By Patrick Donnelly
The No. 11/12 Boston University Terriers (9-2) took down the University of Connecticut Huskies (8-9-4) in overtime on Saturday afternoon.
The Terriers trailed 2-0 in the closing moments of the first period before sophomore forward Jay O’Brien got BU on the board with under a minute remaining. Graduate forward Max Kaufman evened the score in the third, and freshman forward Luke Tuch ended the game under a minute into the extra frame. Freshman goaltender Vinny Duplessis made 27 saves.
Here are my three takeaways from the win – all opinions are my own:
Duplessis, Terriers unfazed by whacky situation
Duplessis was the only active goaltender for BU this weekend, after sophomore Ashton Abel was injured after slipping on ice during the week, head coach Albie O’Connell confirmed after the game on Saturday. Teams need at least two goalies in the lineup, but they can also play with fewer if they choose. So it seems BU chose the one game. O’Connell was appreciative of the flexibility from the league, UConn and the administrations.
Despite the peculiar circumstances, Duplessis and the Terriers managed to card good performances and come away with the comeback win. After going down 2-0 in the first, it would have been easy for BU to fold, but as I’ve mentioned in previous takeaways, that’s not in the makeup of this team’s DNA this season. Duplessis made the saves, and the Terriers picked up their game and their intensity enough to come away with the win.
Top line finding groove
Senior forward and captain Logan Cockerill was a force for the Terriers against UConn, playing an instrumental roll in all three BU goals, two of which the top line of himself, O’Brien and Kaufman accounted for.
Cockerill first made a nice give-and-go with Kaufman that led to O’Brien’s pretty tally, before winning a puck battle along the boards to be able to feed Kaufman for his first as a Terrier and eventually leading the counter rush to set up Tuch’s game-winner.
O’Brien now leads the team with seven goals on the year to go along with 12 points in 11 games. Cockerill has four assists in three games since returning from injury, and is now up to eight points (4g, 4a) in seven games on the year. Meanwhile, Kaufman has been pleasantly surprising for BU this year, now with a goal and seven assists in 11 contests.
The trio had a hand in four of BU’s six goals against Vermont last weekend as well. The importance of this top line cannot be understated, both in the short and long-term this season.
Image this group with Farrance, Commesso back in the lineup?
Seeing BU without their Hobey Baker candidate, junior defenseman and assistant captain David Farrance, as well as their bluechip goalie prospect, freshman Drew Commesso, it would have been understandable to think the Terriers would not be able to sustain their success.
However, BU has continued to get it done between contributions from top performers like O’Brien, Cockerill and Tuch, or surprising surges from guys like Duplessis or sophomore defenseman Alex Vlasic. Regardless, it seems like almost everyone in the lineup has had an impact in some way.
What’s even better is that Farrance and Commesso should be available to play this coming week, according to O’Connell. So, an already high-flying BU team will be adding a defenseman who has 14 points in 10 games on the year as well as a phenom in goal, who was just finding his groove before missing time. Woof.
Although, it does create a question of whether or not to ride the hot hand in Duplessis, or see if Commesso can resume his strong start. Either way it’s a good problem to have.
The Terriers will likely return to action next week, and will learn who their next opponent is on Tuesday afternoon as the league has reverted to creating the schedule on a week-by-week basis.
Featured Image: BU mobs freshman goaltender Vincent Duplessis after he earned his first career victory in his first collegiate start, a 3-1 upset win over No. 1 Boston College at Walter Brown Arena on Feb. 6, 2021. Photo by Carolyn Mooney.