By Itai Merlin
Cover Photo Credit: Joe Eachus
No. 9/8 Boston University Men’s Hockey (20-10-0, 14-6-0 HE) will travel to Vermont to face the Catamounts (9-16-5, 4-13-3 HE) in a two-game series this weekend.
The Terriers will look to bounce back after being swept last weekend against the Merrimack Warriors, pushing their losing streak to four games. Despite continuing to fall in the NCAA rankings this week, the Terriers remain in second place in the Hockey East standings, just one point behind Northeastern and only one point ahead of the Warriors.
“We’re obviously struggling recently, dropping four in a row, but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves,” BU Head Coach Jay Pandolfo said. “We have to find a way out of this. … We’ve had three really good days of practice before we play on Friday night for a big weekend against Vermont.”
Last weekend’s loss against the Warriors was especially tough for the Terriers, as BU was 16-0-0 this season when leading after two periods. For the Terriers, with a win of any kind, or a UConn loss of any kind, they will clinch home ice for the Hockey East quarterfinals. The Terriers have already secured a spot in the quarterfinals and can finish no lower than fifth in the league standings.
The Terriers and Catamounts have a long-lasting history, having played each other 89 times since the 1971-72 season, with BU holding a significant advantage with a 54-25-10 record.
While BU remains a top ranked squad nationally, the Catamounts enter the weekend in last place in Hockey East. The Catamounts are also winless in their previous four games, most recently suffering a 3-0 home loss to Northeastern last Saturday.
BU senior forward Matt Brown, a Hobey Baker nominee, became the first player in Hockey East to reach 40 points this season. Brown comes into the weekend ranked seventh nationally in total points and points per game (1.33). Brown is the first Terrier since David Farrance (43 points in 2019-20) to reach the 40-point milestone in a single season.
Another Hobey Baker nominee, freshman defenseman Lane Hutson, became the first Hockey East defenseman to reach 10 goals this season when he scored this past Saturday. No other NCAA defenseman has more points (38) and assists (28) than Hutson, who leads the league in assists and is second in points behind his teammate Matt Brown.
For the Catamounts, sophomore forward Isak Walther leads UVM with seven goals and 17 points, and is tied for second on the squad in assists (10). Junior Gabe Carriere and graduate Oskar Autio have split time between the pipes lately, each making five starts in 2023. Carriere boasts a 7-11-3 this season with a .912 save percentage and a 2.46 goals against average, while Autio has a 2-5-1 record with a .913 save percentage and a 2.82 goals against average.
Both games will be played at the Gutterson Fieldhouse. The series starts Friday, with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m.