By Miranda Lemus
No. 9 Boston University Men’s Hockey significantly capitalized on special teams to skate through the No. 17 University of Massachusetts Minutemen, 5-2 on Friday night.
“Certainly happy with our effort,” said coach Jay Pandolfo.
The Terriers (3-2-0, 1-1-0 HEA) earned their first win of the Hockey East calendar, and the Minutemen (4-2-0, 0-1-0 HEA) begin their conference slate with a resounding defeat.
Less than a minute into the first, UMass junior forward Ryan Lautenbach scores off a cross-ice feed from junior defenseman Scott Morrow. After senior forward Luke Tuch failed to clear the puck out of the Terriers’ defensive zone, the Minutemen quickly recovered to put them up 1-0.
With five minutes left to go in the first frame, senior forward Dylan Peterson almost snuck the puck past freshman goaltender Michael Hrabel but was quickly denied. The save led to a scrum near the Terriers blue line where UMass freshman forward Cam O’Neill was called for tripping freshman forward Shane LaChance.
O’Neill’s penalty led sophomore defenseman Lane Huston to cash in on the powerplay, scoring five-hole on Hrabel. Sophomore forwards Jeremy Wilmer and Ryan Greene were awarded the primary and secondary assists respectively.
Shortly after Hutson’s game-tying goal, Peterson was called for boarding, but the Terriers were able to kill off the penalty successfully. Seconds after returning back to even strength, Wilmer earned his second assist of the game after dishing the puck over to freshman forward Macklin Celebrini, who backhanded the puck into the back of the net. 2-1 Terriers going into the second frame.
UMass started the second period with a power play after Celebrini was called for slashing in a late scrum as the buzzer rang in the first. However, BU continued their strong defensive efforts to bring the game back to even strength.
Both teams started the second with equal possession, but a fall from freshman defenseman Tom Willander gave the Minutemen a 2-on-1. Fortunately for the Terriers, junior goaltender Mathieu Caron made a key save to protect BU’s lead.
Boston would later be granted their third powerplay of the game with 10 minutes left in the second frame following an interface call on UMass’s Scott Morrow. Although the Terriers dominated possession, the Minutemen kept BU from extending their lead.
Five minutes later, Wilmer earned his third assist of the game when his pass to senior forward Nick Zabanah was brought below the goalline and dished off to Peterson who buried the pass bar-down. The Terriers go up 3-1.
“[Zabaneh] and [Peterson] were flying all night so I was sort of just looking for them, giving them the puck and they made the most of their opportunities,” said Wilmer.
Inevitably, another Terrier was called for a penalty. This time, freshman forward Aiden Celebrini was escorted to the box for boarding a UMass forward. With five seconds remaining on Celebrini’s penalty, graduate forward Sam Stevens would join him after being called for slashing.
Caron carried the Terriers through the four-minute penalty. Continuously making highlight reel saves, Caron earned a standing ovation from the crowd and certainly made up for his lackluster performances over the past few games.
The opening 10 minutes of play in the final period gave the Terriers and the Minutemen quality chances. A standout from those opening minutes was freshman defenseman Gavin McCarthy who bailed out BU with a number of blocked shots.
The Terriers were given yet another powerplay after sophomore forward Kenny Connors was put in the box. The powerplay would lead Greene to score his second goal of the season off of a rebound in the slot.
UMass quickly fired back after Greene’s goal when junior forward Taylor Makar lit the lamp. Junior forward Lucas Mercuri would get the lone assist on Makar’s goal. Nonetheless, the Terriers lead 4-2 with five minutes left to go.
Eventually, UMass would call Hrabel to the bench to gain the extra man. BU held pressure in the neutral and defensive zones with ease allowing Tuch to score his third goal of the season on the empty net.
The Terriers head out to Amherst to complete the home-and-home set, with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday. The game will be available to stream on ESPN+.