Featured Image: Jessica Lam
By Devora Slonim
The electricity in Agganis Arena was palpable from the moment No. 8 Boston University men’s hockey stepped on the ice.
The Terriers (7-3-1, 4-1-1 HE) swept the weekend series in another nail-bitter finish against the No. 9 University of Maine Black Bears (6-2-1, 3-1-1) on Saturday night.
“We’ve been learning how to win these tight games. We’re really coming together as a group. Obviously, it’s not the start we wanted [to the season], but we learned how to win tight hockey games, and it’s going to go a long way going down the stretch here,” said freshman forward Shane Lachance.
Tensions were high between both teams in the first period, picking up right where they left off from last night’s game.
Although BU dominated the first with time spent in the offensive zone, the Black Bears came out determined, taking the lead halfway through the first. Freshman forward Bradly Nadeau beat junior goaltender Mathieu Caron to give Maine a 1-0 lead.
However, the Terriers answered just a few minutes later on the first power play opportunity of the night. Sophomore forward Quinn Hutson danced around the Black Bears penalty kill unit and found the back of the net off a pass from sophomore (and brother) defenseman Lane Hutson, who extended his point streak to six games.
Caron was a brick wall in the net for the remainder of the period, making three huge saves to keep the score tied at one.
Both teams were feeling the heat to start the second. Mini scuffles broke out consistently in the first five minutes as tensions continued to rise.
Senior forward Luke Tuch opened the scoring in the second period just as time expired on BU’s first penalty of the night. Tuch’s wrist shot beat senior goaltender Victor Ostman for a 2-1 advantage.
Caron stood tall, stopping Bradly Nadeau on a breakaway opportunity and denying the Black Bears a rebound.
Maine had another ample scoring chance off a BU turnover, giving them a three-on-one advantage, but Caron was there yet again to keep the Terriers ahead by one.
With five minutes left in the second period, BU’s power play opportunity was negated on a tripping call to freshman forward Macklin Celebrini.
The Black Bears were looking to tie the game up before the end of the second, getting a surge and firing shots on Caron. They were unable to find the back of the net as Caron was sprawled out in front, making saves from every angle.
The third period began with heavy pressure from Maine’s offense. Caron stopped six shots within the first two minutes of the opening frame in the third.
The Terriers found their footing fast, opening the scoring again in the third frame, with Lachance netting his third goal of the season.
“[Lachance has] been a very good player for us,” said coach Jay Pandolfo. “He’s reliable, you can play him against anyone, he’s excellent on the power play… I’ve been really happy with him.”
Up by two, the Black Bears quickly cut the Terrier lead in half with a power play goal from defenseman Brandon Chabrier on a hooking penalty to BU captain Case McCarthy.
Twelve seconds later, the fans erupted as Quinn Hutson scored his second of the night, giving the Terriers back a two-goal lead.
Agganis Arena was electric; the stands were vibrating from the cheers and screams of the fans. The noise continued as sophomore forward Devin Kaplan gave BU a three-goal lead. Kaplan scored off a pass from behind from sophomore forward Jeremy Wilmer.
With just over six minutes left in the game, freshman forward Josh Nadeau took advantage on a Terrier tripping call, making the score 5-3 in favor of Maine.
However, the Black Bears were not done, as freshman defenseman Ryan Hopkins scored with just 2:45 left in the contest.
As the clock winded down, Ostman headed to the bench to give Maine an extra attacker for the final minute-thirty of the period.
With 10 seconds left, Caron made a sprawling cross-crease save, marking his 39th save of the night.
“He’s been huge for us all year… it helps us out a lot, helps us generate more too,” said Lane Hutson about Caron’s performance. “Everything’s just kind of clicking.”
The Terriers look ahead as they prepare to compete against Quinnipiac University, the reigning national champions.
“I think the last three weekends for us have been pretty good… we’re always looking to improve and Quinnipiac is a great team. We’ve got to be ready for the challenge,” said Pandolfo.
BU will face the Quinnipiac Bobcats on Wednesday, Nov. 22, at 5 p.m. for a Thanksgiving-Eve matchup. The contest will be available for streaming on ESPN+.