BU’s season comes to an end with 2-1 overtime loss to Northeastern in Hockey East semifinal

Playing with their season on the line in the 2019 Hockey East semifinals at the TD Garden, the Boston University men’s hockey team fell to Northeastern University in overtime, 2-1.

BU head coach Albie O’Connell put it best: “it’s not fun being on the wrong side of it.”

It was a familiar matchup at the Garden, as BU (16-18-4) and Northeastern (26-10-1) had met on February 4 for the Beanpot semifinals. That contest was decided in overtime by a score of 2-1, 53 days before the result would be repeated in Hockey East tournament play.

“We knew that there was a little bit of an incentive there for them,” said Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan, acknowledging the Terriers’ hunt for Beanpot revenge.

The Terriers suffered a major blow in the hours leading up to the game, as freshman forward and leading scorer Joel Farabee was announced unavailable due to a lower-body injury suffered in the final game of the quarterfinal series against the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

“We had a bunch of guys who were pretty dinged up,” O’Connell said.

Despite missing their offensive leader, the Terriers came out on the front foot, gaining the immediate advantage in zone time. Senior forward and co-captain Bobo Carpenter and sophomore forward Shane Bowers both saw Northeastern netminder Cayden Primeau turn away their early attempts.

The Huskies would finally turn things around past the halfway point in the period, maintaining possession in the offensive zone and getting dangerous chances from defensemen Jeremy Davies and Eric Williams.

With the first period winding down, the Terriers regained their rhythm, and nearly broke the game’s deadlock.

On a rebound chance in the slot, sophomore forward Logan Cockerill spun and fired one by Primeau. However, the officials would review the play, ultimately determining that Carpenter had interfered with the Husky keeper on the edge of the crease, nullifying the goal.

With the Terrier tally taken off the board, the teams would return to the locker rooms still level at 0-0.

“They took the play to us a little bit in the first,” recalled Madigan.

Beginning the second period, it was Northeastern who grabbed the majority of the zone time in the period’s opening minutes. The Huskies’ pressure was boosted by the game’s first power play, but the Terrier penalty killers held on to survive the two minutes.

Receiving a power play of their own, BU flipped play to the Northeastern end, and earned an opener that would stay on the board.

As the Husky penalty expired at 7:39, sophomore defenseman David Farrance let go a long drive that fell in front. Picking up the rebound, sophomore forward Ty Amonte caught Primeau sprawling out and roofed the shot to beat the recently-named Hockey East goaltender of the year.

“They’re hard to beat,” said Madigan, who had seen his team concede four consecutive goals to the Terriers in BU’s lone win over Northeastern back in November.

The teams would trade punches on unsuccessful odd-man rushes and well-worked shot opportunities, with the best chance coming for BU junior forward Patrick Harper, who rang the post from close range on the pinpoint feed from Cockerill.

Northeastern turned up the heat late in the period with shots from defenseman Jeremy Davies and forward Tyler Madden, among others. Still, BU junior goalkeeper Jake Oettinger stayed perfect, accumulating 18 saves in the second period compared to 8 in the first.

The frame would come to an end on a scrappy note, with a late scuffle resulting in four-on-four play to conclude the period. The late intensity set up for an exciting final 20 minutes, as the Terriers took a 1-0 lead into the second intermission.

We’ve come a long way as a team,” said O’Connell, referring to BU’s newfound sense of tenacity and unity he had noted after the quarterfinal series in Lowell.

With both teams skating four-on-four to open the third, it did not take Northeastern very long to find their equalizer.

16 seconds into the period, forward Matt Filipe drove in on the backhand, and pulled the puck back to a streaking Madden. The standout freshman did the rest, beating Oettinger just as he had in February to overcome BU in the Beanpot semifinals.

“We’ve excelled in the third period,” Madigan said. “There’s a confidence level.”

With the Husky fans finding their voice and the team sensing an opportunity for a lead, Northeastern nearly grabbed a go-ahead goal at the 13:19 mark.

Crashing the Terrier net, forward Brandon Hawkins could not get through Oettinger, but the puck would slide across the line on the second effort from forward Lincoln Griffin. Upon review, goaltender interference was called once again, this time against Hawkins for the initial net drive.

Gaining a lifeline on the disallowed goal, BU found new energy, coming closest on a rocket from sophomore forward Shane Bowers that glanced off the iron and into the protective netting above Cayden Primeau.

“We had chances to make some plays,” said O’Connell.

The second half of the period would feature porous defense, but masterful goaltending to make up for it. Primeau kept out bids from the likes of Cockerill and Amonte, while Oettinger denied good looks from Huskies such as forwards Grant Jozefek and Zach Solow to counter Primeau.

Back-and-forth play and late power plays for both teams would not be enough to separate the sides, who would require overtime just as they did back in the Beanpot matchup, tied 1-1.

As O’Connell put it simply, “it was a tight game.”

Moving into the extra frame, the Huskies tilted the ice early, but would not find a winner in the first minute like they did in February. The Terrier defense held firm, including an impressive kill of a power play three and a half minutes in.

“I thought our guys played really hard,” O’Connell said.

BU were able to gain opportunities as overtime wore on, with promising chances from Carpenter and Cockerill falling apart in great positions. Freshman forward Matt Quercia would have BU’s best look of the fourth period, jamming away at a resilient Primeau just outside the crease.

“We had some chances that we didn’t capitalize on,” claimed O’Connell.

While the Terriers looked to have taken the upper hand, it was clear that fatigue was becoming a factor. With 4:16 to play in overtime, Northeastern would take advantage.

Holding the puck deep in the left corner, Brandon Hawkins zipped it centrally for Zach Solow. Receiving the pass in the slot, Solow ripped one top shelf, taking Northeastern to the conference title game and pushing BU into the offseason.

“You have to tip your cap to them,” said O’Connell. “They made a play in a critical time of the game.”

The final score was a repeat of BU’s Beanpot defeat at the hands of the Huskies, and also marked the first loss all season for the Terriers when leading after two periods.

As Madigan suggested, “this game could’ve gone either way.”

Northeastern’s win was their program-record 26th of the season. The Huskies will play for a 27th tomorrow when they take on Boston College in the Hockey East final before turning their attention to the national tournament.

“[I’m] thrilled we’re in the championship,” Madigan said.

With the semifinal defeat, the Terriers’ season has come to an end. BU will graduate five skaters: captain Bobo Carpenter, Ryan Cloonan, Max Prawdzik, Shane Switzer, and Max Willman.

“The seniors played really hard,” credited O’Connell.

As the offseason begins, stay tuned for reflection on the 2018-19 season and team updates in anticipation of the 2019-20 campaign right here on the Boston Hockey Blog.

 

 

 

 

 

Terriers ride first period flurry to 4-1 win and series victory over UMass Lowell

The Boston University men’s hockey team knocked off the University of Massachusetts at Lowell in a series-clinching 4-1 win on Sunday at Lowell’s Tsongas Center.

“I thought we played a good hockey game from start to finish,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell.

Having split the weekend’s first two games, the teams met for a third time on Sunday to determine who would be advancing to the TD Garden for next week’s Hockey East semifinals.

“We’ve been in this situation before,” O’Connell mentioned, referring to BU’s experience in win-or-go-home contests.

Saturday’s Game Two finished on a physical note, as brawls broke out after nearly every whistle late in the contest. Going into Game Three, it was clear that some bad blood had developed between the two teams, making the series-decider all the more contentious.

“We knew it was going to be a really physical and tough game,” said freshman forward Joel Farabee.

Among the aggression in Game Two, senior forward Bobo Carpenter took a hard hit in the final seconds, resulting in a suspension for UML forward Lucas Condotta. Carpenter’s status was uncertain on Sunday morning, but at game time, the captain was right there to take the opening draw.

UMass Lowell opened the scoring 3:37 into Saturday’s Game Two, but BU one-upped the hosts in Game Three, striking first at the 2:34 mark.

Flooding the RiverHawk end, junior forward Patrick Harper fed classmate Chad Krys joining the rush from his defensive position. The assistant captain made no mistake, scoring his first goal of the series to get BU off on the front foot.

“We came out fast and they didn’t,” Farabee said.

The Terriers nearly made the lead two just past the period’s halfway point on a redirection by sophomore forward Logan Cockerill in front that got by netminder Christoffer Hernberg. However, the goal would be disallowed, as Cockerill had tipped the puck with a high stick.

It would not take the Terriers very long after the Cockerill chance to find their second tally, with freshman forward Joel Farabee coming through for his fourth goal of the series.

Krys became the provider on this occasion, moving the puck to Farabee as the clock ticked towards eight minutes left in the frame. Gaining the line, the first-year phenom found space near the right dot, and fired one by Hernberg to double the Terrier lead.

“I saw a little opening,” recalled Farabee. “It felt pretty good.”

Sensing blood in the water, BU threatened on a power play with 3:39 left in the period, with sophomore forward Ty Amonte getting a pair of point-blank looks. While the Terrier man advantage was unsuccessful, BU wouldn’t have to wait long for their third goal.

Junior forward Patrick Curry had set up the two Amonte attempts, and the third try proved to be the charm. 13 seconds after the power play expired, Curry found Patrick Harper, who whipped it home from close range to pot his first goal in six games.

Lowell head coach Norm Bazin had seen enough, and Hernberg was replaced by New York Rangers prospect Tyler Wall, who had been the victorious netminder in Game Two.

“He wasn’t himself,” said Bazin about Hernberg. “You have those days as a goalie.”

The first period defensive effort from BU was just as impressive as the attacking output. The RiverHawks were held to just three shots on goal in the opening frame, with none in the final 12 minutes.

“We didn’t generate enough shots tonight,” Coach Bazin admitted.

With all the wind in their sails, BU took a 3-0 lead into the first intermission. It was sweet revenge for the visitors, who had been stunned on Saturday night by three first period goals from the RiverHawks.

“It was one of the best first periods we’ve had all year,” said O’Connell.

Having built up a three-goal advantage, the Terriers were content to sacrifice attacking threats in order to protect the defensive end. BU only attempted eight shots on target in the second compared to 15 in the first, but also held Lowell to eight in the process.

Junior goaltender Jake Oettinger was rock-solid in the BU net, calmly turning away RiverHawk efforts from all angles. The assistant captain’s finest stops of the frame came on a double-save to first deny forward Connor Sodergren, and then keep out forward Nick Master’s follow-up opportunity.

“I thought their goalie made a couple really good saves,” Bazin noted regarding Oettinger.

While Oettinger’s timely saves were crucial, the Terrier defense was equally responsible for the clean sheet through 40 minutes. BU’s skaters tallied a whopping 8 blocks in the period to match Oettinger’s save total from the middle frame.

“They earned it,” said Coach O’Connell of his Terriers.

With forty minutes in the books, BU’s 3-0 lead still stood, and so did their lopsided shots on target advantage, which had become 21-11.

With the hosts growing desperate as time in the third period ticked away, the RiverHawks found hope with their first goal of the game with 12 minutes left in regulation.

With forward Connor Wilson holding the puck high in the attacking zone, the UML captain zipped a pass to forward Kenny Hausinger between the dots. The junior carried the puck to shooting position and found the top right corner to bring the score to 3-1.

Unfazed by the Hausinger score, Oettinger the skaters in front of him regained their rhythm, keeping Lowell to the lone goal as the RiverHawks turned up the heat seeking a late comeback.

“We couldn’t convert,” said Bazin.

With Wall having vacated the UML crease, the Terriers defenders would deservedly be rewarded in the final minute.

Withstanding RiverHawk pressure, BU gained possession and quickly turned defense into offense. Cockerill led the break towards the gaping net, and unselfishly laid the puck off to a trailing Harper to tap home, completing the three-point night and securing the BU victory.

According to O’Connell, “[Harper] was terrific.”

The teams would skate out the final 52 seconds, and BU emerged victorious – 4-1 in the game, and 2-1 in the series.

“It’s no mistake that we came out and took care of business today,” Farabee claimed after the game.

The series win marked the eighth consecutive season in which the Terriers were able to advance beyond the first round of the playoffs.

“I’m really happy for our players,” said Coach O’Connell. “Really excited for them.”

BU will move on to the TD Garden in Boston for next Friday’s Hockey East semifinals, taking on Northeastern with a spot in Saturday’s tournament championship up for grabs.

“I’d be scared to play the Terriers at the Garden,” remarked Farabee.

BU comeback bid not enough as UMass Lowell extend series to Game Three

Returning to the University of Massachusetts at Lowell for Game Two of the Hockey East Quarterfinals on Friday night, the Boston University men’s hockey team turned in a valiant effort, but ultimately could not catch up to the hosts, who took the contest, 6-4.

“I’ll give our guys credit,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell. “We battled hard.”

The RiverHawks (19-12-5) were playing for their lives on Saturday night, as BU (15-17-4) had taken the series opener on Friday night, 3-0. As Friday’s rematch progressed, it became clear that the second contest would not be a repeat of the first.

“It was a lot different than last night,” O’Connell acknowledged.

After being held goalless in Game One, the RiverHawks came out flying in Game Two, scoring their first goal of the series just four minutes after the opening puck drop.

On the game’s first power play, defenseman Chase Blackmun received a pass from forward Reid Stefanson and unleashed a seeing-eye rocket from the point that found its way through a crowd and into the Terrier net.

“It’s easier leading than chasing the game,” said UML head coach Norm Bazin, emphasizing the importance of getting on the board first.

BU reacted well to the early deficit, coming closest on a drive from freshman forward Joel Farabee that clanked off the iron. However, despite the Terriers’ energy, the game’s next goal would come for the hosts.

Just past the period’s halfway point, BU conceded two overlapping penalties. The Terriers survived the majority of the five-on-three situation, but in the final seconds, forward Connor Wilson fed forward Ryan Dmowski in front, who pounded it home to make the lead two.

“I think the referees got involved early,” said O’Connell, reacting to the four penalties called against his team in the first period.

63 seconds after the Dmowski goal, the RiverHawks would pot a third, equaling BU’s total from a night prior in just twelve and a half minutes.

Dmowski was a provider on this occasion, moving the puck to linemate Charlie Levesque, who then set up forward Kenny Hausinger to fire it in from the right of BU junior netminder Jake Oettinger.

The Terriers would manage a few threats late in the period, but could not cut into the deficit through the opening 20 minutes. Despite holding an 11-9 advantage in shots on goal, the visitors trailed 3-0 going into the first intermission.

“I thought we outplayed them in the first period to be honest with you,” O’Connell said.

If three first period goals on Saturday after none in Friday’s contest foreshadowed a Game Two goal-fest, the second period provided all the evidence that the game would, in fact, be a high-scoring affair.

BU kicked things off in the middle stanza with a power play goal just 1:19 into the frame, as junior forward Patrick Curry knocked in a slap-pass from sophomore defenseman David Farrance. Junior forward Patrick Harper was awarded with the second assist, and BU had their first goal.

The two-goal advantage was restored by UML on a power play of their own two minutes later, with the red-hot Dmowski taking a pass from Hausinger, slipping through the Terrier defense, and picking the corner to make the score 4-1.

“[There were] some catastrophic mistakes on our part defensively,” said O’Connell.

Down by three, BU rallied for two goals in quick succession, both coming with the Terriers gaining the benefit of an extra skater.

The first of the pair came with a delayed penalty called against UMass Lowell and the sixth attacker on for BU. Sophomore forward Shane Bowers set up classmate defenseman Cam Crotty to line in a bullet from the left circle, scoring his second goal in as many games.

On the ensuing power play, it was Joel Farabee who found the back of the net on a brilliant individual effort. Carrying the puck into the zone himself, Farabee caught a sight of goal and took advantage, launching the puck to the top shelf to bring the Terriers within one at 4-3.

The offensive storm continued, as UML added their fifth a minute later. With a centering pass from down low, forward Ryan Lohin found Stefanson, who dangled his way across the goalmouth to flip it in and bring the lead back to two at 5-3.

“The guys did a great job of responding,” said Bazin.

With five minutes to play in a five-goal period, the fireworks were not done just yet. UML were given another man advantage, but this time, it was BU who lit the lamp.

Catching the RiverHawk power play unit committed too far forward, BU counterattacked through Farabee. The freshman made the most of his third breakaway chance of the night, beating netminder Tyler Wall to pot his third goal of the series and make the deficit one again.

As Coach Bazin put it simply, “it was a back-and-forth affair.”

By the time the dust settled on a wild middle 20 minutes, the Terriers were still down 5-4, but held the momentum with the four second period goals and 25 shots on goal to Lowell’s 18.

While the tides had been turned in BU’s favor in the second, UMass Lowell were quick to squash the visitors’ excitement with their sixth tally in the opening minutes of the third.

After a long attempt by defenseman Matthias Goransson took a deflection in front, the puck fell favorably to forward Nick Master, who slid it past Oettinger to put UML up 6-4.

“That ended up being a little bit of a back-breaker,” said O’Connell of the Master score.

Holding the two-goal cushion in the third, Lowell turned their focus to the defensive end, quieting the Terrier attack as time ticked away. BU pushed for a final flurry with the net empty, but Wall and the RiverHawk defense were flawless when it mattered.

“You can’t keep coming back,” said O’Connell in regards to his offense stalling in the game’s latter stages.

The game would get scrappy in the waning minutes, with multiple scuffles breaking out on both ends of the ice. BU senior forward Bobo Carpenter took the worst of the late physicality, getting shoved into the boards from behind with less than ten seconds to play.

“I really have no comment,” said O’Connell on the hit that shook up his co-captain. ”A play like that is really not needed in the game of hockey, especially college hockey.”

On the opposite bench, Coach Bazin saw the aggression a bit differently.

“I like the emotion,” the UML boss claimed. “It’s nice to see at playoff time.”

When the final buzzer finally sounded, the RiverHawks had outlasted BU to claim a 6-4 victory and extend the series to a pivotal Game Three.

“We live to fight another day,” said Bazin.

The series-deciding matchup will take place on Sunday at 4pm, with the winner advancing to next week’s semifinal at the TD Garden.

Terriers best UMass Lowell 3-0 in playoff series opener

In the opener of a best-of-three Hockey East quarterfinal series on Friday night, the Boston University men’s hockey team skated to a convincing 3-0 win over the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

“It was one of the better games we’ve played in a while,” BU head coach Albie O’Connell said. “It was good to see, especially at this time of year.”

There was little to separate the two teams in the game’s early stages. BU (15-16-4. 13-9-3 Hockey East) claimed the immediate territorial advantage, putting up three shots on target in the first three minutes.

“It was good to get off to a good start,” said O’Connell, whose Terriers were looking to rebound from a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of the University of Maine in the regular season finale last Saturday.

UMass Lowell (18-12-5, 12-8-5 Hockey East) were able to gain ground as the period wore on, challenging the Terriers with physicality on both ends.

“It’s…the playoffs, so they’re going to be a bit more physical,” said freshman forward Joel Farabee.

The back-and-forth play was mirrored by the nearly identical first period efforts of both goaltenders. BU junior Jake Oettinger comfortably turned aside the seven shots against him, while UML senior Christoffer Hernberg stayed perfect against eight attempts.

Hernberg’s greatest scare came in the final seconds of the frame, when BU junior forward Patrick Curry found space in the slot and ripped one that the keeper fought off with the blocker.

“Our forwards were committed to playing the right way,” said Coach O’Connell of his attacking contingent.

Despite the high energy from both sides, the scoreless deadlock could not be broken through twenty minutes, and the teams retreated to the locker rooms still awaiting the opening tally.

“It was a hard-fought game,” O’Connell said.

After a goalless first period, it did not take long in the second for the game to find a score. It was BU who drew first blood, getting on the board six minutes into the frame.

After a pass from sophomore defenseman Kasper Kotkansalo, fellow blueliner and junior co-captain Dante Fabbro fired away from long range. Drifting inside the left circle, Farabee got just enough of his stick on the shot to beat Hernberg with the redirection.

It was the first collegiate postseason goal for the Philadelphia Flyers prospect, who led the team in both goals (13) and points (31) at the conclusion of the regular season.

According to O’Connell, “the first goal was huge.”

With the 0-0 draw broken, the game began to open up. The Riverhawks peppered Oettinger from up close throughout the second half of the frame, but the Minnesota native could not be beat, racking up 21 saves through forty minutes.

“From the drop of the puck, [Oettinger] was locked in,” said O’Connell.

With the ice tilting towards the Terrier end, BU gained a lifeline through the game’s first penalty with two minutes to play in the middle stanza. It would not take long for the BU power play unit to take full advantage and double their lead.

Soaring into the attacking end, sophomore defenseman David Farrance found a soft spot in the four-man Riverhawk defense and drove straight in on Hernberg. With the keeper committed, Farrance fed classmate and fellow defenseman Cam Crotty at the far post, who buried it easily.

The tally was just the fifth of Crotty’s collegiate career, with three of the five coincidentally coming against UMass Lowell. Farrance’s assist also marked his 20th as a Terrier.

“Farrance can really skate,” Coach O’Connell said. “He can make highlight plays.”

BU trailed in shots on goal 21-17 after forty minutes, but the Terriers had their heads held high, taking a two-goal advantage into the second intermission.

“We had a lot of energy, said O’Connell.

BU carried the momentum through to the final frame, showcasing their impressive penalty kill early in the period by keeping the RiverHawks at bay on their only power play opportunity of the night.

“We just played smart,” Coach O’Connell said.

The Terriers nearly sealed the victory towards the halfway point of the period on a breakaway for sophomore forward Ty Amonte, but Hernberg read the forehand-backhand move. Chances proved to be scarce for BU in the third, but the Terrier defense was solid when called upon.

The RiverHawks poured on pressure in the game’s waning minutes, but could not reach the back of the BU net. With several shots finding bodies in front and sailing wide, Lowell managed only four shots on target in the final frame.

“Our forwards and [defense] did a good job of blocking shots,” said O’Connell.

Surviving a final push from the RiverHawks, the third Terrier goal would come with the clock ticking into the minute to play, and the Lowell net empty.

Securing possession in his own zone, Farabee whipped the puck deep into the RiverHawk end. Patrick Curry won the footrace and slid the loose puck across the line, notching his 12th goal of the season and putting the finishing touches on BU’s impressive win.

The Terriers would finish on top 3-0, taking the upper hand in the series.

“We played hard tonight,” O’Connell said.

Jake Oettinger’s 25 saves were by no means his most heroic as a Terrier, but the performance was still significant for the Dallas Stars draftee. With the flawless night, Oettinger tied the program’s all-time record for total shut-outs (13).

“It feels good,” said Oettinger regarding the win. “The guys did a great job in front of me.”

BU will return to Tsongas Center in search of a series-clinching victory on Saturday night. With the hosts on the brink of elimination, the Terriers know that earning the series sweep will not be easy.

“They’re going to be playing for their lives,” said Farabee.

Game Two is set to begin at 7pm on Saturday, with a potential Game Three scheduled for Sunday if necessary.

Terriers suffer worst defeat since 2013 in finale against UMaine

With playoff home-ice up for grabs in the last game of the regular season, the Boston University men’s hockey team fell flat at the University of Maine on Saturday night, falling 6-0 in their most lopsided loss since 2013.

“Give Maine credit, they played a really good game,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell.

The Terriers (14-16-4, 12-9-3 Hockey East) were in search of a crucial victory to secure home ice for next weekend’s Hockey East quarterfinal series with UMass Lowell. Meanwhile, Maine (15-15-4, 11-9-4 Hockey East) had little to gain from the contest, as their sixth seeding and matchup with Northeastern had already been confirmed.

However, as the Terriers would quickly learn, the Black Bears would not be an easy out on their Senior Night, and their final game of the season at Orono’s Alfond Arena.

“It’s the seniors’ last game in the building,” acknowledged O’Connell.

The Terriers conceded the opening goal to the Black Bears in the teams’ two meetings earlier this season, and this game was no different. The third time around, it was the Black Bears who struck first again, scoring less than two minutes into the contest.

Taking control from fellow defenseman Sam Becker near his own net, Brady Keeper lofted the puck forward into the BU end. Forward Brendan Robbins won the footrace to the bouncing puck and unleashed a laser to the far side to beat BU junior goalkeeper Jake Oettinger.

“They came out hot,” Coach O’Connell said.

The Black Bear lead would become two before the eight-minute mark in the period. After a hard hit by forward Mitchell Fossier on the forecheck jarred the puck loose from BU junior defenseman Dante Fabbro, forward Chase Pearson was right there to take advantage.

Alone in front, Pearson shoveled a backhand past Oettinger, collecting his team-leading 16th tally of the season and doubling the UMaine lead.

“[Maine] didn’t do anything fancy, they just outworked us,” said O’Connell.

To their credit, the Terriers would not hang their heads following the two early goals. BU gained the benefit of two power plays, and did everything but push one over the line on multiple scrums in front against senior netminder Rob McGovern, who was making just his third appearance of the season.

By the end of the opening frame, BU would lead in shots on goal 13-8, but trail on the scoreboard, 2-0.

According to Coach O’Connell, “if [BU] get a couple of goals in the first, it’s a different game.”

The glimmer of hope for BU following the first would quickly be diminished, as the Black Bears came out of the break with the same energy and, ultimately, output that they opened the game with.

It was Robbins again who lit the lamp for UMaine in the early stages of the period, streaking in and knocking home his second goal of the game just 2:28 into the frame. The play was set up by Becker and forward Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup, feeding Robbins for UMaine’s third goal.

“It [was] a back-breaker,” O’Connell said in reference to the second Robbins tally.

Nearing the halfway point of the period, Maine would extend the lead to four. The goal would come on Schmidt-Svejstrup’s second assist of the frame, sending the puck ahead after an initial pass from Robbins, whose secondary assist made it a three-point night for the senior.

On the receiving end of Schmidt-Svejstrup’s leading pass was forward Tim Doherty, who snuck one by Oettinger to give UMaine their fourth goal of the opening thirty minutes. Doherty’s tally marked the end of Oettinger’s night, as freshman keeper Vinnie Purpura came on in relief.

“Jake has played terrific for us,” reaffirmed Coach O’Connell, who voiced his confidence in the junior goaltender going into the playoffs.

Worn down by the relentless Black Bear attack, BU stumbled their way through the second half of the period, taking a 4-0 deficit into the second intermission.

Things went from bad to worse for BU as the third period progressed. On an inspired individual effort, Brady Keeper took in a pass from Mitchell Fossier and weaved his way through the Terrier defense, snagged his own rebound, and tucked it in from behind the net at 7:22.

“They had a high level of urgency,” O’Connell said.

The Keeper goal would bring the score line to 5-0, equaling BU’s worst deficit of the season, which came in a defeat against Providence at Agganis Arena back in October. Six minutes after the fifth tally, however, a sixth Black Bear goal would come.

It was Keeper and Fossier who linked up for the second time in the period to produce the final Black Bear tally. Taking in the puck from Pearson, Keeper fluttered one goal-bound. Screening Purpura, Fossier was there to tip the puck into the net, and bring the total to six.

In O’Connell’s words, “[Maine] stuck to their game plan.”

The teams would skate out the final minutes to finish 6-0, ending a game that had been decided well before the final horn sounded.

It was the worst loss suffered by the Terriers since November 15, 2013, which saw BU by a score of 7-0, coincidentally in a visit to Maine as well.

“That’s hockey,” remarked Coach O’Connell.

While the ugly loss was not what the Terriers had in mind to end their regular season, BU will have to rebound quickly as they open the first round of the playoffs at UMass Lowell on Friday, March 15.

Krys, Fabbro shine in 5-1 pounding of Merrimack on Senior Night

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.

Oettinger carries BU to a point in 1-1 tie with Providence

Behind 45 saves from junior netminder Jake Oettinger, the Boston University men’s hockey team skated to a hard-fought 1-1 draw in a visit to Providence College on Thursday night.

“Our goaltender was the story,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell. “We’re pretty fortunate to get out of the rink with a point.”

With fifth-place BU (13-15-4, 11-8-3 Hockey East) only four points behind second-place Providence (20-9-5, 13-7-3 Hockey East) with a game in hand on the Friars at the time of the opening puck drop, the Terriers were looking for the full two points to assist their mission of securing a playoff game on home ice.

“They [knew] the importance of the points tonight,” O’Connell said of his squad.

BU nearly got on the board less than a minute into the game, as junior defenseman Chad Krys spotted a seam in the Friar defense on one of BU’s first rushes of the game. Krys beat senior goaltender Hayden Hawkey, but could not beat the post to the keeper’s left, and Providence would survive the early scare.

“I think we were mentally…and physically ready to go,” O’Connell said about his team’s quick start.

Building off of the early Krys chance, BU kept the pressure on Providence through the opening stages of the game, and were rewarded for their efforts eight minutes into the period.

After Oettinger made a phenomenal double-save to rob forward linemates Tyce Thompson and Scott Conway, the Terriers turned the other way, skating four against one. After freshman forward Joel Farabee was denied by Hawkey, sophomore forward Shane Bowers was there to knock in the rebound for his 11th goal of the season.

“We got off to a really good start – that gave us a chance to get a goal,” said Coach O’Connell.

Awoken by the Terrier opener, the Friars came charging back, riding an effective forecheck to a 14-7 shots on goal advantage by the end of the period. Coming off a dominant weekend against the University of Vermont, Oettinger stayed strong, fending off point-blank chances from forwards Kasper Bjorkqvist and Greg Printz among others.

According to O’Connell, “[Providence] did a really good job of getting in, forechecking, and holding pressure on [BU].”

Despite the lopsided shots on target counts, BU led 1-0 after one.

The Terriers started the second frame on the front foot, as Hawkey was forced into action five minutes into the period to keep out sophomore forward Ty Amonte’s diving effort, getting a stick on a saucer pass from junior linemate Patrick Harper in the corner.

Turning the tides as the period progressed just as they had in the first, Providence peppered Oettinger throughout the middle ten minutes of the second stanza en route to a 28-13 lead in terms of shots in goal by the end of the period.

Battling wave after wave of Friar attacks, Oettinger and his defense weathered the storm. The greatest threat from Providence came from defenseman Spenser Young swinging away in front with eight minutes remaining in the period, but Oettinger and a crowd of Terriers smothered the chance just in time.

“I thought we defended hard,” said Coach O’Connell, who saw his Terriers concede a maximum of one goal for their fourth consecutive game.

After another important stop by Oettinger to deny junior Vimal Sukumaran up close, BU would finally gain some zone time in the waning moments of the period with the game’s lone power play. Still, it was Providence’s Scott Conway who had the best chance while BU were up a man, stickhandling his way into shooting position but seeing his drive turned away by Oettinger.

“Providence played a really good game,” O’Connell said regarding the constant danger brought by the Friars.

After 40 minutes, the score would stand, 1-0.

Continuing their theme of hot starts into the third, the Terriers hit the ground running for the final twenty, as junior forward Patrick Curry’s off-balance swipe at a rebound was kept out by a sprawling Hawkey three minutes into the frame. That would be the closest BU would come in the third, as the Friars would once again find their stride as the period wore on.

“As the game wore on, we wore down,” O’Connell said.

After 53 minutes of flawless defense, Oettinger and the Terrier blueliners would finally cave in. On a break into the attacking zone, Greg Printz found forward Jack Dugan streaking towards the BU net. With quick hands, Dugan slipped the puck through the five hole, netting his tenth goal of the season for Providence and levelling the game at one.

“They made a really nice play on the goal,” said O’Connell of the Printz-Dugan link-up.

After an unsuccessful final push from both sides to end regulation, the teams would move on to overtime. It was the second game in BU’s last three that would require an additional frame.

In the extra five minutes, it was Oettinger again who played the role of hero for BU, stoning back-to-back chances from Kasper Bjorkqvist and defenseman Vincent Desharnais to keep the Terriers alive. With mere seconds left, Oettinger made one final save against Tyce Thompson, bringing his total to 45 on the night.

“Jake was there, and he was able to get us a point,” Coach O’Connell said.

The deadlock would not be broken, and the game would finish 1-1.

With the Friars tallying a whopping 82 shots with 46 on goal compared to BU’s 41 shots with 20 on goal, Oettinger’s efforts were essential to the Terrier cause.

In the words of O’Connell, “[Oettinger] was lights out.”

While Oettinger and his defensemen have been rock-solid as of late, the Terrier attack has been kept to low totals by opposing defenses, as BU has scored just a single goal in each of their previous three games. Knowing the current scoring drought his team is suffering from, O’Connell recognized the importance of the early energy from his team.

“[Providence] seemed a little flat, we weren’t, and it allowed us to get a point,” said the first-year head coach of the game’s opening minutes.

The full two points would have been advantageous for BU in terms of the Hockey East standings, but O’Connell voiced his satisfaction with the results his team gained in their trips this season to Providence’s Schneider Arena.

“We took 3 of 4 points off Providence in their own building, so that’s pretty good,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Friars clinched a home playoff game with the point, leaving just the positions currently occupied by Northeastern and UMass Lowell as the only spots to host a playoff game that are still undetermined.

“That’s a really good hockey team,” said Coach O’Connell of Providence. “They’re going to be a tough out for anyone.”

BU will look to keep their unbeaten run going and the home-ice hopes alive when they return to Agganis Arena against Merrimack on Saturday, March 2 at 7pm.

Terriers sweep series with UVM on last-minute Farabee winner

Through a late go-ahead goal by freshman forward Joel Farabee, the Boston University men’s hockey team came from behind to beat the University of Vermont 2-1 on Saturday night and clinch the series sweep over the Catamounts.

“Coming [into] a building like this and getting all four points is really big,” said Farabee, who saw his Terriers win out at Gutterson Fieldhouse to gain sole possession of fifth place in Hockey East.

With Vermont (12-18-2, 5-15-2 Hockey East) officially eliminated from playoff contention after Friday night’s overtime loss in the series opener, the Terriers (13-15-3, 11-8-2 Hockey East) were in search of the full four points on the weekend to keep pace in the division standings.

“To get a sweep on the road, it’s not easy,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell.

The Catamounts took the front foot immediately, doubling BU in shots on goal at the halfway point in the first period. It was a complete reversal of the series opener, in which BU peppered the target from the opening puck drop. Junior goaltender Jake Oettinger was forced into action early and often for the Terriers, highlighted by a sprawling save to deny sophomore forward Bryce Misley five minutes in.

“He didn’t make a mistake all weekend,” said O’Connell of his standout netminder.

Oettinger’s only goal against of the series would come on a Vermont power play just moments after the Misley chance. Following a BU penalty with 13 minutes left in the frame, a shot from sophomore forward Max Kaufman fell dangerously in front, and freshman forward Joey Cipollone was there to sweep it in for the game’s first goal. It was an early opener compared to Friday’s, which took 64 minutes to find.

“They got a lot of momentum,” said O’Connell in regard to Cipollone’s tally.

The Terriers would narrow the shots on goal gap to 10-9 in favor of UVM by the end of the period, but the 1-0 lead would remain through the rest of the first.

“We just stayed in our system and didn’t get deterred,” said Farabee of his team’s response to the Catamount advantage.

As the middle stanza wore on, chances for both sides became more frequent and more dangerous. Still, each defense remained up to the task, including a sequence with four minutes remaining that featured a block by junior defenseman Dante Fabbro on a UVM three-on-one, and a double-save by Catamount junior keeper Stefanos Lekkas at the other end to preserve the one-goal lead.

“That kid was lights out again,” Said O’Connell of Lekkas, who followed up his 43-save effort on Friday with 24 hard-earned stops on Saturday.

While Lekkas was unbeatable through Friday’s contest and the majority of Saturday’s, the Terriers would finally get one by the Illinois native with 1:35 to play in the middle frame. On a well-worked passing move between the junior forward duo of Patrick Harper and Patrick Curry, it was Harper who found space to fire a shot past Lekkas from close range. It was the fourth goal of his third season with the team.

With BU buzzing after the Harper equalizer, the teams would return to the locker rooms tied at one goal apiece, with the Terriers holding the narrow lead in shots on goal 18-17.

“We battled hard, we battled back,” said O’Connell.

Looking to avoid overtime for the second consecutive night, BU and UVM demonstrated no hesitation to shoot in the final 20 minutes, but were often off target with their efforts. Four penalties would be split evenly between the teams in the period, the last of which would be called against a displeased Joel Farabee when the freshman forward tripped a Catamount just outside the BU bench.

With a minute to play and the teams still knotted up at one, Farabee would have the last laugh. Finding a soft spot in the Vermont defense just inside the left circle, the first-year Terrier captured a pass from sophomore forward Logan Cockerill and drove it home to give the visitors the late go-ahead goal. It was Farabee’s BU-best 12th goal of the season, and his 28th point to boost his team lead in that category as well.

“The whole weekend we had a lot of chances, so I think that was just one of them,” said Farabee in reaction to his game-winner.

The Terriers would withstand a final surge from the Catamounts, claiming the 2-1 win to sweep the weekend series and extend the win streak to three games.

“We made two really nice plays that ended up winning us the game,” said O’Connell regarding the goals from Harper and Farabee.

Jake Oettinger finished the contest with 19 saves, his fewest since the 17 he posted on November 10 in BU’s 3-2 win over the University of New Hampshire.

“Our defense played hard,” said Coach O’Connell. “We gave up one goal on the weekend, so it’s positive.”

While the results wouldn’t suggest it, the Terriers were undermanned for the series. Sophomore defenseman David Farrance was banged up and missed the first game of the weekend, while graduate forward Max Willman was unavailable for either contest due to illness.

“It’s the end of the year, it’s hockey. There are always guys [that are] a little banged up,” said O’Connell. “Hopefully we’re getting healthy.”

Perhaps the most significant absence for the Terriers was senior captain Bobo Carpenter. The forward was BU’s leading goal scorer when he left the lineup during the Arizona State series nearly a month ago, and has not appeared since. Still, Coach O’Connell voiced his optimism that Carpenter will be back in the scarlet and white very soon.

“Bobo’s looking pretty good. He’s on the ice and he’s skating so hopefully he’ll be back,” said the first-year manager.

With Terrier health appearing to be improving at the same time as their play on the ice, Farabee and his teammates have reason to believe they can make a run up the Hockey East table as they close out the regular season.

“We’re trying to grab home ice heading [into the playoffs], and we’re playing well,” said Farabee.

With Providence just two points ahead of BU in the fourth and final position to host a Hockey East playoff game, there will be a lot at stake when the Terriers visit the Friars on Thursday night at 7pm.

Terriers capitalize on UVM desperation to earn OT win

In the first of a two-game set at the University of Vermont, the Boston University men’s hockey team gained a fortunate overtime winner to defeat the Catamounts, 1-0.

“It was a big win,” said Terrier head coach Albie O’Connell, who saw his team skate to their second consecutive victory after breaking a six-game losing streak.

The two points at stake were crucial for both teams entering the contest. BU (12-15-3, 10-8-2 Hockey East) travelled to Burlington at sixth place in the Hockey East standings, and just four points off of second place. Meanwhile, Vermont (12-17-2, 5-14-2 Hockey East) sat seven points outside of a playoff spot with four games to play.

“They were desperate, and we were desperate,” said O’Connell.

The first 20 minutes of play would conclude scoreless, but not for a lack of chances. Both teams had promising looks throughout the opening frame, but it was BU who looked the more dangerous, attempting 13 shots on goal to Vermont’s seven.

Late in the period, the Terriers would gain odd-man rush threats from sophomore forward Logan Cockerill, among others. Despite the pressure, UVM’s defensive effort led by a junior tandem of goaltender Stefanos Lekkas and defenseman Jake Massie kept the game level through one.

“He was on,” said Coach O’Connell of Lekkas, who would go on to tally 43 saves in the contest.

The second frame would see no change in score line, even with four power play opportunities – three for BU and one for the Catamounts. Over the course of the middle stanza, the Terriers would add another 13 shots on goal, while UVM would also match their first period total with an additional seven.

The most threatening moments for either side came in the latter half of the second period. After a shorthanded bid from Massie went narrowly wide, BU tilted the ice on the Catamounts, peppering Lekkas with chances both on the man advantage and in five-on-five play.

Still, with acrobatic stops on back-to-back attempts for freshman forward Joel Farabee and an aid from the iron on a shot from junior forward Gabe Chabot, Lekkas would stay perfect through 40 minutes. Again, the teams would return to the locker rooms deadlocked.

“[Lekkas] stopped all of them with ease,” said O’Connell of BU’s chances in the second.

Play would open up with both teams hunting for the elusive opener in the third, but neither side could find the back of the net. The Catamounts threatened first in the final period, as freshman forward Joey Cipollone’s back-post effort came up empty on a power play eight minutes into the period.

Through the final ten minutes at even strength, BU had the better of the chances, but Lekkas was still up to the task. As time began to dwindle, Farabee was denied from close range by the outstretched leg of the junior, who would stone a Cockerill bid up close just moments later.

According to the O’Connell, “Lekkas put on a performance.”

Backed by their standout netminder, the Catamounts would survive regulation, and the game would require an additional frame.

“I thought we deserved the win,” said Coach O’Connell.

In overtime, UVM poured on pressure in search of the essential two points to keep their playoff hopes alive. While his counterpart in the opposite crease was stealing the show, BU junior keeper Jake Oettinger also stood tall throughout, most significantly in the early minutes of OT.

“Jake was dynamite tonight,” said O’Connell. “Everything was clean.”

As the Catamounts threw everything at BU, Lekkas vacated the Vermont net in favor of the extra attacker with a minute to play.

“When they did it, our eyes kind of lit up,” said O’Connell regarding the decision for UVM to pull the goaltender.

Gaining control inside his own half, BU junior defenseman Chad Krys turned and tossed the puck 150 feet into the gaping Catamount goal to give the Terriers the 1-0 victory.

“He was one of our best players,” said O’Connell about his assistant captain Krys, whose goal was his fifth of the season.

It was just the second overtime win in six tries for the Terriers on the season, albeit with the winner coming against an empty net. Regardless, the two points were welcomed by the Terriers, who jumped into a two-way tie for fifth place in the conference with the University of Maine following Friday’s fixtures.

BU and UVM will return to Gutterson Fieldhouse to finish off the weekend set on Saturday at 7pm.

Terriers end skid with win over UConn, pitch shutout in Oettinger’s 100th game

In the 100th game of junior goaltender Jake Oettinger’s collegiate career, the Boston University men’s hockey team kept the University of Connecticut scoreless en route to a 2-0 victory, splitting the weekend series and bringing an end to BU’s six-game losing streak.

“It was important to bounce back,” said Oettinger. “It definitely feels good to get a win at home.”

After conceding twice in the opening frame on Friday night, the Terriers (11-15-3, 9-8-2 Hockey East) kept the Huskies (10-18-2, 5-13-2 Hockey East) showed early improvements on Saturday, with the teams remaining scoreless through 20 minutes. UConn attempted nine shots on goal in the stanza while BU put up 14 – an encouraging development following the mere five shots on target the Terriers tallied in the same amount of time the night before.

We protected our net,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell about the advances made on Saturday following the rough start in the series opener on Friday.

BU were the closer of the two teams to breaking the deadlock in the first. Junior forward Patrick Curry, who scored a late game-tying goal in the teams’ first meeting, found a hole in the Husky defense with four minutes remaining. This time around, though, the Illinois native would not be able to beat freshman keeper Tomas Vomacka, and the sides stayed 0-0 after one.

“Their goalie in the first made some highlight reel saves,” said O’Connell of Vomacka.

The deadlock would persist through the second period, with both teams struggling to establish an offensive rhythm. BU came up just inches away on multiple opportunities, including a two-on-one chance for Curry and linemate Joel Farabee late in the frame. The freshman looked to feed Curry on the rush, but the play was broken up just outside of Vomacka’s crease.

“That line’s got some pretty good chemistry,” said Coach O’Connell regarding the partnership of Farabee, Curry, and sophomore linemate Shane Bowers – all of which created chances throughout the weekend.

Play became more chippy into the final minutes of the frame as the Terriers and Huskies pushed for a late go-ahead goal to grab the lead at the break. Play would be halted three different times for penalties – two for BU, one for UConn – but even in special teams, nothing could separate the sides after 40 minutes, keeping the score 0-0.

“It was hard to get open ice,” said O’Connell of the tight play through two periods.

The ice was finally broken in the third, as sophomore forward Ty Amonte lit the lamp for BU 1:27 into the final frame. Sophomore Cam Crotty’s shot was knocked down by Vomacka following a pass by senior forward Ryan Cloonan, but Amonte was right there to sweep it in and give BU the lead. It was the sophomore’s fifth goal of the season, and his first in eight games.

“I think we’ve been competing real hard,” said Jake Oettinger, whose Terriers were rewarded for their competitive effort by scoring the opener for just the second time in eleven games.

Oettinger was solid throughout the game, but the junior really stood tall when the Terriers were defending the one-goal advantage. With BU in search of a second on the power play with nearly 12 minutes to play in regulation, UConn leading goal scorer Alexander Payusov snuck in for a breakaway. However, the junior forward was denied by the glove of Oettinger.

That definitely was nice for me to chip in a little bit,” said the Dallas Stars draftee, who made 26 saves in the contest. “I didn’t think I had a ton of work tonight.”

Oettinger and the Terrier defense would survive long enough for their attack to double the lead. Working on the penalty kill, Ryan Cloonan made a diving stop to win the puck for BU. It fell to sophomore defenseman Kasper Kotkansalo, who fed it forward for a streaking Joel Farabee. The Flyers prospect did the rest, firing high to the blocker side to put BU up 2-0 with 4:18 remaining. The tally marked his eleventh goal of the season – tied with linemate Curry for the team lead.

“Capitalizing on those chances is huge,” said Oettinger. “[The Farabee goal] gave us a little bit of breathing room.”

A final attempt to rally would come up empty for the Huskies, and BU would finish 2-0 victors. It was the first victorious shut-out of the season for the Terriers, and a welcomed end to the six-game skid.

We can breathe,” joked O’Connell about finally ending the losing streak – the program’s longest since 2014, and just one loss short of being BU’s longest since 1962.

On a more positive historical note, the shut-out was the 11th of Jake Oettinger’s career with BU, putting the junior just two away from reaching the Terrier record. With a flawless performance in his 100th game, it was certainly a special night for the Minnesota native.

“It’s crazy that it’s already been 100 games. It feels like I was playing my first one yesterday,” said Oettinger. “It’s definitely a cool milestone and nice to get a win in the 100th game.”

Even with the struggles as of late, the Terriers still find themselves just three points away from hosting a Hockey East playoff game, and four points off of the second spot in the division.

“This afternoon we looked at the records and said ‘look, everything’s up for grabs,’” said Coach O’Connell.

With confidence returning and a favorable schedule ahead, Coach O’Connell and his goaltender  Oettinger are optimistic about the state of their team going forward.

“Guys were committed to doing the right thing and playing the right way, said O’Connell. “There was a lot of buy-in, so that’s a positive sign for sure.”

“Top to bottom I think it’s a really close-knit group,” said Oettinger. “It’s just really fun to be around the room.”

The Terriers will look to keep things moving in the right direction as they travel for a two-game set at the University of Vermont next weekend.