Saturday, November 07, 2015

BU overcomes shaky second period to win in Grzelcyk's return

In a hard-hitting emotional contest, the #10/11 Terriers rebounded from a flawed second period to edge visiting Northeastern. Playing in front of the largest home crowd of the season (5,363), BU overcame a 4-3 deficit with third-period goals by sophomore Brandon Hickey and senior Ahti Oksanen to mark the return of Captain Matt Grzelcyk from off-season knee surgery.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the rink, sophomore Connor LaCouvee, who had yielded four Husky scores in the middle period, stopped all 19 shots in the third, which included a 6-on-4 NU power play in the final minutes, to secure the victory. He would finish with a career-best 36 saves.

BU dominated play during the first 27 minutes, building a 2-0 lead on Grzelcyk's first-period wrist shot and Brandon Fortunato’s finish of a backdoor feed from Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson early in the second. Northeastern responded three minutes later when Adam Gaudette deflected home Matt Benning’s slapper from the center point, and, six minutes later, the visitors knotted the score on Garrett Cockerill’s power play goal. Freshman Ryan Cloonan then stripped the puck from a defender, creating a breakaway that he cashed in with a backhander for a 3-2 BU lead.

But before BU fans could finish celebrating, Northeastern beat LaCouvee twice in 30 seconds— the first by Dylan Sikura and the second, an Eric Williams slapper—for its only lead of the evening. And that set the stage for BU’s third-period comeback. 

Describing the Huskies' late efforts to tie the game with their goalie pulled and a Terrier in the penalty box, LaCouvee remarked:
 “That was a bit of a gong show there. I was just trying to stay in front of the puck and trying to keep it out. Doyle [Somerby] probably made three or four blocks in the last couple of minutes; it was unreal.”

Oksanen, who set up Hickey’s tying goal after BU had killed a two-man advantage early in the third, had three points in the game, while linemate Danny O’Regan had two, assisting on both third-period goals. The Finnish wing has scored the game-winner in the last two games.

Three stars: 1. Oksanen, 2. Sikura, 3. Grzelcyk

►The Huskies outshot BU, 40 to 29 after dominating the last ten minutes of the game. Northeastern also had 12 shots during eight power plays, while BU managed only one power play shot in three opportunities.

►JFK had a strong night in the faceoff circle, winning 19 of 29 draws.

The teams will complete the home-and-home series tonight at Matthews Arena beginning at 7 p.m.

● recap and comprehensive box score
● Video highlights
● Post-game comments: Quinn, LaCouvee and Oksanen
●  Daily Free Press recap and Captain’s Return
● Boston Hockey Blog Pluses & Minuses and Photo Gallery
● USCHO recap
● SB Nation recap

Looking ahead
2017 recruit Hank Crone, in his first game since being traded to Fargo, scored a goal and an assist in the Forces’s 7-1 rout of Des Moines.

2017 recruit David Farrance assisted on the tying goal for Team USA late in the third, but Finland would go on to win in overtime, 5-4, in the fifth-place game at the World U17 Challenge in British Columbia. In six games, the left-shot defenseman from Victor, New York scored two goals and assisted on four more.

Women’s Team

Terriers face off today with #2 Boston College on Military Appreciation Day at Walter Brown Arena. Puck drop is set for 3 p.m. The 6-4-0 Terriers are led by Rebecca Leslie (photo) and Rebecca Russo with 15 and 14 points respectively. Junior Maddie Elia and freshman Sammy Davis each have seven goals apiece.

The Eagles are led by Alex Carpenter with 23 points (14-9-23) and Haley Skarupa with 19 points (6-13-19).

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