Men’s Hockey: No. 1 Terriers swept by No. 2 BC

Featured image: Kota Tsukada

By Claire Smieszny

Saturday night, Boston University Men’s Ice Hockey (16-6-1, 11-3-1 HEA) lost 4-3 to the Boston College Eagles (18-4-1, 11-3-1 HEA) as they completed the weekend sweep. 

“They don’t need a lot of chances to score.” coach Jay Pandolfo said. “You think you’re in a good spot, you’re dominating play, and then all of a sudden, they come back at you in the middle, [and the puck]’s in your net.”

BU started off the game as the more composed team, as they created offense early on and got the first couple of scoring chances of the game. The Terriers pressured BC’s freshman goaltender Jacob Fowler with shot after shot to start the game, but he stood tall in net like he had the previous night. 

Despite BU’s strong start to play, BC started creeping back into the game after graduate student defenseman Cade Webber went to the box for tripping. With just under 12 minutes to play in the first, the Eagles and their top power play unit started to organize themselves in BU’s end of the ice. 

BC became dominant in BU’s zone when senior forward Dylan Peterson headed for the sin bin just under a minute after Webber. This 5-on-3 opportunity proved successful for the Eagles, as freshman forward Gabe Perreault netted their first of the game on a tap-in in front of BU’s goal.

Their second of the game came just over a minute later. Sophomore defenseman Lukas Gustaffson connected with the puck on a rebound and sent it to the back of the net again. 2-0, Eagles just under halfway through the first. 

BC continued to dominate play throughout the period, but luckily BU would catch a break late. As BC’s sophomore forward Oskar Jellvik headed to the box for slashing, BU would get their chance and make good on it. 

A play around the boards got the puck to sophomore forward Ryan Greene’s stick behind the net, and he’d find freshman forward Shane Lachance’s 6 ‘8 presence by the net to slip it past Fowler. The score was 2-1 heading into the first intermission. 

BU came into the second period aggressive and fast, but fell victim to the pass first mentality. Several chances on net were botched due to not taking the available shot and looking for the wide open player instead.

BU would finally put one of those passes past Fowler for the equalizer, as graduate student forward Sam Stevens went down on one knee to connect with a pass from senior forward Luke Tuch. 

On the team’s offense, Pandolfo said “I thought our forwards all competed hard…That’s how we play. But I think it starts with winning your puck battles, getting to the net, recovering pucks, all those things which we didn’t do last night. We did it tonight.”

When senior forward Gentry Shamburger headed to the box for the Eagles, BU had their shot at taking the lead for the first time in the game. Lachance had a close call in front off of Celebrini’s rebound, but it wouldn’t go. Shamburger would make a break for BU’s net fresh out of the box, but junior goaltender Mathieu Caron was there to make the stop.  

Unfortunately for the Terriers, they couldn’t stave off BC for long. Sophomore forward Cutter Gauthier went five-hole on Caron to make the score 3-2 with six minutes left to go. 

BU got a couple chances on the man advantage towards the end of the period to even up the score. Everyone on the team put up as many chances as possible, but Fowler was simply unshakeable in net.

“He’s a beast… he held strong several times in his legs to be able to keep just not getting pushed into the net and keep rebounds out,” BC coach Greg Brown said.

As BU entered the third on the remainder of a power play, they’d try a couple times to get back to even ground with the Eagles. Neither team kept the puck under control long enough to establish offense, and the game went on full of turnovers, disorganized play and quick shots on net.

The teams exchanged glances on net as the period went on, as both the Eagles and Terriers hit the post. BC began playing up physically, making several plays that went uncalled but were repudiated by the crowd. 

Both goaltenders managed to stay on their A-game, as they were the only reason the third remained scoreless until 13:45 in. Will Smith got a feed on a 2-on-1 and took the wide open shot on Caron to double BC’s lead. 

The Terriers tried their best to get themselves back in the game, but had a difficult time penetrating BC’s defense. Additionally, Fowler was dialed in front of the net. BU had no other choice. With two and a half minutes left to play, Pandolfo beckoned Caron to the bench.  

The risk would be worth it, as soon after Celebrini would net his 17th of the season off a short over Fowler’s left shoulder. 4-3 Eagles with just two minutes to go.  Despite BU’s best efforts, it wouldn’t be enough. BC would take the win and the series with a final score of 4-3. 

BU now prepares for a quick turn around as they’ll head across town on Tuesday to faceoff against another intercity rival in the Northeastern Huskies. Puck drop is set for 6:30 p.m. at Matthews Arena, with streaming available on ESPNU.