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.

Live Blog: BU @ UVM, 2/23 at 7pm

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After last night’s overtime win via a Chad Krys empty net goal in the final minute, BU will look to make it a series sweep over the Catamounts as they return to UVM’s Gutterson Fieldhouse tonight for the second game of the weekend set.

With the victory last night, BU jumped into a two-way tie for fifth position in the Hockey East with the University of Maine on 22 points each. The Terriers are now just two points away from Providence, who hold the final position to host a playoff game.

On the other side, ninth-place Vermont needed a win last night to keep their playoff hopes alive. However, despite the heroic efforts of junior keeper Stefanos Lekkas between the pipes, the game was lost, and so was UVM’s postseason bid.

Can the Terriers make it a weekend sweep of UVM, and continue their run up the Hockey East standings? Join our live blog to get minute-by-minute updates of all the action, and talk BU hockey throughout the game. Coverage starts at 6:50!

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.

Live Blog: BU @ UVM, 2/22 @ 7pm

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Fresh off of their first win in seven games, BU travel north to take on UVM.

The Terriers currently sit 6th in the Hockey East, but just four points off Providence and UMass Lowell at 2nd. With so much potential to move up in the standings, BU could very well earn their way into position to host a playoff game at Agganis Arena.

Down the table in a tie for 9th with UConn, the Catamounts will be looking to gain points quickly as they attempt to make a miraculous tournament bid from seven points out of a playoff spot.

Tonight’s game might be four hours away from Boston, but we will still have live coverage coming to you straight from Burlington! Our live blog will begin at 6:50pm, with puck drop set for 7pm. Come join us!

BU looking to climb up Hockey East standings with two-game set in VT

After six tumultuous games without a win, the Boston University men’s hockey team finally jumped back into the “W” column last Saturday night at Agganis Arena.

With a 2-0 shutout of University of Connecticut, the Terriers moved into No. 6 in the Hockey East heading into the stretch run of the regular season. BU is just one point behind No. 5 Boston College, and it will have the chance to eclipse the crosstown rival with two games against No. 9 Vermont this weekend.

“We looked at the records and said, ‘Look, everything’s up for grabs,’” BU head coach Albie O’Connell said.

The Catamounts (12-16-2, 5-13-2 HEA) have accrued 12 points in conference play, the same amount as the UConn Huskies unit BU faced off against last weekend. The Terriers will have time to get familiar with their surroundings in Burlington, Vermont, as both Friday and Saturday will be played at Gutterson Fieldhouse.

“There’s a lot of hockey left to be played,” O’Connell said ahead of the series with Vermont.

Vermont has lost three of its last four games, but the team is solid at home with a 7-6-1 record. Since Jan. 4, the Catamounts have hosted and handled Sacred Heart, Merrimack, Providence and New Hampshire. They also took Clarkson to overtime at Gutterson Fieldhouse.

Last season, Vermont came to Agganis Arena for two games and was outscored by a combined 3-1. BU pitched a 2-0 shutout in the series opener with graduate forward Drew Melanson, who graduated last year from the Metropolitan College, and current sophomore defenseman David Farrance scoring goals. The following night, the units played to a 1-1 tie with graduate forward Jordan Greenway, who graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences last year, scoring the lone Terrier goal.

Forward Alex Esposito netted the Catamounts goal in that game, and he has done plenty of scoring in his second season as a sophomore with the team. Esposito is third on the team with seven goals and 16 total points.

The Connecticut native has a penchant for playing well against premium opponents, as he opened the season with a two-goal game against Michigan.

Esposito is not the only Catamount who can score. Forwards Max Kaufman and Joey Cipollone lead the squad with eight goals each. Kaufman, who pilots the team with 18 total points, has had a few games to remember this season with two goals against both RPI and Sacred Heart.

For Vermont, goalie Stefanos Lekkas has been working hard, logging almost 2,000 minutes so far this season. The Illinois native ranks first out of 12 qualified goaltenders in the conference with a 93 percent save percentage.

His win percentage leaves something to be desired, as he is No. 9 in the league with a 43.3 winning percentage. Lekkas ranks in the middle of the conference at No. 7 in goals allowed per game with 2.28.

On the Terriers side, junior goaltender Jake Oettinger ranks No. 9 in the Hockey East with 2.65 goals allowed per appearance. Despite this underwhelming note, Oettinger will be riding up north with some confidence this weekend.

“I think we’ve been competing real hard,” Oettinger said.

The Dallas Stars prospect had perhaps one of his best games of the season last Saturday night, stopping all 26 of the Huskies’ shots.

“It was important to bounce back,” Oettinger said after posting a shut-out to end BU’s six-game losing streak.

He will attempt to replicate this performance against Vermont, a team that averages 2.27 goals per game. In comparison, conference-leading UMass Amherst scores 3.79 times per night, and BU nets 2.69 tallies per outing on average.

The Minnesota native will also look to improve some of his other stats. He enters the weekend No. 9 in the conference in goals against average and No. 8 in winning percentage.
As they make the business trip north, the Terriers and Oettinger will see the opportunity to gain four crucial points Hockey East play.

“They see hope,” O’Connell said.

The two-game set will be played on Friday and Saturday, both set to start at 7 p.m.

Game Notes: Both games will be streamed online…Big shoutout to our guy Brady Gardner for contributing to this report as well…Do you think the Terriers will sweep the Catamounts? Let us know!


From the FreeP: Moccia plays in first regular season contest

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

Before the Boston University men’s hockey team fell to No. 17 University of Vermont 6-2 at Agganis Arena Saturday night, there was already some activity in the news conference room. This press conference was not between the collected media and BU coach David Quinn like it usually is, but instead it was between a youth hockey goaltender and his father.

The son sat tall at the microphone, wearing his team’s jersey and fielding questions from his father who pretended to be a media member. It was a chance for the boy to dream he played goalie for the Terriers, and he smiled wide during each answer he gave his father.

Later in the night, the boy sat in the stands and watched senior goaltender Anthony Moccia finally get his chance to live that dream. The Medford native, who spent a year as a practice goalie, walked on to the team and is now in his third and final season as a third-stringer, got between the pipes in front of 4,948 fans for his first regular-season action.

“It’s kind of always been a huge goal of mine to play in a regular season game and I was able to get in there today,” Moccia said. “I can check that off the list of things that I have to do.”

For more, visit www.dailyfreepress.com.