Men’s Hockey: Greene, Caron send No. 5 Terriers past No. 3 Quinnipiac

Featured image: Andrew Burke-Stevenson

By Joe Eachus

In a top-five matchup that delivered on the hype, Boston University men’s hockey came back from two goals down in the third period to take down the third-ranked Quinnipiac Bobcats, 3-2.

The Terriers (9-3-1, 5-1-1 HEA) last hosted a top-five team back in October 2009, when then-No.3 BU won 3-2 over No. 4/5 Michigan. This time, their visitor was the defending national champions, and BU stepped up to deliver an instant classic against the Bobcats (9-4-1, 5-0-1 ECAC).

“Down 2-0 against that team, it’s tough to come back. Really happy with how the guys responded,” coach Jay Pandolfo said. “I could tell from the feel on the bench, the guys didn’t get down and kept pushing. Just a great response, and it’s a huge win for us.”

Right off the opening draw, the Terrier penalty kill was forced onto the ice, as sophomore forward Quinn Hutson was called for a slash just fifteen seconds into the game. BU killed it off, with help from junior goaltender Mathieu Caron making several key saves early, but graduate forward Sam Stevens would head to the box for slashing ten seconds after the elder Hutson departed.

Though the Bobcats threatened with sustained pressure, they only managed two shots on goal in what was essentially a four-minute power play.

“The penalty kill was great. [Associate head coach] Joe [Pereira] runs it, he made some adjustments, but at the end of the day [Caron] was there any time they had any quality chances. He was excellent tonight,” Pandolfo added. Caron tallied 27 saves on 29 shots as he has continued to settle into his role after a shaky shart.

Despite the early momentum shift, the Terriers would go on to dominate the stat sheet for the rest of the first period, firing 11 shots on goal to Quinnipiac’s 5. However, in his return to Agganis Arena after transferring away from Comm. Ave. last spring, senior goaltender Vinny Duplessis stood tall in the net, making a string of excellent saves to keep the game scoreless.

The second period was much of the same. Back-and-forth hockey, chances both ways, but both goalies made the saves they needed to as the teams headed into the second intermission scoreless.

Freshman forward Andon Cerbone finally lit the lamp with a top-shelf rip, coming off a beautiful behind-the-net feed from graduate forward Zach Tupker, as Tupker found the smallest of gaps to send the puck to Cerbone between the circles. 

It didn’t take long for the Bobcats to double their lead, as sophomore defenseman Charles Alexis Legault’s wrister from the point found BU senior defenseman Cade Webber, bouncing off of him into the back of the net.

In just about two minutes of game time, the game went from a 0-0 battle to a two-goal lead for the third-ranked team in the nation.

BU had an answer. In a textbook puck-movement clinic, all five skaters on the ice touched the puck within a 10-second span, culminating with a Lane Hutson shot from top of the circles that Jeremy Wilmer tipped past Duplessis to bring the Terriers within one.

“There were five guys snapping the puck around, it was a really good play,” Wilmer said. “Lane finished it off, made a really good pass, and I just sort of tapped it in… We’re starting to come together as a group, and it’s definitely showing on the ice.”

As time ticked down, sophomore forward Devin Kaplan carried the puck through the zone for a shot at the right circle. A juicy rebound from Duplessis led to net-front chaos, Kaplan scooped up his own rebound, and dished to classmate/linemate Ryan Greene, who had a wide-open net to pot his fifth goal of the year.

Graduate forward Sam Stevens drew an interference penalty as the clock ticked under three minutes to go, receiving a hit from behind from senior defenseman Cooper Moore, and one of college hockey’s best power plays headed onto the ice with their eyes set on avoiding overtime.

Ryan Greene would do just that, taking a dish from Lane Hutson at the point, walking in, and sending a low shot past Duplessis to give BU a one-goal lead with less than two minutes to play.

“They’re the No. 1 team in the country, we’re No. 2 [in PairWise], so it’s a big win for us,” Greene said. The win propelled BU to the top spot in the PairWise ranking.

Quinnipiac opted for an extra skater and pulled Duplessis, but the Terrier defense shut the potent Bobcat offense down to seal the victory and spoil Duplessis’ return.

“I told [Duplessis] I loved him [postgame]. Unbelievable guy, we loved having him here last year,” Greene added. “It’s unfortunate he had to go, but that’s college hockey. I know he’s doing really well at Quinnipiac so far, so I told him good game and good luck the rest of the way.”

BU’s first-semester gauntlet continues on Saturday, as they stare down a date with No. 16 Cornell at Madison Square Garden for Red Hot Hockey. Puck drop is set for 8 p.m. and the game will be available to stream on ESPN+.