Men’s Hockey: No. 7 Terriers Clinch Hockey East Crown
By Gracie Davenport
Cover Photo Credit: Joe Eachus
No. 7 Boston University Men’s Hockey (23-10-0, 17-6-0 HE) erased an early two-goal deficit to take down the Providence College Friars (14-12-7, 9-8-6 HE) 6-4 Friday night at Agganis Arena. Six of the 11 Class of 2023 members honored for Senior Night got on the scoresheet as the Terriers clinched the Hockey East regular season title for the first time since 2016-17 and the first time outright since 2014-15.
“I’m really proud of these guys,” BU Head Coach Jay Pandolfo said. “I know it’s only a regular season title, but it’s not easy. It’s a tough league. … They had the right mindset from Day 1, and I give them a lot of credit.”
The Friars opened the scoring with a goal from junior forward Brett Berard at the 2:18 mark.
After a BU turnover at the blue line, Berard beat junior goaltender Drew Commesso on the breakaway for his 10th goal of the season.
Shortly after, PC doubled its lead on the power play. On a BU cross-checking penalty, junior forward Nick Poisson tipped in senior defenseman Max Crozier’s shot from the point to make it 2-0.
“We got off to a little bit of a slow start, and then I thought we started executing our breakouts.” Pandolfo said. “It didn’t look great early [but] we came back, got the lead, and never looked back.”
Midway through the middle frame, BU got on the board with senior forward Wilmer Skoog’s 12th of the season. Dancing around a Friar defender, a diving Skoog beat freshman goaltender Philip Svedebäck in the slot. Senior forward Matt Brown picked up the secondary assist.
Two minutes later, freshman forwards Jeremy Wilmer and Quinn Hutson connected for a highlight reel, game-tying goal.
In Lane Hutson fashion, the freshman defenseman scored a late-period goal to take the 3-2 lead heading into intermission. On the goal line, the Hobey Baker nominee banked the puck off Svedebäck for the Terriers’ first lead.
“They came to play today. There’s no question about it,” Pandolfo said of the Hutsons. “They enjoy playing in big games. They’ve scored big goals for us all year long, so it was fun to watch.”
BU led in shots on net 10-7 through twenty minutes.
The Friars sent senior goaltender Austin Roden into the crease for the second period, and the back-and-forth scoring did not let up. The Hutsons scored another pair of goals to cushion the Terrier lead.
“I think it was a competition between us, so basically we had to score a couple more,” Quinn said.
After extended offensive puck possession, Lane Hutson’s wrister beat Roden to make it 4-2 five minutes into the middle frame. With his second of the night, this marked his third multi-goal effort of the year.
“It was a really fun game,” Lane said. “We hung in there and got the job done.”
Freshman forward Liam Valente made it a one-goal game less than a minute later, but Quinn Hutson’s breakaway goal regained the Terriers’ two-goal lead.
Deep in his own end, senior captain Domenick Fensore found a speeding Quinn Hutson in transition. This marked the freshman’s 12th goal and fifth game-winner of the season. Following a seven-game scoring drought, Quinn has three tallies in as many games.
“I think it was just a slump,” Quinn said. “They’re going to go in at some point. I had the shots.”
PC held the edge in second-period shots 13-11.
The Friars came within one after an early third-period goal from junior forward Chase Yoder. Brown cleaned up senior defenseman Case McCarthy’s initial shot 22 seconds later to push the final score to 6-4.
Commesso made 22 saves to earn his 18th victory of the year, but graduate goaltender Patrick Schena closed out the night in BU’s crease. Schena, who was the practice goaltender last season, played the final nine seconds of the game in his Terrier debut.
“It’s meant a lot to this group, having 11 seniors counting Pat. It was nice to see him get in there at the end, as well,” Pandolfo said. “They’ve helped me out a ton being a first-year head coach … really proud of them. They deserve it, too, on a special night.”
With a 3-1 loss from Northeastern University, BU’s win clinched the Terriers the Hockey East regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the tournament. However, they still have one more regular season game to go.
“It’s still a really important game for us tomorrow night,” Pandolfo said. “We got to go down and win that game, as well.”
The Terriers will finish off their regular season on the road Saturday night at Schneider Arena. The puck will drop in Providence at 7 p.m.