Men’s Hockey: Celebrini’s stellar night powers Terriers in win over UConn

Featured image by Holly Gustavsen

By Devora Slonim

Boston University men’s hockey (21-8-2, 15-4-2 HEA) dominated in the first of their home-and-home series against the University of Connecticut Huskies (12-16-2, 7-12-1 HEA).

“[UConn] came out hard. A lot of special teams, but I thought we found our game in the second [period]. Great to get a road win,” coach Jay Pandolfo said.

A tic-tac-toe play in the opening five minutes of the contest set up young superstar Macklin Celebrini with the early goal to give the No. 2 Terriers a 1-0 lead. The freshman group entertained in Storrs, Conn., as the play was created by red-hot Shane Lachance, who scored two in his last game, and Jack Harvey in the offensive zone. 

BU struggled with puck possession in the first period; the Huskies spent several minutes in the Terriers zone. Junior goaltender Mathieu Caron ensured the score stayed 1-0 for BU, but not for a lack of effort from UConn. 

The Terriers regained momentum with just over three minutes in the first from Harvey, who beat Arsenii Sergeev with a wrist shot blocker side for the 2-0 lead. 

The Huskies received their first man advantage of the night on a high-sticking call to BU graduate student Sam Stevens. Still, the Terriers persisted in their penalty kill, fending off their seventh straight penalty. 

UConn was hungry in the second period, opening with the same consistent pressure as they had in the first. Just three minutes into the second frame, sophomore Samu Salminen beat Caron in front to cut the Terrier’s lead in half. 

However, the Husky’s push was short-lived as Celebrini netted his second of the game on the first power play opportunity of the night for BU, giving the Terriers back their two-goal lead. 

“Not many games during college hockey, so you cherish each one and you make the most of every one,” Celebrini said.

BU went 2-2 on the powerplay as sophomore Quinn Hutson lit the lamp off a pass from his brother and Hockey East Defender of the Month Lane Hutson to take a 4-1 lead halfway through the second. 

Scuffles broke out throughout the second, with both teams getting physical, and chirps were exchanged back and forth between the players. 

The game was delayed as the officials sorted out roughing penalties, resulting in a five-minute major and game misconduct to UConn Senior forward Nick Capone for a low hit to Celebrini’s head. 

“There was a lot of stuff going on tonight. I thought our guys stuck up for each other,” Pandolfo said. “I was really happy with our response to some of the stuff going on.”

The Terriers’ five-minute man advantage was negated two minutes in as Lane Hutson received an interference call, giving both teams open ice for two minutes of 4 v. 4 hockey. 

Returning back to full strength, BU senior Dylan Peterson and senior Huskie John Spetz got tangled up in front of Sergeev, resulting in both getting matching roughing minors. 

With the clock running out in the second, Celebrini drew a high sticking penalty; the Terriers headed to the locker room prepared to open up the third on a powerplay and with a lot of open ice for a 4 v. 3 opportunity. 

The third period was underway with the BU player advantage, but UConn successfully protected their net and killed off the power play. 

The Terriers found success after the scoreless powerplay, as Quinn Hutson and Jack Hughes connected on a 2-on-1 breakaway where Hughes beat Sergeev for his seventh goal of the year. 

BU returned to the power play with under ten minutes remaining in the contest, as the Huskies’ point leader, junior Chase Bradley, headed off for slashing. 

Just as the power play expired, sophomore Jeremy Wilmer beat Sergeev with a redirection in front to give the Terriers a secure 6-1 lead. 

Tempers flared as Peterson and sophomore Matthew Wood dropped the gloves; both players received double minors, and the game continued with full-strength hockey. 

The 15th and 16th penalties of the night came with just under three minutes remaining in the game, and Bradley received a five-minute major for slashing. The 17th and final penalty of the night was handed to BU forward Aiden Celebrini for holding. 

26 saves later, Caron and the Terriers secured the 6-1 win against UConn. 

BU and the Huskies will face off again tomorrow night at Agganis Arena for their second of the home-and-home series. Puck drop is at 7 p.m., and the game will be available for streaming on ESPN+.