Men’s Hockey: Despite last-minute comeback, Terriers fall to Northeastern in OT

By Joe Eachus

If there’s one thing that’s doomed Boston University men’s hockey all year, it’s discipline.

After dominating the first half of overtime, with Northeastern not even touching the puck once, a mix-up on a line change led to a borderline too many men call on the No. 3 Terriers (16-7-1, 11-4-1 HEA), which the Huskies (10-12-2, 5-11-0 HEA) would capitalize on with 32.7 seconds remaining in the extra frame.

“Very [frustrating]… I honestly don’t have any comment on [the penalty call],” coach Jay Pandolfo said. “A little disappointed we can’t find ways to capitalize earlier in the game. For whatever reason, the puck’s not going in easy for us.”

BU’s penalty kill now sits at 82.6%, ranked 23rd in college hockey, and the timeliness of their penalties has remained an issue in almost all of their seven losses this season. Though their power-play ranks top-ten (25.7%, 8th NCAA), it has not been good enough to offset their often-disastrous man-down play.

“We just have to regroup, we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. There’s really not much else. We’re a good hockey team, and we’ll find a way to bounce back,” Pandolfo added.

The Terriers once again struggled to solve freshman goaltender Cameron Whitehead, as he stopped 38 shots after saving 36 in the previous matchup.

Unlike the two squads’ previous matchup earlier this month, the game started off as a back-and-forth battle. Shots in the first period were narrowly in the Terriers’ favor (9-6).

Northeastern picked up a 1-0 lead off Matthew Staudacher’s tough-angle shot. Essentially against the boards, the graduate defenseman fired towards a screened Mathieu Caron and found twine to ignite Matthews Arena.

Jack Harvey, playing in just his fifth game of the season for BU (and first time playing in consecutive games), would get a breakaway opportunity soon after, but was unable to score his first collegiate goal as Whitehead stood tall all night for the Huskies.

Heading into the second frame, BU was able to sustain possession for the first several minutes, including a great solo effort from junior Ty Gallagher as he danced around the offensive zone. Nothing would come of the opportunity, save for a couple of shots on net.

Northeastern came close to doubling their lead off a scramble in front of the net, as Matt Choupani found the puck sitting just a couple of feet in front of Caron. BU’s netminder came through with a massive glove save to prevent any further momentum shifts.

As BU threatened, Lane Hutson would thread a pass cross-crease to Dylan Peterson, but Northeastern captain Justin Hryckowian came up with a big-time block to keep the Terriers off the board.

The Terriers finally got on the board thanks to Macklin Celebrini’s laser past Whitehead and a screening Shane Lachance at 15:40 of the second period, with the big freshman parked in front of the net on the power-play. Celebrini had drawn the penalty a minute earlier, baiting Justin Hryckowian into grabbing his stick. BU sustained the offensive zone for almost the entire power-play opportunity before Celebrini’s goal.

A strong second period had the teams knotted up at one, with BU taking a 14-9 second-period shot advantage to the dressing rooms.

Starting off the third on the penalty kill after a Quinn Hutson hook, and then a second penalty taken by Case McCarthy, BU was overwhelmed by the once-stagnant Northeastern power-play, with Jack Williams firing a one-timer past Caron off a feed from Gunnarwolfe Fontaine at 2:49 of the third.

Jackson Dorrington gave the Huskies an insurance goal six minutes later, shooting from the top of the circle to make it 3-1 Northeastern.

But the Terriers weren’t quite done.

Quinn Hutson answered back a minute after Dorrington scored, taking a feed from his brother right in front of Whitehead, and easily putting the puck in the back of the net.

A back-and-forth second half of the third resulted in no scoring, until Whitehead was called for a trip to send BU on the power play with 4:07 remaining. Despite good effort on the man-up, BU could not solve Whitehead, and pulled Caron with 2:11 on the clock for a brief 6-on-4.

Possessing the puck with the goaltender at the bench, Celebrini fired a low shot towards Whitehead, who gave up a rebound right to the stick of Ryan Greene, who easily buried it to tie things up again.

The overtime period was dominated by BU until the dooming penalty, as Northeastern moved the puck effectively and Fontaine’s shot was tipped in front by Hryckowian past Caron to officially put the third-ranked Terriers on a losing streak.

After a sweep at the hands of Boston College over the weekend, and tonight’s loss, BU will need to right the ship as they head to UNH to take on the No. 18 Wildcats in Durham on Saturday, before a rematch with top-ranked BC at TD Garden next Monday in the opening round of the Beanpot. Saturday’s game is at 7 p.m. on ESPN+, and the Beanpot will air on NESN and stream on ESPN+ at 8 p.m.