By Michael Wax
For the first time since Dec. 1, 2017, the No. 4/5 Boston University Terriers (19-6-0, 13-4-0 HE) took home a victory at Conte Forum, defeating the Boston College Eagles (9-9-5, 5-6-4 HE) 3-1 on Saturday night.
“It’s hard to sweep in this league, clearly, and even more so on the road,” BU Head Coach Jay Pandolfo said. “I thought in the third they pushed really hard, we bent a little bit but at the end, we didn’t break… Overall, a great weekend for us.”
In their second consecutive game without senior captain Domenick Fensore, the Terriers once again were tasked with getting their sticks in lanes and putting together a total team effort on defense, led by the upperclassmen.
“Cade Webber and Case McCarthy, they’re always speaking up just by their play,” Pandolfo said. “The guys feed off it.”
Junior goaltender Drew Commesso was sharp early and often, stopping a multitude of Eagles’ chances. His best save in the opening frame came when he denied junior forward Trevor Kuntar’s one-timer on a 2-on-1. Commesso made 42 saves and was named first star, a far different outcome than his previous performance earlier in the season at Conte Forum, when the Terriers lost 9-6.
“I think this was kind of one that I’ve had circled on the calendar ever since that game,” Commesso said. “It kind of left a bad taste in my mouth that really motivated me and I know motivated the team as well.”
BU had the lead in first-period shots, outshooting the Eagles 9-7, but both teams had multiple chances to get the game’s first goal.
BU picked up the first lead of the game 1:25 into the first period. Senior forward and Hobey Baker nominee Matt Brown took the outlet pass from the Terriers’ zone and spun around his man before getting the puck over to freshman forward Devin Kaplan.
Entering the zone in an abridged 3-on-2, Kaplan patiently waited before firing the puck over to senior forward Wilmer Skoog, who put the puck over the shoulder of graduate goalie Mitch Benson. The goal was Skoog’s 10th of the season, his second consecutive year with double-digit goals.
BU doubled their lead 9:22 in. After an aggressive shift by the fourth line got the Terriers in the zone, junior forward Dylan Peterson got the puck to freshman defender Lane Hutson at the right faceoff dot. Hutson waited and waited before finding senior defenseman Case McCarthy above the other face-off dot, and he blasted a slap shot home for his third of the season.
“Cade had such a big weekend,” Commesso said. “I think he probably had half as many saves as I did this weekend. He’s so important to us.”
The Eagles responded to cut the deficit in half. After two Terrier penalties in 35 seconds, a face-off win gave BC offensive zone time with a 5-on-3. Freshman forward Andre Gasseau finished a nice passing play for his fifth of the season, with junior forward Nikita Nesterenko and junior defenseman Eamon Powell picking up the assists.
“I thought we’ve been better with our discipline, it got the best of us certainly tonight,” Pandolfo said. “So we’ll talk about it so hopefully we can address that.”
Commesso provided another highlight-reel save to keep the Terriers in front, stopping sophomore forward Mike Posma with his pad on a one-timer and subsequently getting a stick on a shot from freshman Lukas Gustafsson. BC led in shots through two periods 19-17.
In the final frame, BU weathered a few BC surges before finding the insurance goal. After missing the net on a rebound with Benson out of position, the Terriers continued to push the pace. A harmless looking shot from freshman forward Quinn Hutson was redirected by freshman forward Jeremy Wilmer. Wilmer’s eighth goal of the season was assisted by the Hutson brothers.
BU will bring their six-game winning streak into a matchup at Maine on Feb. 3. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.