By: Dan Shulman
STORRS, Connecticut – For fans of the classic tune “Brass Bonanza,” XL Center was the place to be on Tuesday as the UConn Huskies heard their goal song ring through the arena speakers five times en route to their first win in school history over Boston University, 5-2.
“I’m certainly very proud of our team,” said UConn Head Coach Mike Cavanaugh. “Tonight we made a commitment to play 60 minutes. That’s a really good hockey team over there. We were right there with them.”
With shuffled lines, the Terriers took the ice in hopes of continuing their dominance on special teams on their way to a season sweep of UConn. However, both goals became dashed in the opening minutes of the game.
Just six minutes into the first period, with Bobo Carpenter in the penalty box for hooking, Tage Thompson netted his first collegiate goal to give the Huskies a 1-0 advantage early. It was just the second time all season that BU had allowed a power play goal.
The goal was one of four power play tallies on the night, three of which belonged to Thompson.
“I went to the net hard today,” said Thompson.
The Terriers got on the board in the waning seconds of the opening period. Charlie McAvoy took a feed from Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and found a wide open Danny O’Regan in front of the net for an easy finish on the power play.
The goal was the fiftieth of Danny O’Regan’s career, becoming the 57th Terrier player to reach that milestone.
UConn wouldn’t stay level for long. Shawn Pauly set up a screen in front of BU netminder Connor LaCouvee. Evan Richardson capitalized for the Huskies, blasting a shot past the unaware sophomore to give the Huskies the lead again.
The Terrier defense began to play casual, giving pucks away in the defensive zone. UConn would finally capitalize when Joey Ferris doubled the Huskies’ advantage off a Terrier giveaway.
At the start of the third period, the Terriers picked up the energy and earned more quality chances. UConn goaltender Rob Nichols, who made 36 saves on the night, denied shot after shot from the Terrier offense.
“Robbie [Nichols] was strong in net,” said Cavanaugh. “He made a few [saves]. Robbie has been pretty consistent for the past two years. He’s worked hard at it. He makes those saves you need him to make.”
UConn killed off two consecutive penalties in the third period, and the momentum that the Terriers had worked so hard to gain, had dissipated.
BU freshman defenseman Shane Switzer took a late penalty, and fifteen seconds later, UConn had scored another goal off the stick of Thompson. Only 46 seconds later, Thompson completed his hat trick.
Chase Phelps added a conciliatory goal in the final minute of the game, but the goal was too little, too late.
“It was a very good game by UConn,” said BU coach David Quinn. “They were very opportunistic on their power play. Every puck they had at the blue line found its way through. We let everything get through us. We didn’t win battles at the net front. That was the story of the game.”
The Terriers, 0-2-0 on the road this season, will head away from Commonwealth Avenue again on Friday as they travel to North Andover, Massachusetts to take on the undefeated Merrimack Warriors in Hockey East play. Faceoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.