By Miranda Lemus
Cover Photo Credit: Jessica Lam
While much of the student body has left campus for spring break, No. 5 Boston University Men’s Hockey (24-10-0, 18-6-0 HE) has been hard at work preparing for their Hockey East Quarterfinal game against the University of Vermont Catamounts (11-19-5, 5-16-3 HE) on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s that time of year… This kind of what you play all year for is playoff time and I’m happy for our group,” BU Head Coach Jay Pandolfo said. “We’ve put ourselves in a pretty good spot having the No. 1 seed for the Hockey East Championships, so we’re looking forward to getting going here versus Vermont.”
Not only does their regular season championship grant them a home-ice advantage throughout the tournament, but it also places them against the lowest remaining seed in the Hockey East Tournament, putting BU in the best position to take home the Hockey East Championship.
Earlier in the Hockey East Tournament opening round, the 11th-seeded Catamounts upset the No. 6-seeded University of Maine Black Bears in a 4-2 shocker, putting Vermont up against the Terriers for the Catamounts’ next step toward the Hockey East Championship.
Although the Catamounts are the true underdogs of the tournament, facing BU has proved difficult for UVM all season. The Terriers will be skating into the quarterfinals with a four-game win streak, two of the wins coming from 5-3 and 3-0 wins over the Catamounts on Feb. 24 and 25, respectively.
Freshman defenseman Lane Hutson was missing from the scoresheet in both tilts against the Catamount. In the past week, Hutson has earned a plethora of Hockey East awards. Hutson became the first defenseman to earn the Hockey East scoring title in the conference’s history, and took home his sixth Rookie of the Week honor.
Hutson’s two assists in the Terriers’ last regular season game against the Providence College Friars helped BU finish their regular season off strong and put the freshman in a great position to earn Rookie of the Year honors at the end of the Terriers’ playoff run.
Hutson will look to continue his record-breaking rookie season starting with the UVM this Saturday.
“It’s not easy. This a tough league, and to come in your freshman year and be as productive as all five of them have, it’s pretty impressive,” said Pandolfo, who believes that the freshmen are a big reason why the Terriers are in the position they are this postseason.
Among the rest of the Hockey East awards given out this past week were a few that fellow Terriers also earned. Senior forward Sam Stevens was awarded Co-Player of the Week, senior captain Domenick Fensore and senior forward Matt Brown joined Hutson on the Hockey East First All-Star Team, senior forward Wilmer Skoog was selected for the Hockey East Third All-Star Team, and freshman forward Ryan Greene also joined Hutson in the Hockey East All-Rookie Team.
While the Catamounts were left without any Hockey East regular season awards, Vermont did earn a singular Hockey East award through a Goaltender of the Week honor, given to junior goaltender Gabe Carriere for his strong performance against UNH on Dec. 2 and 3.
On paper, the Terriers bring every advantage to this quarterfinal tilt, but the Catamounts have already come from behind once during the tournament and won’t be afraid to do it again.
BU’s first playoff game of the year will take place against UVM in the Hockey East Quarterfinal this Saturday at Agganis Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.