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.

Third period comeback not enough as Terriers fall to UConn 3-2 in OT

Coming off of five consecutive defeats, the Boston University men’s hockey team nearly stole a victory late from the University of Connecticut, but were ultimately defeated by the hosts in overtime, 3-2.

“That’s a tough one to take,” said Terrier head coach Albie O’Connell.

BU (10-15-3, 8-8-2 Hockey East) fell victim to another slow start, allowing 13 shots on goal to their five in the first period and surrendering three penalties in the opening eight minutes alone. UConn (9-17-2, 4-12-2 Hockey East) were able to cash in on the second man advantage, as senior forward Karl El-Mir tipped in a shot from junior defenseman Philip Nyberg to get the Huskies on the board first at 7:06.

“Good things [happen] when you’re at the net and you shoot the puck,” said O’Connell.

The Terriers finally showed some life on a power play towards the end of the period, but it would be the Huskies who would tally the game’s next goal. With 2:09 left in the frame, junior defenseman Wyatt Newpower tossed in a shot from range that got through a crowd and found the back of the BU net, making the lead 2-0 at the first intermission.

While BU could not cut into the deficit in the second period, the Terriers did show some tenacity, mainly through physicality after the whistle from junior forward Patrick Curry and senior forward Ryan Cloonan. However, freshman forward Joel Farabee would receive a 10-minute game-misconduct penalty for his role in a scuffle 30 seconds before the buzzer.

“UConn always plays physical,” said Coach O’Connell. “I thought we matched our competitiveness.”

The middle stanza saw few clear-cut chances, maintaining the 2-0 score line going into the final 20 minutes. Junior netminder Jake Oettinger made a pair strong saves on El-Mir efforts late in the second frame, while a breakaway from sophomore forward Shane Bowers was denied by freshman keeper Tomas Vomacka, as well as the ensuing the rebound chance for Curry.

According to O’Connell, “[Vomacka] gave [UConn] every chance to win the game.”

Trailing by two goals into the third, the Terriers finally got one back just past the halfway point in the period. Soaring in from Vomacka’s right side, junior forward Patrick Harper circled the net and snuck in a wrap-around attempt for his third goal of the season, with assists credited to the defensive pairing of junior Dante Fabbro and sophomore David Farrance.

Still down one with time winding down, the Terriers would eventually find their equalizer off the stick of Patrick Curry with just over a minute to play. Farrance and Fabbro linked up for the assists once again, with the former slinging a pass across the attacking zone for Curry to slam in for his team-leading 11th goal of the season, sending the game beyond regulation time.

“We pushed hard to win tonight,” said Coach O’Connell.

BU had the momentum into overtime, but the Terrier excitement would be short-lived. 51 seconds into the extra frame, freshman forward Jáchym Kondelík threw in a shot from range that was knocked down by Oettinger, but junior forward Alexander Payusov was right there to tap in the uncontested rebound and keep the coveted Hockey East points in Connecticut.

“That’s a frustrating one,” said O’Connell. “For it to end the way it did – wow.”

It was déjà vu in multiple ways for the Terriers. Last season, BU came away from their visit to Connecticut with an overtime loss as well. In more recent memory, BU’s overtime surrender brought back memories of Northeastern’s OT win over the Terriers in Beanpot play just two weeks ago, in which the game-winner also came exactly 51 seconds into the extra period.

“It is what it is,” said Coach O’Connell. “The only thing we can do is be ready for tomorrow.”

Still in search of the elusive victory to break the losing skid, the Terriers will return to Agganis Arena for a rematch with UConn on Saturday, 2/16 at 7pm.

Terriers downed by Crimson 5-2, finish fourth in 2019 Beanpot

The Boston University men’s hockey team dropped its fifth consecutive game on Monday night, falling to Harvard University 5-2 in the consolation game of the 2019 Beanpot.

We wanted a nice game of shinny, and [Harvard] wanted a real game of hockey,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell.

The two sides would remain scoreless after the first 20 minutes. Harvard (13-7-3, 9-5-2 ECAC) attempted 31 total shots in the period, but BU freshman goaltender Vinnie Purpura, making just his second start with the Terriers, was up to the task for the 12 shots on target.

BU (10-14-3, 8-7-2 Hockey East) only tallied five shots on goal in the opening frame, but the Crimson were able to block 11 Terrier efforts, to their credit. Still, the discrepancy in terms of shots, especially early, continues to be a concern for BU.

According to O’Connell, “it’s frustrating, because that’s probably one of the only things we talked about – being ready to show up on time, being ready to go.”

The lopsided offensive play continued into the second period, with the Crimson leading in shots on goal by a whopping 32-14 after 40 minutes. As the opportunities piled up, Harvard were eventually rewarded for their persistence.

Nearing the halfway point of the period, junior forward Frédéric Grégoire drew first blood on a rocket from Purpura’s left that snuck in under the bar. The assists were credited to junior defenseman John Marino and sophomore defenseman Reilly Walsh.

Walsh was involved in the second Crimson tally seven minutes later, receiving the puck from junior forward Colton Kerfoot and feeding it to an uncontested Jack Badini outside BU crease. The sophomore forward converted easily, and Harvard held a 2-0 lead at the second break.

“It wasn’t a good first period, and the second was even worse,” said Coach O’Connell.

The game opened up in the third, starting with BU finally getting on the board six minutes in. A driven pass by sophomore defenseman David Farrance at the blue line was knocked centrally by freshman forward Joel Farabee, where fellow forward Patrick Curry tapped it in. The goal was the junior’s tenth of the season, and cut the Crimson lead in half.

“I thought we played pretty well for stretches of the third,” said the first-year BU head coach.

BU could not capitalize on the momentum of Curry’s tally, as Harvard restored the two-goal lead at the 12:28 mark. In 4-on-4 play, a trio of Crimson attackers flooded the BU zone, and it was Grégoire who drilled one past Vinnie Purpura for his second goal of the game.

Purpura would vacate the Terrier net in exchange for an extra attacker with just over three minutes left, but Harvard defenseman Adam Fox took no time to quickly toss one in from distance to extend the lead to three. It was the 100th point of the junior’s career.

“I can’t say enough,” remarked Harvard head coach Ted Donato about Fox reaching the 100-point milestone. “I think what he’s accomplished so far in college is pretty special.”

Junior forward Gabriel Chabot got one back for BU with less than two minutes to play off of passes from freshman forwards Mark Cheremeta and Jack DeBoer. After striking the post with an initial effort, Chabot would corral his own rebound and slot it past Michael Lackey for the first goal of his junior campaign, and his fifth as a Terrier.

With the BU goalie pulled again, the Crimson would have the last laugh, as freshman forward RJ Murphy made a slick move to find space and walk the puck into the Terrier net with 43 seconds to play.

The game would finish 5-2 in favor of Harvard, meaning that after four consecutive appearances in the Beanpot final, BU would finish in fourth out of four teams in this year’s tournament.

“You can’t play a D1 hockey team and expect to win when you don’t show up,” said O’Connell.

Harvard attempted an astounding 76 shots in the contest, including 39 on target. As has been the case for BU as of late, the Terriers simply could not match the opposing offensive output, tallying just 42 shots of their own with only 26 reaching Lackey between the pipes.

“[Harvard] were more competitive,” said O’Connell. “They were skating harder.”

Still in search for their first win since January 25th, BU now turn their attention to the seven Hockey East fixtures remaining to conclude the regular season. This stretch of conference clashes will begin this upcoming weekend, as BU will travel to the University of Connecticut for a 7pm puck drop on Friday the 15th, and then host the same Huskies the next night at 7pm as well.

Photos by Emily Hunter:

Second period onslaught troubles Terriers in 4-2 defeat at #2 UMass

In a visit to a sold-out Mullins Center in Amherst, the Boston University men’s hockey team fell 4-2 to #2 University of Massachusetts on Friday night.

“I thought we competed hard,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell. “That’s a good hockey team over there.”

After a 7-5 thriller that went UMass’ way in the two Hockey East sides’ first matchup on Friday, February 1, the Terriers (10-13-3, 8-7-2 Hockey East) were looking to avenge their loss a week later.

“We played them pretty tight in our building,” said O’Connell on the teams’ first meeting.

Senior captain Bobo Carpenter was unavailable for the forward’s fourth consecutive game due to injury, but his co-captain Dante Fabbro wasted no time in picking up the production for the Terriers’ injured leading goal scorer.

On the game’s first power play seven minutes in, sophomore forward Ty Amonte moved along an initial pass from freshman forward Joel Farabee. The puck came to Fabbro, who pounded it in for the junior defenseman’s sixth of the season, providing BU with the opening goal for the first time in eight games.

With BU holding the 1-0 lead after 20 minutes, the Minutemen (20-5, 12-3 Hockey East) were struggling to gain traction and challenge the Terrier defense as they had a week prior. Looking to spark his team just ahead of the period’s halfway point, UMass head coach Greg Carvel called a timeout, which proved to make all the difference for his Minutemen.

Only a mere ten seconds after the UMass timeout, the Minutemen found their equalizer. Fresh off a three-point performance against BU last Friday, sophomore forward John Leonard stickhandled his way to shooting position between the dots, and fired one in to level the game. The assist would go to freshman defenseman Marc Del Gaizo.

“They got a lot of momentum,” said Coach O’Connell about Leonard’s tally. “The crowd was really into it.”

Turning the tides quickly, the Minutemen would come up with a second goal less than two minutes after their first. Starting behind his own net, standout sophomore defenseman Cale Makar bolted the length of the ice, and fed junior forward Jack Suter for the easy finish to put UMass up 2-1.

“[Makar] blew by our entire team,” said O’Connell. “You [have to] tip your hat to that kid.”

The Minuteman lead would double at the 4:53 mark, as junior defenseman Jake McLaughlin knocked in a rebound to make the UMass advantagae 3-1. Terrier netminder Jake Oettinger made the initial save on the one-timer by Suter after senior forward Brett Boeing’s cross-ice pass, but there was nothing the junior keeper could to about McLaughlin’s close-range tap-in.

“They found a way to the net,” said Coach O’Connell, reflecting on the Minutemen’s offensive success.

Going into the second intermission, the Minutemen would hold a stunning 30-12 advantage in shots on goal. BU attempted an underwhelming four shots against UMass freshman goaltender Philip Lindberg in the second period – a total quadrupled by the Minutemen in the frame, who tested Oettinger with 16.

“That ended up costing us the game,” said O’Connell regarding the lopsided second period.

Despite two early third period power plays for the Terriers, it would be UMass who converted on their first man advantage of the game with eight minutes left in regulation. After Leonard and senior forward Jacob Pritchard hacked away in front, Marc Del Gaizo punched it in to tally his second point of the game and make the Minuteman lead three.

With less than a minute to play, sophomore Shane Bowers would score a brilliant individual goal on the penalty kill for BU. Showcasing elite speed and skill, the forward stormed into the UMass end and unleashed a laser past Lindberg to cut the lead to two. It was the tenth goal of Bowers’ season, becoming the third Terrier to reach the double-digit mark.

Bowers’ lone effort would be too little too late for the Terriers, and the game would conclude 4-2 in favor of the hosts. It would be the fourth consecutive loss for the Terriers, albeit with all four opponents ranked within college hockey’s top 20 teams – Arizona State, Northeastern, and UMass twice.

“I liked our effort overall,” said Coach O’Connell, remaining positive despite his team’s recent dip in form.

Historically, the series sweep by UMass would be the first time in team history that the Minutemen would come away with two wins over BU during the regular season.

“Our goal this year was to bring respect to this program,” said UMass’ Coach Carvel. “It’s a special group.”

With a short break before their next game, BU will turn their attention to Harvard ahead of their battle for third place in the Beanpot on Monday, aiming to snap their losing streak ahead of seven Hockey East contests to close out the regular season.

“I think if we compete well, we’ll be fine,” said O’Connell about his team going forward.

The Beanpot fixture with Harvard will be played at 4:30pm at the TD Garden on Monday, before BU set their sights on a weekend home-and-home series with the University of Connecticut next weekend.

Oettinger’s effort not enough for Terriers in OT Beanpot loss

Despite a 47-save performance from junior netminder Jake Oettinger, the Boston University men’s hockey team suffered a 2-1 overtime loss to Northeastern University in the semifinal round of the Beanpot at the TD Garden on Monday night.

“It hurts, it’s frustrating,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell, who saw his Terriers (10-12-3, 8-6-2 in Hockey East) knocked off by the Huskies (15-8-1, 9-6-1 Hockey East) in Beanpot play for the second year in a row.

As they had in six consecutive games prior, BU conceded the game’s first goal, with Northeastern’s opener coming at the 3:14 mark in the first period. On a giveaway in the Terrier end, senior forward Liam Pecararo provided the feed to classmate Patrick Schule, who fired it past Jake Oettinger to put the Huskies on top.

“The first one, [Oettinger] didn’t really have much of a chance on,” said O’Connell after the game.

BU squandered two early opportunities on the frame’s only power plays, but eventually found their equalizer with 21 seconds to play in the period.

On a pass from sophomore forward Shane Bowers, fellow sophomore Cam Crotty launched a wrister towards Northeastern sophomore keeper Cayden Primeau. The puck fell to Joel Farabee alone at the back post where the freshman forward angled the rebound in off Primeau to tally his tenth goal of the season and knot the game at one going into the break.

“I thought Joel was dynamite,” said O’Connell about his standout freshman.

In a scoreless second period, Jake Oettinger came up big with some dazzling saves as pressure poured in from the Huskies. BU gained their best chances towards the end of the frame, but could not capitalize.

It was the Terrier goal scorer Farabee who had both opportunities for the Terriers, getting in alone twice within the period’s final five minutes but being denied by Primeau on both occasions. Ahead of the final twenty minutes, the teams would retreat to the locker rooms still tied 1-1.

“You’d like to bury those chances, but to put yourself in a situation to get two breakaways in a game, obviously shows a high level of intelligence and skill,” said a positive-minded O’Connell about Farabee’s two missed opportunities.

The drama continued into the third period, as the tension mounted the longer the game remained even. Northeastern attempted 34 shots in the final 20 minutes of regulation alone, holding a 48-27 lead in shots on goal after 60 minutes.

“We were dominating them, so we had all the confidence,” said Northeastern’s Primeau regarding the mindset of his Huskies during their offensive onslaught in the Terrier end.

Despite the pressure, Jake Oettinger refused to budge, and both the BU junior and his counterpart Primeau remained strong to keep the game level despite late power plays for both teams in the waning minutes of regulation. The score line would hold after three period of play, and the teams would continue on to overtime.

“I thought both goalies were outstanding,” said Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan.

The additional frame would not last very long, as the Huskies rallied for a game-winner just 51 seconds into overtime. Taking advantage of a mistimed Terrier line change, junior defenseman Jeremy Davies found freshman forward Tyler Madden streaking into the BU end. Oettinger got a piece of Madden’s shot on the breakaway, but the puck would trickle through, bringing an abrupt end to BU’s 2019 Beanpot bid and sending the Huskies into next week’s final.

“[There were] bright lights out there, and I shine in those,” said the confident freshman.

For the Terriers, it was the first semifinal loss in a Beanpot tournament since 2014, in which the Terriers were bounced by Harvard 6-2. The loss to Northeastern was also a repeat of last season’s championship game, which saw the Huskies overcome BU to win their first Beanpot title in three decades.

“I think everyone on our team is disappointed,” said O’Connell about the heartbreaking loss. “Tip the cap to [Northeastern].”

While he may have finished on the losing side of the game, Oettinger’s 47 saves were his most since last year’s Beanpot tournament, in which the Minnesota native also tallied 47 in a victorious semifinal effort against Harvard.

“It was probably one of the best games he’s played in a BU uniform,” said O’Connell of Oettinger. “It’s a good sign for our team if he can play at that level.”

The schedule will get no easier for the Terriers, as they travel to Amherst to visit #2 University of Massachusetts on Friday night before returning to the Garden to face Harvard in the Beanpot’s third place game the following Monday.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Terriers show resiliency in 4-3 victory at Providence

In a battle against #7 Providence with major Hockey East implications, BU overcame a two-goal deficit and got late goals from David Farrance and Logan Cockerill to tie and overtake the Friars en route to winning their second game of the new year.

“It was a big statement game” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell regarding the victory.

Looking to replicate their 5-0 thumping of BU back in October, Providence (12-6-4, 6-4-1 in Hockey East) came storming out of the gates, tallying two goals within the game’s first ten minutes. Junior Josh Wilkins got the Friars on the board early with a power play goal just six and a half minutes into the contest, and senior Scott Conway doubled Providence’s lead less than three minutes later. Wilkins’ tally gave the junior his team-leading 25th point, while Conway’s goal made him the first Friar to ten goals on the season.

“Just stick with it” was the simple message shared by O’Connell to his team after going behind 2-0.

With sour memories of the 5-0 thrashing in the back of their minds, BU (8-8-3, 7-5-2 in Hockey East) came up with an immediate response through the stick of Shane Bowers with nine minutes left in the first. The sophomore’s powerful net drive and clever finish cut the Providence lead in half before the teams headed into the first intermission.

“That got us going,” remarked Coach O’Connell about the early Bowers goal.

In the middle stanza, the teams traded opportunities for ten minutes before Bowers brought BU even with his second goal of the game, separating himself as the lone Terrier with seven goals on the season, good for second on the team, only behind captain Bobo Carpenter’s ten tallies. Providing the sophomore with a pass into space was Joel Farabee, continuing the freshman’s red-hot start to 2019.

Providence had three chances on the power play in the second frame, but the BU penalty kill was resilient throughout the period, and Jake Oettinger remained rock-solid between the pipes for BU. Following the second break, though, the Friars caught the BU defense by surprise just eleven seconds into the third period. Conway matched Bowers’ mark with his own second goal of the contest, regaining the Providence lead before BU could even gain possession in the final frame.

Despite going down late, the Terriers would not go away, as sophomore David Farrance drove in a shot from distance to level the game once more with 17 minutes left in regulation. Riding the momentum of the game-tying tally, BU kicked into an extra gear, and found a go-ahead goal just five minutes later. It was sophomore Logan Cockerill who provided what would prove to be the game-winner, snapping a shot past senior netminder Hayden Hawkey to put BU ahead for good.

“That’s a season-changing play by Cockerill,” commended O’Connell.

The Terriers would gain the benefit of a five-minute major penalty called against Providence’s Vimal Sukamaran with four and a half minutes to play, but Oettinger would still be called into action to preserve the BU lead as the Friars poured on pressure in the game’s waning minutes. It was a heroic effort from the junior netminder, fending off 33 shots and getting his second win in as many nights.

Continuing their undefeated start to 2019 with the victory over Providence, the Terriers will now turn their focus to #3 Quinnipiac (16-5-1, 7-4-1 in ECAC) when the Bobcats come to Boston next Saturday.