Men’s Hockey: Terriers host UConn in final home-and-home series of season

Featured image by Jacob Ireland

By Devora Slonim and Molly Kimball

The No. 2 Boston University Terriers (20-8-2, 14-4-2 HEA) are looking to start their home-and-home series against the University of Connecticut Huskies (12-15-2, 7-11-1 HEA) after their dominant 5-2 win last week in Providence. 

“We have to play our game and play the way we did on Saturday,” BU Head Coach Jay Pandolfo said. “UConn is coming off a bye week as well, so I’m sure they’re well rested… [T]hey lost their last weekend against UMass so they’ll be more motivated to get back into the win column… we’ve got to make sure we’re on top of our game.” 

Following a devastating loss in the Beanpot Championship game against Northeastern, the Terriers faced off for their first of two games against the Providence Friars. Tying the first of two was not ideal, and BU looked to their team leaders to regain momentum. Senior Nick Zabaneh netted a goal in each game, with Hockey East Defender of the Month Lane Hutson lighting the lamp as well. 

Pandolfo commended his team’s energy and physicality after coming out ahead of the Providence College Friars in their last game. Tallying fourteen penalty minutes, they do need to stay out of the box, but the Terriers should look to come out hot this weekend, staying physical as they head into two more games. 

However, the Huskies were swept for the first time this season, currently riding a two-game losing streak. UConn will look to their two stellar goaltenders, who average a .916 save percentage between them, sophomore Arsenii Sergeev and senior Ethan Haider, to hinder the Terrier’s offensive opportunities. 

BU will continue to rely on their young superstar, projected number-one pick for the 2024 NHL draft, Macklin Celebrini, to find scoring opportunities and generate puck possession in the offensive zone. For the first time in a game since January 26th, he was held without a point against Providence.

Also coming up big for the Terriers lately has been their big guys. Shane Lachance, a 6’5 freshman forward, netted a pair of goals on Saturday, his fourth two-point outing of the year. On the back end, 6’8 defenseman Cade Webber leads the NCAA in blocked shots. 

“He’s got really good hands and he’s smart,” Pandolfo said about Lachance. “He has a really good hockey sense and understanding of how to play the game, and I think that’s why he’s had the success he’s had this year.” 

BU’s power play has been red hot, as they went 1 for 1 on the power play and killed off all six penalty kills in their last game. Webber, the NCAA leader in blocked shots, was a large part of the penalty kill unit, blocking six shots during the Friar’s man advantage. 

The Terriers look to Webber and junior goaltender Mathieu Caron this weekend when they face off against Huskies’ Chase Bradley, who leads UConn in goals and points this season and generates high-scoring chances for his team.

BU will play their first of the home-and-home series in Storrs, Conn., on Friday night before heading home to play at Agganis Arena at 7 p.m. on Sat, Feb. 24. Both contests will be available for streaming on ESPN+.