Sunday, February 28, 2021

Terriers double up Merrimack; Women face Providence in quarterfinals

Behind 25 saves by freshman Drew Commesso and a three-point (G,2A) effort by sophomore Robert Mastrosimone, #8 Terriers bounced back for a 4-2 win and a split with Merrimack in a game played at Lawler Rink.

With the win BU improves to 10-3-0, regains second place in the Hockey East Power Index and achieves the 13-game minimum required to qualify for the NCAA tournament. There is one more week of regular-season play before the Hockey East playoffs begin.

Following a tightly played first six minutes, Merrimack got on the board when an unmarked Patrick Holway fired a shot from the left point and Liam Walsh outmuscled Domenic Fensore to redirect the puck past Commesso for his second goal of the weekend.

Later in the period, after killing a penalty, BU evened the score on Markus Boguslavsky’s fourth goal. After Mastrosimone’s attempt to convert a rebound in close was turned aside, Wilmer Skoog grabbed the puck and fired a backhander that Zach Borgiel fought off, but Boguslavsky was on the doorstep to jam it home.

BU cranked up the pressure as the second period began and it paid off at the 5:50 mark. Jay O’Brien beat a pair of Warrior defenders to a puck in the left corner of the offensive zone, skated toward the blueline and whipped a cross ice pass to Case McCarthy just inside the blueline. The New Jersey Devils’ draft pick took two strides and wristed a shot from the top of the circle, beating Borgiel with both Matt Quercia and Jamie Armstrong taking away his eyes.

Each team had a pair of power plays in the middle period, but neither could cash in. BU came close when Captain Logan Cockerill had the puck alone at the top of the crease but was unable to convert. And Commesso came up big on a backdoor attempt by the ‘Mack.

Just prior to the six-minute mark of the third period, Mastrosimone pickpocketed a Merrimack defender below the goal line and in one motion backhanded the puck to Cockerill at the bottom of the right circle. His initial shot was stopped by Borgiel but the rebound came right back to the Islanders’ draft pick and he buried it to give BU a two-goal margin.

That breathing room lasted for just a minute. On the rush Filip Forsmark backhanded a sharp-angle shot from the right circle that beat Commesso cutting the lead to 3-2  

Midway through the third period Nick Zabaneh skated up the left side from his own end, went around the net and fired a shot that nearly got past Borgiel. Moments after a Merrimack two-on-one rush forced two big saves by Commesso, BU restored the two-goal margin.

O’Brien sent Mastrosimone through center ice on a partial breakaway. As he being checked into the goalie, the Redwings draft pick backhanded the puck home for his third tally of the season.

BU was able to deny Merrimack any grade A chances over the final five minutes, which included two minutes of 4-on-4 and nearly two minutes of 6-on-5.

Calling the victory “a huge bounce-back win” and “one of the most important games of the year,” Coach Albie O’Connell said, adding, “Our shot-blocking was terrific. On the power play we had two open looks but just didn’t capitalize. We need to get the power play going if we want to make some noise (in the playoffs).”

The Terriers recorded 20 blocked shots in the victory with 15 players recording at least one.

The coach also lauded his power play, which has killed the last 18 penalties and hasn’t yielded a man-advantage goal since the first period of the 3-1 win against BC.

“I thought Mastro was arguably our best player, maybe one of the best players on the ice,” O’Connell said. “He was dangerous, he was hitting guys, he was all over the place. He probably could have ended with five or six (points).

Assessing Commesso’s first full game in more than month, O’Connell said, “I thought he was poised. He was really calm. Made some huge saves when we needed them “Overall, it was a good performance.

Junior Jake Wise returned to the line-up and earned praise from O’Connell. He hit the crossbar on a play late in the game. 


- An overall solid rebound win for the Terriers. They really needed this one given how poorly they played on Friday.

- Mastrosimone clearly was the best forward - he had his legs moving all night, and was rewarded on the scoresheet. I thought Cockerill, Wise, and Zabaneh also really had their legs.

- Commesso made some big stops. The second goal looked a little weak, but apparently the shot deflected off a d-man's stick.

- It seemed that Kaufman didn't play much after the first couple shifts - not sure if he was injured.

- The team still has some work to do - they struggled with Merrimack's game plan for most of the weekend, and only really looked comfortable when they had a 2-goal lead and the Warriors had to change their forecheck. Before that, the breakouts were not effective for the most part, trying long passes that usually resulted in turnovers. But they now can qualify for the NCAA's, which seems almost a sure thing at this point. recap and comprehensive box score  

Video highlights 

Post-game comments Albie O’Connell

Boston Hockey Blog recap   

WTBU Sports recap  

Looking ahead 

2021 Quinn Hutson scored his seventh goal in Muskegon's 2-1 shootout win against Youngstown

2021 recruit Brian Carrabes scored his team-leading 12th goal and added an assist in Sioux City's 7-1 rout of Lincoln. Carrabes also leads the Musketeers in points with 26.

2022 recruit Ryan Greene scored his eighth goal in Green Bay's 3-2 loss to the NTDP U18s.

2023 recruit Jack Harvey scored his first goal in Chicago's 7-6 overtime loss to Waterloo. 2022 recruit Michale LaStarza assisted on the Black Hawks' game-tying goal in the third period.

Women's Team 

Following an up-and-down season that was limited to 11 games, the #6 seed Terriers face off today against #3 Providence in the Hockey East quarterfinals, needing a win to stay alive in the single-elimination format and reach next Wednesday's semifinals. The 1 p.m. game at Schneider Arena will be lived-streamed on SportsLive. 

Captain Jesse Compher, who leads the Terriers in points (11) and goals (7), has been named a Hockey East second team all-star, repeating the honor she received last season. Two years ago, as a sophomore, she earned first-team recognition. preview, Game Notes, Live Stats, @TerrierWHockey

Live stream: Sports Live

Coach Brian Durocher media call

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