Featured photo: Jacob Ireland
By Miranda Lemus
The weekend is upon No. 8/9 Boston University Men’s Hockey (4-3-1, 1-1-1 HEA), which means it’s time for the Terriers to play another home-and-home series. This weekend, BU will take on the UMass Lowell River Hawks (4-4-0, 1-3-0 HEA) as they resume Hockey East play.
“[Last weekend] was good for our team, to play [a team like North Dakota] early on,” said coach Jay Pandolfo. “UMass Lowell is always tough to play against, so hopefully our guys are ready.”
Possibly absent from the Terriers’ roster this weekend is National Rookie of the Month and Hockey East Player of the Month forward Macklin Celebrini, per source. Following a hit to the head during last Saturday’s game against the University of North Dakota, Celebrini may take a backseat for this series in hopes of returning next week.
Described as dealing with “residual soreness” by Pandolfo, Celebrini was ruled as a game-time decision on Thursday. The injury is not concussion-related.
With Celebrini projected to be out, BU has to rely on Hockey East Player of the Week Lane Hutson to produce offensively. Despite being a second-year defenseman, Hutson continuously finds himself on the scoresheet. Currently, Hutson has nine points in seven games, trailing behind Celebrini’s 14 points in eight games.
“He’s continuing to grow as a player and continuing to grow his defensive game,” Pandolfo said of his star defenseman.
It is evident that while Hutson is putting up points offensively, he has lacked defensively so far this season. Right now, Hutson has the lowest plus-minus out of all Terriers with minus four. On the other hand, freshman defensemen Aiden Celebrini and Tom Willander are both tied for the highest plus-minus with plus five.
Aiden Celebrini has been this season’s unsung hero so far, stepping up in big moments and doing the little things exceptionally well. From blocking shots to making key breakout passes, Aiden has not fallen in the shadow of his brother Macklin in spite of what the stat sheet might say.
Although UMass Lowell has no players as highly touted as Hutson or Celebrini, their goaltending has kept them within one or two goals in games against tough opponents. Most recently, the River Hawks played the No. 1 Boston College Eagles and lost by a score of 3-2 in both games.
Between junior Luke Pavicivh and senior Henry Welsch, the River Hawks crease has been well-protected all season despite their .250 conference win percentage. So far, Pavicich or Welsch have split each weekend series and have put up very similar performances. Against either netminder, the Terriers will have their work cut out for them.
The No. 8/9 Boston University Men’s Hockey will travel to Lowell, MA this Friday to play the UMass Lowell River Hawks at the Tsongas Center. On Saturday, the Terriers will make their way back to Boston to host the River Hawks at Agganis Arena. Puck drop for Friday’s game is 7:15 p.m. and Saturday’s game will start at 7 p.m. This weekend’s series will be available to stream on ESPN+.