Featured image: Kota Tsukada
By Devora Slonim
It was a wild night in North Andover, Massachusetts: the fire alarms went off at Lawler Rink, over an hour’s worth of penalty minutes were given, three major penalties were assessed, and three game misconducts were dished out.
Despite the madness, Boston University men’s hockey (9-4-1, 5-1-1 HEA) took the first of a weekend series against the Merrimack College Warriors (6-6-1, 2-4-1 HEA) as they held on to the lead all night.
The tension in the air was palpable off the puck drop for this Hockey East matchup, a rematch of last season’s Hockey East Championship.
Both teams had good puck possession early, applying pressure to junior goaltenders Mathieu Caron and Hugo Ollas. Still, BU found the back of the net halfway through the first as freshman forward Doug Grimes netted his second goal in as many games, beating Ollas in front.
Although a one-goal game thus far, both teams were aggressive in the first 20 minutes of play, with nine shots on goal per team. The lone goal gave the Terriers a 1-0 lead heading into the second.
The second period picked up with the same physicality as the first period.
BU received the first power play of the night as junior forward Matt Copponi received a five-minute major and game misconduct for boarding Terrier defenseman Cade Webber, who was slow to get off the ice.
Just 11 seconds into the five-minute man advantage, freshman forward Shane Lachance capitalizes, giving BU a 2-0 lead with four minutes and change left on the power play.
Two more penalties were dished out as Merrimack forward Ben Brar took a two-minute penalty for goaltender interference, and Caron received two minutes for roughing, with Grimes serving it.
Scuffles continued to ensue midway through the second. Warriors sophomore forward Tyler Young, freshman Ty Daneault, Terriers junior defenseman Ty Gallagher, and senior forward Luke Tuch each get two minutes a piece for roughing.
The fighting didn’t end there, as a minute later, Webber and Merrimack junior forward Devlin O’Brien get into it. Amidst the chaos and overflowing penalty boxes, BU gets an opportunity on the power play as freshman defenseman Frank Djurasevic, O’Briend, and Webber get minor penalties for roughing.
The slew of penalties resulted in another power play goal for Lachance as he found the deflection off of sophomore defenseman Lane Hutson’s wrist shot, giving the Terriers a 3-0 with less than five minutes left in an action-packed second period.
With 24 seconds left in the period, BU challenged a missed call on the ice at 1:49 that appeared to be contact to the head, resulting in Warrior forward Filip Forsmark receiving a five-minute major and a game misconduct, the second Merrimack ejection of the night.
The madness of the second period concluded early due to fire alarms going off at Lawler Rink. Both teams headed to the locker room with time left on the clock, and the stands evacuated the building.
The building received the all-clear, and the clock was rewinded to give an additional two minutes to the third period. Within those two minutes, sophomore forward Quinn Hutson received a slashing penalty.
After an abbreviated intermission, the third period was underway.
The Warriors find their first of the night as freshman forward Ethan Bono scores his first collegiate goal five minutes into the third.
Merrimack gets their first power play opportunity off an interference call to Gallagher. With 14 seconds left on the man advantage, the Warriors drew another penalty on a tripping call to Terrier freshman defenseman Gavin McCarthy, but Merrimack could not capitalize on four minutes of the man advantage.
BU goes back to the power play as Warriors freshman forward David Sacco gets the third major penalty of the game for slashing.
Sophomore forward Ryan Greene gets past Ollas at the end of the power play to give the Terriers a 4-1 lead, securing the win at the end of an action-packed game.
The teams will meet again for the second of the weekend series at Agganis Arena tomorrow night, Dec. 2, at 6 p.m. The contest will be available for streaming on ESPN+.