Sunday, March 19, 2023

BU to face Western Michigan in Manchester Regional; SNL


Newly-minted Hockey East Tournament Champion BU, the #2 seed in the Manchester Regional will face #3 seed Western Michigan when the NCAA tournament kicks off on Thursday. The #5 Terriers and the Broncos, #12 in the PairWise, will play the tournament's first game at SNHU Arena in a 2 p.m. start that will air on ESPNU 

The other half of the draw has #1 seed and defending national champion Denver matched with #4 seed Cornell. The winners will play Saturday at 4 p.m.

BU will be making its 38th NCAA appearance and first since 2021. Each of the Terriers' past two Frozen Four teams (2009, 2015) won a regional in Manchester.

The game will feature two of the highest scoring offenses in Division 1: BU is third with 3.92 goals per game and WMU is fifth at 3.87. The Broncos' freshman Ryan McAllister has 48 points and senior Jason Pollin 46 points in 38 points. BU's Lane Hutson has 47 points and Matt Brown 46, both in 36 points. The teams have split six all-time meetings. Their last match-up was in December 1994 in the Mariuci Classic with BU winning 5-2. That Terrier team, featuring forward Jay Pandolfo, would go on to win the 1995 national championship.

Selection Sunday interviews: Pandolfo, Fensore, Lane Hutson                                College Hockey News NCAA Tournament, First Look

USCHO NCAA Tournament Field Set

SNL (Saturday Night Leftovers)

 BU completed its seventh Hockey East "double" by claiming both the regular-season and tournament titles, joining the 1993-94, 1994-95, 1996-97, 2005-06, 2008-09 and 2014-15 squads. 

Terriers now own the longest active winning streak in Division 1, seven games. Saturday's win snapped Merrimack's seven-game streak.

Terriers came from behind to tie the score and win in overtime against Providence and Merrimack, never leading in either game until scoring the overtime winners. 

BU Hockey Stats tweeted that “A Hutson has scored the last goal of all 3 of BU's Hockey East Playoff wins. Quinn scored the final goal against Vermont and the OT winner against the Friars, while Lane ended the championship game. 

With the win against Merrimack, BU has beaten every Hockey East opponent at least once this season. 

Saturday’s victory was the Terriers' third overtime win in a Hockey East title game; BU also won the 1991 Tournament on Sean McEachern’s OT goal against Maine and the 2006 title on Brandon Yip’s goal.’s Chris Peters reports that “In addition to winning the Hockey East title for BU with this overtime winner, Lane Hutson (MTL) now has 47 points this season. He is the highest-scoring U19 defenseman in NCAA hockey since Brian Leetch had 47 in 1986-87.” 

Freshman Ryan Greene assisted on three of BU’s five goals in the two TD Garden games. 

With his 10th goal, which tied Saturday’s game at 2-2, Devin Kaplan became the fifth Terrier to hit double figures in goals. Four others have nine. 

Is it a coincidence that Kaplan scored shortly after a certain BU fan’s dramatic appearance?   

How the BU band saw the game-winner and what they did next:

Senior Matt Brown's assist on the game-winner puts him two points shy of the century mark for his career. Of his 98 points, 61 have come as a Terrier. Brown transferred to BU after two seasons at UMass Lowell. 

Boston Hockey Blog Cade Webber played unsung hero for BU in Hockey East final 

Boston Hockey Blog Terriers gut out 3-2 win

Looking ahead 

2023 recruit Jack Harvey scored twice and added an assist in Chicago’s 7-1 thumping of Madison. With four goals over the weekend, the Stacy, Minn., native set a new franchise career record for goals with 68, breaking the mark previously held by Matt Coronato. 2023 recruit Macklin Celebrini assisted on a pair of goals and boosted his league-leading point total to 74 (41G,33A). Harvey is third with 64 points (33G,31A). 

Looking back 

Jack Eichel’s hat trick powered Vegas past Columbus, 7-3. The former All-American and Hobey Baker Award winner now has 26 goals. 

Charlie McAvoy and Charlie Coyle each scored a third-period goal as the Bruins blanked Buffalo, 7-0. McAvoy also assisted on Coyle’s goal.   

UPDATED Terriers rally to win Hockey East Championship in OT on Lane Hutson goal

For those looking for the post-game press conference, the correct link is now available below

Lane Hutson’s goal at 1:57 of overtime—his second tally of the game—lifted the #5 Terriers to a 3-2 win over Merrimack before 14,306 at TD Garden, as they claimed the school’s 10th Hockey East tournament championship and BU’s first since 2018. Backed by a strong 24-save effort by goalie Drew Commesso, the Terriers overcame one-goal deficits twice, on Hutson’s first goal and on a third-period score by Devin Kaplan. 

Photo credit Richard T. Gagnon

BU's 27th of the season, bringing it's record to 27-10-0, is the most by the program since 2014-15 when the Terriers won 28 en route to playing in the NCAA championship game.

The Terriers remain at #5 in the Pairwise rankings with all six conference titles decided. They'll find out Sunday during the NCAA Selection Show where they'll be slotted for next weekend's NCAA Regionals. It has been projected that BU will have the second seed in the Manchester, N.H. regional.

I’m at a loss for words, a little bit. I will say I’m really proud of our group. These guys have been so resilient all year long, it’s made my job really easy,” said Head Coach Jay Pandolfo, who became the first rookie coach to lead his team to the Hockey East championship.

“I know we’re not done yet, but to get this first one that I know we really wanted to win this year, we’ve accomplished that and now we move on,” he added. "Right now, we’re going pretty good. We’ve grown as a team the last two nights. Last night not being at our best but still finding a way to win. Tonight, getting down and I thought overall we had a pretty good game, coming back twice and then winning in overtime. It goes a long way for our group. "

BU went into the game minus two key seniors. Case McCarthy suffered a broken collar bone in Friday's win over Providence. Wilmer Skoog was suspended one game by Hockey East as supplemental discipline for a boarding penalty in the PC game. Ethan Phillips moved up to the first line and Lachlan Getz joined the third defensive pair. Then during the contest, BU would lose another player when Nick Zabaneh suffered a lower body injury that kept him out of the rest of the game.

Merrimack came out playing a tight-checking game similar to what Providence had used to smother the Terriers early on. This time, BU adjusted quickly, created some offensive zone opportunities and drew the game’s first power play at 5:14.

BU had two scoring chances, but it was the Warriors who capitalized as Ben Brar centered a pass to Christian Felton at the goalmouth. The defenseman redirected the puck past Commesso to give Merrimack an early lead. 

Minutes later with Merrimack on a power play, Commesso made a sparkling save on Zach Bookman’s close-in attempt to keep the score 1-0.  

During a second BU power play, Matt Brown set up Jay O’Brien for a one-timer from the bumper spot. His shot rang off the right post. 

BU out shot Merrimack 10-9 and dominated at the face off dot, 12-3, but more importantly, the Warriors took two penalties in the last 39 seconds of the period. BU would begin the second period with a 5-on-3 advantage. 

It took BU just 38 seconds into the period to produce an equalizer. After Kaplan’s shot was defended, Captain Dom Fensore set up Lane Hutson for a one-timer from the right dot that blew past goalie Hugo Ollas. It was the Hockey East scoring leader’s 13th goal. 

BU nearly scored again during the ensuing 5-on-4 advantage. Ryan Greene backhanded a pass from the goal line to Luke Tuch between the hash marks. His one-time shot went off Ollas’ glove, then off the right post. 

Merrimack regained the lead at 15:09 of the second when Tristan Crozier won an offensive zone draw cleanly back to Mac Welscher at the top of the circle. Before the Terriers could move on him, his blast beat Commesso on the blocker side. 

Two minutes later, an O’Brien steal led to a grade A chance for Quinn Hutson, but Ollas flashed the glove to deny him. BU out shot their opponent again, 12-8, but again were down a goal as the period ended. 

Both teams created multiple scoring chances as the third period began but the two goalies slammed the door. Nine minutes in Jamie Armstrong sent the puck from the neutral zone in the Merrimack end and it deflected to the left boards. Kaplan outmuscled a Warrior skater, turned another defender as he skated cross ice to the right circle and fired back against the grain beating Ollas above the right pad to knot the score at 2-2. For the freshman wing, it was his 10th goal.  

BU’s best chance to take the lead in regulation came with four minutes remaining. From just outside the goalmouth, Tuch tried to convert the rebound of a hard O’Brien shot, but it was swallowed up by Ollas. 

After both semifinals had been decided in overtime, the title game would be as well. 

In the opening seconds of overtime, O’Brien stripped a Warrior and had shot from the high slot that was blocked. After Sam Stevens blocked a shot attempt, Ty Gallagher sent the puck ahead to Brown who sent the puck deep with Stevens getting to it first. Brown retrieved the puck behind the cage and slid it out to Hutson at the right point. As Hutson danced to center point, Brown made a beeline to the net and was perfectly positioned to screen Ollas. Hutson’s shot rocketed past the netminder’s glove and into the net as the Terriers exploded onto the ice to celebrate. 

Lane Hutson was named the Bill Flynn Tournament MVP and was joined on the Steve Nazro All-Tournament Team by classmate Devin Kaplan and juniors Drew Commesso and Dylan Peterson.  

Coach Pandolfo and captain Fensore accepted the Lamoriello Trophy as tournament champions. The trophy is named for Lou Lamoriello, who was general manager of the NJ Devils when Pandolfo played for them. 

Addressing the winning goal, Hutson explained, “I saw Matt Brown had the puck down low and the Merrimack guys were collapsing down on him. I called for the puck and he put it right on my tape.” 

With an assist on Friday and two goals in the title game, he has a team leading 47 points on 14 goals and 33 assists. Hutson, who is Hockey East's Rookie of the Year and a Hobey Baker Award finalist, leads all D1 defensemen in scoring and is seventh overall.

As the Terriers skated with the Lamoriello Cup, the BU faithful sang a chorus of "Hey Baby." recap and comprehensive box score 

HockeyEastOnline recap and photo gallery  

Looking Ahead 

2023 recruit Jack Harvey scored a pair of goals (#s 30 and 31), including the game-winner, and fellow recruit Macklin Celebrini tallied his 41st in Chicago’s 4-3 win against Dubuque. A third 2023 recruit, defenseman Hunter Hady assisted on Harvey’s second goal. 

2023 recruit Doug Grimes scored his 18th goal and added an assist in Lincoln’s 5-1 win over Omaha, bringing his points total to 37 in 39 games. 

In the NTDP U18s’ 10-0 drubbing of Muskegon, 2024 recruit Kai Janviraya scored a goal and added an assist. Fellow recruit Cole Hutson assisted on a pair of goals bringing his combined U17 and U18 totals to 9-40-49, which ties him for sixth with former Terriers Adam Clendening and Chad Krys for most points by a defenseman in a single NTDP season. 

2024 recruit Kamil Bednarik scored twice as the NTDP U17s routed Green Bay, 7-3. He has a 16-19-35 scoring line in 48 games.   

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