Men’s Hockey: No. 4/5 Terriers Double Up Eagles 6-3
By Gracie Davenport
No. 4/5 Boston University Men’s Hockey (18-6-0, 12-4-0 HE) doubled up the Boston College Eagles (9-8-5, 5-5-4 HE) 6-3 in front of a sold-out Agganis Arena Friday night. The Terriers’ second line was on the ice for five of the six goals, and sophomore defenseman Ty Gallagher picked up four points, including the game-winner.
“Huge win for us,” BU Head Coach Jay Pandolfo said. “I think we started off a little slow early in the game, turned way too many pucks over … I thought the second we played much better. Thought we controlled the second period, so it’s a big win.”
BU’s lineup saw some changes, with senior forward Jamie Armstrong returning to the lineup after missing the previous five games due to an undisclosed injury. Senior captain Domenick Fensore did not play after a hard hit he took against Maine on Jan. 20.
The team stepped up defensively in the Hobey Baker nominee’s absence, blocking 20 shots.
“I don’t think we’ll see Dom this weekend,” Pandolfo said. “I thought the [defense] did a great job. When we did make some mistakes, our guys were there to block shots.”
Junior goaltender Drew Commesso was pulled in his last start on Jan. 21 after allowing four goals on six shots, but the netminder earned his familiar starting position for Friday’s matchup.
Midway through the first period, freshman forward Ryan Greene was sent to the box for holding. Just 27 seconds on the man advantage, the Eagles earned the 1-0 lead on a goal from junior forward Trevor Kuntar, his eighth of the season.
Commesso was tested early and often, with a BC breakaway save off the stick of junior forward Nikita Nesterenko being his biggest save of the first.
“I thought his response tonight was incredible,” Pandolfo said on Commesso. “Obviously he didn’t have his best game last game. I think he knows that. We know that. But his response tonight was awesome.”
The Terriers were able to even the game at 1-1 in the dying seconds of the first, as senior forward Jay O’Brien was able to flip the puck into the back of the net with .4 seconds remaining. His third of the season was assisted by junior forward Dylan Peterson and Gallagher.
“Of course they feel great,” BC Head Coach Greg Brown said. “[We’re] disappointed because we thought we did a nice job there, to have them tie it up … you don’t want to give up a goal, but definitely not in the last couple seconds.”
The Eagles narrowly led in first-period shots on goal 12-10.
At the 6:48 mark of the middle frame, the all-freshman line connected to give the Terriers their first lead of the game, as Jeremy Wilmer collected his seventh goal of the season and his fourth in as many games. First-year linemates Quinn Hutson and Ryan Greene had the helpers.
Six minutes later, Peterson doubled the Terriers’ lead to make it 3-1, his first tally since Oct. 22.
“I’ve obviously struggled a little offensively this year,” Peterson said. “Anytime you score it’s fun, but against those guys it’s pretty special.”
BU dominated in shots on goal, holding a 17-6 advantage in the second.
As the final period got underway, Commesso continued to dazzle with a highlight-reel glove save, and a packed Agganis erupted.
“It was incredible,” Peterson said of the atmosphere. “Even walking over here two hours before the game you just kind of feel the buzz in the city.”
Gallagher picked up two straight goals, scoring in his second straight game.
“It’s definitely a huge confidence thing,” Gallagher said. “That definitely helps me build and obviously led to two more goals tonight, so it was great to get that first one last week.”
At this point, Brown pulled graduate goalie Mitch Benson to “collect and be ready for tomorrow.”
Junior forward Luke Tuch potted the last goal of the night to extend BU’s lead to five.
BC notched two goals in the span of 1:08 to bring it to within three, where the game would stay until the final buzzer.
Commesso finished the night with 24 saves as the Terriers outshot the Eagles 41-27. With a big three points, the Terriers now move past Northeastern University for first place in Hockey East.
BU will look to continue their momentum as they finish off their home-and-home at Conte Forum Saturday night, a building they haven’t won in since Dec. 1, 2017. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.