive victory. Oettinger would finish with 32 saves in just over 50 minutes between the pipes, and Prawdzik had four of his own after coming on in relief for the game’s final moments.
According to O’Connell, “special teams and goaltending at this time of the year [are] going to be important.”
The game would conclude with BU the 5-1 victors.
It was a ten-point night for the defensive pair of Dante Fabbro and Chad Krys. Both were involved in every Terrier tally, as Fabbro notched one goal and five assists, while Krys knocked in two goals of his own to go along with three helpers.
“Our defense helped our offense tonight for sure,” said O’Connell.
The big win pushed the BU point streak to five games, and kept the Terriers in the hunt for home-ice in the Hockey East playoffs. With one game to play, the fifth-place Terriers now sit just one point outside the final position to host a quarterfinal matchup, currently occupied by UMass Lowell. With Saturday’s results across the league, BU is confirmed to finish between third and fifth in the division.
“[The win] was definitely huge for us heading down the stretch here,” said Fabbro.
The Terriers will march north to Orono to face off against the University of Maine in the regular season finale next Saturday at 7pm.