Men’s Hockey: No. 8/7 Terriers End 2022 With 2-1 OT Win Over Harvard
By Gracie Davenport
No. 8/7 Boston University Men’s Hockey (12-5-0, 8-4-0 HE) closed out the calendar year with a 2-1 overtime victory over No. 9 Harvard University (8-3-1) Friday night. Strong goaltending on both ends kept both teams in the Top 10 tilt up until the final seconds.
“I thought that was a great college hockey game,” BU Head Coach Jay Pandolfo said. “Overall, our effort from top to bottom was excellent.”
While the Crimson had its regular lineup, the Terriers had to get creative without freshman defenseman Lane Hutson and senior forward Ethan Phillips. Hutson, participating in the IIHF World Junior Championship, is in the midst of Team USA’s preliminary round of games. Phillips was announced out of the lineup before puck drop.
“Phillips got hurt in the UConn game,” Pandolfo said. “He actually finished the game, but he’s got a lower-body injury that’s going to keep him out at least a couple of weeks.”
This game marked BU’s first non-exhibition matchup at Walter Brown Arena since Jan. 2, 2005, and the Terriers played in front of a sold-out crowd.
“It was awesome. It was packed,” senior defenseman Domenick Fensore said. “A lot of guys were saying ‘Can we play every game here?’ “
Playing in an unfamiliar arena, both teams were also coming off a two-week winter break. It can take some time to ease back into play, but the Crimson wasted no time getting activated in what would be a physical first period.
Harvard captain Henry Thrun laid a big hit on junior forward Dylan Peterson 28 seconds into the game. Thrun was sent to the box for interference, and Peterson was helped off the ice to the dressing room. He quickly returned to the game.
The Terriers got the chance to test Harvard’s nation-leading penalty kill early, and a trio of BU freshmen was able to dismantle it.
Greene’s initial shot deflected off a Harvard defender and redirected around the boards. Standing in front of the net, forward Devin Kaplan fought for possession and dished the puck behind him to forward Quinn Huston atop the left face-off dot. Hutson’s wrist shot beat senior goaltender Mitchell Gibson to give the Terriers the early 1-0 lead.
The power play goal marked Hutson’s seventh tally of the season, and his fourth over his last five games.
The Terriers went 1-for-2 on the power play, and were a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
“I thought our penalty kill was really good tonight,” said Pandolfo. “[Harvard’s] up there in the NCAA with their power play percentage, so I thought we did a really good job with that.”
With seven minutes remaining in the first period, Fensore’s shot from the blue line beat Gibson five-hole and tumbled through the blue paint, just wide of the far post.
The Terriers carried play for the majority of the first period, but Harvard picked up the momentum in the dying moments. The Crimson peppered junior goaltender Drew Commesso with six shots in the final four minutes.
Heading into first intermission with the lead, BU led in shots on net 11-7.
In the middle frame, the Terriers continued to control the game early on with eight of their eventual 15 second-period shots on goal coming in the first five minutes. One of their best chances came at the 2:59 mark on a Kaplan breakaway, but Gibson made the glove save.
The Terriers led in shots 15-10 by the end of the second period, with four coming from Fensore.
In the final frame, BU struggled to stay out of the box. The Terriers were dealt three penalties and allowed the Crimson to find their game late in the third.
Seconds after Peterson’s hooking penalty expired, Harvard tied the game 1-1 with 4:57 remaining. Sophomore forward Matthew Coronato capitalized on a tired Terriers unit for his seventh of the year.
Less than one minute later, Quinn Hutson’s shot beat Gibson and rang off the far post. However, neither team would be able to break the tie in regulation.
Both sides had their chances in overtime, but it would be the BU captain that finished off the night.
Senior forward Matt Brown started off the play, hustling to prevent a Harvard breakaway. Brown passed the puck up the ice to senior forward Wilmer Skoog in the neutral zone. Skoog brought the puck into the offensive zone and found Fensore in the high slot, who buried it home with 33 seconds remaining.
“We were going glove on [Gibson] all game,” Fensore said. “Decided to shoot low blocker, and it went in.”
The captain was due for a goal, ending the night with 13 shot attempts. Fensore’s game-winner extends his point streak to seven games. Over that stretch, he has 10 points (6g, 4a).
“I can’t say enough about Dom. He’s been incredible this year from Day 1,” Pandolfo said. “He’s one of the most competitive kids I’ve been around.”
Commesso finished the night with a 33-save effort to give the Terriers their sixth win in their last seven games. BU is now 5-1-0 against Top 10 opponents this season.
Up next, the Terriers will head out west to participate in Arizona State University’s Desert Hockey Classic. The tournament will begin on Jan. 6 against Air Force, with puck drop scheduled for 6 p.m. ET.