Saturday, March 18, 2023

Quinn Hutson OT goal sends BU to Hockey East title game; Commesso shines in goal

Photo credit Richard T. Gagnon

#5 Terriers, largely outplayed by Providence for 50 minutes, fell behind, 1-0, rallied to tie in the final minutes and won in overtime on Quinn Hutson’s conversion of a Luke Tuch goalmouth pass.  

BU was kept in the game by a highlight-reel performance by Drew Commesso who turned aside 37 shots in the 2-1 win that propelled the Terriers into Saturday night’s Hockey East title game against Merrimack. The Warriors also needed overtime to advance, edging Lowell, 2-1.

Terriers will be seeking their 10th Hockey East championship. They are 9-3 in 12 previous title game appearances. The most recent was in 2018, a 2-0 win over Providence. Game time Saturday night at TD Garden will be 7 p.m.

The contest was marred by a serious injury to senior defenseman Case McCarthy who was checked hard into the end board and was motionless on the ice for several minutes before being helped onto a stretcher. Flashing a thumbs up to teammates and fans, he was taken to a local hospital to be evaluated. 

It’s always scary to see one of your players and teammates go down like that. The good news is, he got up,” Coach Jay Pandolfo said. “He’s got movement in all of his extremities so that’s good news. He’s doing very well.” 

The Boston Hockey Blog later reported that McCarthy had suffered a broken collarbone.


Captain Dom Fensore, injured early in last week’s win against Vermont, returned to the line-up, although his ice time was less than usual. The injury to McCarthy led to more ice time for him. 

The Friars, who had reached the semifinal following overtime wins in the opening round and quarterfinals, employed a smothering, man-to-man defense from the get-go. They outshot BU 11-2 in the opening frame with five of those shots coming on power plays. A too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty was followed by a tripping call on Sam Stevens. BU weathered nearly a minute of 5-on-3 with Commesso making two sparkling saves on in-tight shots by Patrick Moynihan. 

BU generated a little more offense in the second period, but was outshot again, 12-6. On an early power play, Wilmer Skoog was set up at the left post but couldn’t squeeze the puck home. Then midway through the period, Nick Zabaneh, on the rush, nearly connected with a streaking Dylan Peterson at the goalmouth.

Moments later, Jamie Engelbert got a step on the BU defense and drove to the net, only to be foiled on shoulder save by Commesso. Later in the period, Devin Kaplan’s attempt to re-route a Cade Webber shot went wide, followed by Lane Hutson’s attempt from the slot that sailed over the cage. Then, a five-bell save by Commesso of a Bennett Schimek shot kept the game scoreless.  

[Check out Commesso's best saves in the video highlights linked below]  

Over the first ten minutes of the third period, Providence outshot BU 7-2, but without any grade A chances. McCarthy’s injury took place at the eight-minute mark. Then at 12:25, the Friars broke the scoreless tie. Webber, while tying up a PC forward, accidentally knocked Commesso’s stick away and a shot from the far-right side by Schimek sneaked through Commesso’s pads. 

Two minutes after that tally, BU went on a power play. Lane Hutson set up his brother for an unmarked chance from the top of the right circle. The shot beat Svedebach but rang off the right post. Immediately after, Nick Poisson got behind the BU defense and broke in alone for a short-handed attempt. He tried to tuck the puck in at the left post, but Commesso got his skate there first, to keep it a one-goal game. 

The Terriers would use their transition game to tie the score with just 2:32 remaining in regulation. Peterson’s cross-ice pass found Lane Hutson racing through the neutral zone. He deked past two defenders and from the bottom of the right circle sent a pass that ticked off Ryan Greene’s stick to Peterson in the slot. The junior wing held the puck for a second and then wristed a shot that went off Svedebach’s glove and into the net for the equalizer. It was Peterson’s fifth goal of the season. 


Third period shots favored the Friars, 11-7. 

In overtime, a BU turnover right out of the gate forced Commesso once again to come up big in goal making an initial save on Will Schimek’s attempt and another on a follow-up. 

Four minutes into OT, BU blocked a Friars shot, sending Matt Brown up ice on a breakaway. Going his backhand, he tried to go five-hole, but Svedebach stoned him. Another opportunity for BU came on the rush with Brown feathering a pass to Jay O’Brien for a shot from the left circle that tested Svedebach. 

Then, nearing the 11-minute mark, Fensore initiated a breakout sending the puck to Greene, who quickly dished to Luke Tuch racing up the left side. The junior wing skated into the left circle and bulleted a centering pass to Quinn Hutson, who had a step on a defender. With a goal-scorer's touch, he roofed the puck over Svedebach and was mobbed by his teammates.  

Following the game, Pandolfo addressed his team's struggles during the first two-and-a-half periods.

"We’re stubborn at times,” Pandolfo said. “Our puck management has to be better. It wasn’t great early, and even a little bit in the second period as well. I thought as the game went on, we started playing a little more direct game."

“Early on, they were winning more of the 50/50 puck battles and that hurt us as well,” he continued. “We didn’t have any sustained offensive zone time, especially in the first period.”

For Hutson, it was his sixth game-winner of the season, tops on the Terriers and in Hockey East. He has five goals in his last six games, including a pair in the 6-4 win against Providence two Fridays ago. Hutson wasn't sure he'd scored at first, but that changed quickly.

“It was pretty crazy,” said Hutson. “I saw it go in and it looked kind of slow motion. I wasn’t really sure, but everyone started celebrating, so I figured it went in.”

With 37 saves, Commesso's save percentage was .974. Two weekends ago in the regular-season finale, he stopped 39 shots in blanking the Friars, 2-0. He was helped by the 17 blocked shots by his teammates.

Peterson has three goals and four assists in the last six games.

BU enjoyed a 27-24 edge in face off wins, a marked difference from the recent home-and-home against PC in which the Friars dominated at the dot.

• recap and comprehensive box score 

• Post-game comments: Pandolfo, Quinn Hutson 

• Boston Hockey Blog recap 

College Hockey News recap

USCHO recap

Boston Herald recap

Looking ahead

2023 recruit Shane Lachance scored his 29th goal in Youngstown's 5-3 loss to Dubuque. He is tied for third in USHL goal-scoring with fellow recruit Jack Harvey.

2023 recruit Doug Grimes scored his 17th goal in Lincoln's 3-0 win against Des Moines.  

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