Saturday, December 31, 2022

Terriers edge Harvard on Fensore OT Goal--UPDATED--Terrier Takeaway


                           Photo credit Kyle Prudhomme

With less than a minute to go in overtime, BU headed up ice. Matt Brown, who had just hustled back to take the puck away from a streaking Sean Farrell, sent a pass off the boards to Wilmer Skoog in the neutral zone. As the senior center skated up right side, he heard the trailer on the play, Dom Fensore, tapping his stick as he raced across the blueline. Skoog hit him in stride high and the captain rifled a shot from the high slot past Mitchell Gibson blocker side to deliver a thrilling 2-1 win for #8/7 BU over #9 Harvard, sending a Walter Brown Arena sellout crowd home happy.


“I thought that was a great college hockey game,” said a pleased Coach Jay Pandolfo, who saw his team improve to 12-5-0. “I thought there were parts of the game when we played really well; there were times when we were actually dominating play.

"Overall, our effort, from top to bottom, was excellent,” he added. “It was great to see us stick with it after we gave up a goal late.”

With his overtime tally, Fensore, whom ESPN analyst Colby Cohen called “the best player on the ice,” had seven of BU’s 35 shots along with three blocks. The Carolina Hurricanes’ draft pick extended his point streak to seven games, producing six goals—including three game-winners—and four assists over that span.

Goalie Drew Commesso stopped 33 of the 34 shots he faced, including 15 of 16 in the third period.

BU took an early lead connecting on a power play after a hard Henry Thrun check—called interference—sent Dylan Peterson to the locker room (he would return). With the second power play unit on the ice, Ty Gallagher passed to Quinn Hutson at the top of the left circle and the freshman quickly sent a cross- ice pass to classmate Ryan Greene, whose shot deflected off a Crimson defender. Devin Kaplan’s attempt to stuff in the loose puck was stopped and it skittered back to Hutson in the left circle. He hesitated a moment while Luke Tuch set a screen, then fired a wrist shop past Gibson on the blocker side.

Terriers had the upper hand in the period with an 11-7 shot margin and a 15-8 edge at the face off dot. Midway through the period, Skoog took a drop pass from Jeremy Wilmer in the left circle and one-timed a shot that rang the iron and stayed out. BU was unable to extend the lead.

Terriers had a 15-10 second period shot advantage with four Crimson shots coming on power plays. Neither team would add to the scoresheet, although Jay O’Brien came close on a breakaway in the waning seconds of the period that Gibson stymied.

                           Photo credit Matt Woolverton

As was to be expected, Harvard came out firing in the third period. An early Crimson power play was held to one shot while BU produced a two-on-one shorthanded attempt that was stopped by Gibson.

Harvard’s fourth power play came late in the period. Commesso stopped four shots including Alex Laferriere’s blast from the slot as the man-advantage was ending. The rebound came out to Matt Coronato in the left circle and his wrister flew past a diving Gallagher and Commesso to knot the score at 1-1.

Less than a minute later, Hutson nearly gave the lead back to BU when his blast from the left circle--same spot as his first-period goal--went off the goal post.

That set the stage for Fensore’s heroics, aided by Brown and Skoog. Describing the game-winner shot, the captain explained, “We were going glove on him all game so decided to shoot low blocker and it went in.” 

Harvard came into the game with the fifth best power play in D1. BU killed all four Crimson power plays and Pandolfo had praise for his PK unit: “They’ve got a really good power play. They’re gonna get chances when you have the talent they have out there. When they did, Drew came up huge.”

He added, “I think our penalty kill was a little more aggressive tonight. That’s what we’re trying to do out there.”

Hutson’s and Fensore’s goals were the seventh for each, tying them with Lane Hutson for second on BU behind Brown’s eight.

Besides being without Lane, who is playing in the World Junior Championships, BU was without senior forward Ethan Phillips, who is out with a patella injury.

BU was one-for-two on power plays.

Terriers have won nine of their last eleven games. With this win—the team’s second Friday night victory— they remain at #7 in the PairWise rankings and are #7 in the KRACH-guided College Hockey News Power Ratings.

Now 4-1-0 in out-of-conference games, Terriers will head to Tempe, Ariz., next weekend for the Desert Hockey Classic where they’ll play Air Force and then the winner of Arizona State/Michigan Tech.

Defkit's Terrier Takeaway

I watched the ESPN2 Broadcast.

- I thought in general Clay Matvick and Colby Cohen did a nice job. However, somehow they both missed the fact that Peterson had returned from his injury for at least three shifts before they noted it. Matvick even commented at one point "we'll try to get an update on his condition" after some of those shifts. 

- I liked Cohen asking Parker during the second intermission what it would be like having an actually related-in-blood grandson playing for BU next year (Shane Lachance), as opposed to the "million" sons that he has referenced in the past.

- It looked like a good, if not somewhat late-arriving crowd.

- To the game - it was certainly exciting. And while the shots ended up even by the end, it still felt like Mitchell Gibson stole that game for Harvard (until we won it). You certainly hope to be able to convert on at least one out of three breakaways.

- BU played great in the first period. They were making the effective first pass in the d-zone to get past the forchecker to start the breakout. It wasn't until the third period that Harvard seemed to be able to disrupt the play.

- Harvard dominated the third but was certainly helped by having three power plays.

- Fensore had a great game, obviously punctuated by the GWG. I think with Hutson at the WJC's, he knew he would be the only dynamic blue-liner and would have to really push the play, which he did.

- While he may not have been the #1 star of the game, Commesso certainly played an excellent game. If he plays that well down the stretch, this team should have no problem staying in the top-10.

- I would love to hear audio of the first two or three whistles at the goalie crease when Skoog ALWAYS skates right into the goalie's space and doesn't move until someone moves him. He seems to do it every game until I assume he gets warned by the ref that he will get called, because it often leads to a lot of pushing and shoving.

-The game could have gone either way once Harvard tied it but we are once again seeing a different mentality with this team. They just don't fold in the face of adversity. Any OT win without Lane Hutson in the lineup is a bonus!

-You won't see more deserving 2nd assist than Brown's in OT. Skates his ass off to prevent an odd man rush, then makes a beautiful off-the-boards pass to Skoog on the GWG. 

● recap and comprehensive box score

Video highlights and Post-game: Pandolfo, Fensore

● Boston Hockey Blog Fensore the OT Hero in 2-1 win over Harvard


Looking ahead

2024 recruit Owen Keefe scored his first USHL goal as Muskegon beat the NTDP U17s, 9-6. 2024 recruit Kamil Bednarik had a power-play goal and an assist for the U17s.

2023 recruit Shane Lachance scored his 17th goal and 2024 recruit Brandon Svoboda added an assist for Youngstown, but the Phantoms were doubled up by Cedar Rapids, 4-2.

2023 recruit Jack Gorton's ninth goal was the game-winner in Victoria's 4-1 win against Powell River.



Friday, December 30, 2022

Game Day: BU vs. Harvard at WBA UPDATED

Second semester begins tonight as #8/7 Terriers host #9 Harvard in the first men’s regular-season hockey game at Walter Brown Arena since Jan. 2, 2005. That was the BU’s final game at WBA before the inaugural game at Agganis Arena the next night. And like that 2005 game, tonight’s contest is a sellout.

Set for a 7 p.m. start, the game will be broadcast on ESPN2 (there is no live stream). Clay Matvick will handle the play-by-play with analysis by former BU All-American Colby Cohen.

The teams last met in the 2022 Beanpot opener with BU edging Harvard, 4-3. There was no meeting in the Covid-shortened 2020-21 season.

The Crimson, who won their first six games, come into the contest with an 8-2-1 record and last played on Dec. 3, a 6-4 loss at Colgate. Junior Sean Farrell is the top scorer with 18 points and is tied for the goals (7) and assists (11) leads. Sophomore Matt Coronato has 15 points, senior defenseman Henry Thrun has 14 and junior Alex Laferriere has12, including seven goals. Senior goalie Mitchell Gibson has a 1.83 GAA and a .930 save percentage. Harvard has the top penalty kill in D1 (90.9%) and the fifth-ranked power play (27.5%).

Matt Brown is BU’s top scorer with 23 points. Captain Dom Fensore has 15, followed by Ryan Greene with 14 and Jay O’Brien and Quinn Hutson with 12 each. Wilmer Skoog has recorded six (3G,3A) of his 10 points in the last five games. Goalie Drew Commesso has a 2.95 GAA and a .900 save percentage.

BU will be without freshman Lane Hutson, who is skating for Team USA in the World Junior Championships. Coach Jay Pandolfo said that Ty Gallagher will take Hutson’s spot on the Terriers’ second power play unit.

In his weekly media call, Pandolfo said “I expect it to be a really tough match-up. Harvard’s a really good team. They have a ton of offensive talent, so we certainly have to be aware of that.”

The ice surface at Walter Brown is smaller than the ice at Agganis Arena and at Harvard’s Bright-Landry Hockey Center and as Pandolfo put it, “things happen a little bit quicker over there.”

Addressing the Crimson’s man-advantage success, he added, “We’ve talked as a team, that’s one area that we definitely need to improve,” Pandolfo noted. “The first half our special teams were just average, so that’s something we focused on a little bit this week as well.”

Tonight’s BU Line-up












● preview, Game Notes, Live Stats, BU-All Access (audio-only), BU Men’s Hockey Twitter

● Coach Pandolfo’s media call

● CHN Tale of the Tape

● Boston Hockey Blog Terriers to face Crimson in throwback game

● WTBU Sports Terriers return to WBA to host Harvard

This week’s episode of Inside BU Hockey features Bernie Corbett’s chats with Pandolfo, Brian Durocher, and, former UMass head coach and two-time NCAA champion as a Terrier Don “Toot” Cahoon, along with interviews with Nick Zabaneh and Christine Vote


►Boston Hockey Blog’s Caroline Fernandez offers a no-holds-barred review of the first half of the Terriers’ season.

WTBU Sports tracks Pandolfo's career From Burlington to BU, The NHL and Back.


World Junior Championships

In addition to Hutson’s assist in the 6-3 loss to Slovakia, Tyler Boucher scored twice. He also found the net in Team USA’s 5-1 win against Switzerland.


Looking ahead


Five future Terriers will skate in the 2023 BioSteel All-American Game on January 16 at USA Arena in Plymouth, Michigan. The contest—essentially the USHL All-star game—features top prospects eligible for the 2023 NHL Draft. Rostered on the White Team are NTDP defenseman Kai Janviriaya, Muskegon defenseman Gavin McCarthy and Chicago forward Jack Harvey, who leads the USHL in scoring. NTDP goalie Michael Chambre and Youngstown center Brandon Svoboda will suit up for the Blue Team.

Harvey and Lane Hutson played in the 2022 BioSteel game along with 8 others who are now skating for Team USA in the World Junior Championships.



Looking back

Jake Oettinger turned aside 24 of 25 shots as Dallas defeated Minnesota, 4-1.

Trevor Zegras scored a “filthy” shootout goal to help Anaheim edge Vegas, 3-2. He also assisted on both Ducks’ goals in regulation and became the third fastest Duck to reach 100 points. 

 Evan Rodrigues scored his ninth goal and added an assist in the Avalanche's 5-4 shootout loss to the Kings.

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