By Miranda Lemus
No. 8/7 Boston University Men’s Hockey (11-5-0, 8-4-0 HE) return from their holiday break to take on No. 9 Harvard University (8-2-1, 7-1-0).
“We’re excited to be back, it seems like this break has been forever,” BU Head Coach Jay Pandolfo said. “[Our] guys got back in a couple days ago and we’ve had a couple of really good days of practice.”
This matchup will not only be the last game of 2022 for the Terriers, but it will also be nationally televised from Walter Brown Arena on ESPN2 starting at 7 p.m.
The Terriers and the Crimson had their last meeting in February 2021 at the annual Beanpot Tournament at TD Garden, where BU advanced to the finals with a 4-3 win.
Notably absent from the Terriers is freshman defenseman and reigning Hockey East Defender of the Month Lane Hutson. Currently, Hutson is in Canada representing Team USA at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championships.
According to Pandolfo, sophomore defenseman Ty Gallagher will replace Hutson on the Terriers’ top power play unit. With a 21.5% success rate, BU is looking to improve its special teams in the second half of the season.
“I thought the first half, our special teams was just average, so that’s something we focused a little bit this week as well,” Pandolfo said.
Similarly to Hutson, Harvard freshman goaltender Aku Koskenvuo was also selected to represent his country at the World Junior Championships. However, the Finland native has only played in two games for Harvard this season, and with senior goaltender Mitchell Gibson as first string, the Crimson will have a full-strength squad.
While the Terriers head into Friday’s game without their star defenseman, Harvard is well-equipped with defensive talent, including ECAC Defender of the Month and captain Henry Thrun, who is third on the Crimson with 14 points (3g, 11a). Junior forward Sean Farrell leads the team with 18 points (7g, 11a), and sophomore forward Matthew Coronato is right behind with 15 (6g, 9a). Each of Harvard’s top three scorers have appeared in all 11 games for the Crimson.
One point ahead of Thrun is BU captain Domenick Fensore (6-9–15 in 16 games). As the Terriers’ leader, Fensore found his stride in December with six points (3g, 3a) in four games, and he’s riding a six-game point streak into Friday’s matchup. Fensore has five goals and four assists in that span.