By: Jake Reiser
It’s an unusual thing to find two top-ten teams in college hockey coming into a match-up on losing streaks, but that’s exactly where No. 1 Boston University and No. 7 University of Massachusetts Lowell found themselves on Saturday night.
The Terriers, swept by Merrimack on Tuesday and Friday, and the Riverhawks, losers of three straight including a comeback loss to Northeastern the night before, each looked to get back in the win column at Agganis Arena. Thanks to exciting play in the third period, including three goals, BU ended up putting somewhat of a positive spin on what had been a tough stretch of five days by winning, 4-2.
The Terriers didn’t get off to a good start by giving up a goal to Lowell’s power play – ranked second in the nation – with Ryan Lohin sniping a puck over Jake Oettinger to put the Riverhawks on the board.
It certainly didn’t take long for BU to respond as Lowell’s lead last only 1:04. On a 2-on-1 breakout, Gabriel Chabot wristed one past UML netminder Tyler Wall to even the game. Oskar Andren, though not credited with an assist, made a play from his back to slide the puck ahead to a streaking Chabot.
Scoring wouldn’t come again until the middle of the third period, when on a scrum below the goal line, Clayton Keller centered the puck to Bobo Carpenter, one-timing it past Wall. The goal would prove to be the spark the team was looking for after an impressive shift from the Terriers’ second forward line.
“Just some great work. Grunt, blue collar, roll your sleeves up, get to work from Keller and Greenway and Carpenter,” Coach David Quinn said.
Only 2:47 later, on another 2-on-1 breakout, Keller backhanded a bar-down shot to make it 3-1 Terriers. Keller, now on a 13-game point streak, needs to score in only one more consecutive game to tie Jack Eichel’s freshman record of 14 straight games with a point.
“It’s fun to be on the ice with him, especially on the right side,” Carpenter said. “You know he’s going to make the plays, he’s just going to turn things around when they need to be turned around. He’s a great player, he knows what to do to get the puck in the back of the net, for sure.”
Lowell would not go down easy as CJ Smith undressed John MacLeod and put a backhander of his own past Oettinger to cut the lead to one late. To make matters worse, the Terriers were assessed a penalty for slashing on the play.
BU remained resilient and the Lowell power play never got set up in the offensive zone for a long stretch. After killing the penalty, Carpenter added an empty netter with 56 seconds remaining to ice a Boston University victory. The sophomore intercepted a pass at the Terriers’ blue line and fired a shot into an empty cage.
“Obviously we’ve been in a little bit of a funk. In a short period of time, we went from sitting on top of the world to…all of a sudden, the world’s about to end. It’s the ebbs and flows of a hockey season. It’s long, they’re 18 to 22 years old, but I just liked how we bounced back,” Quinn said. “We weren’t in a great place mentally before this game started and I give our guys a lot of credit for being mentally tough enough to hang in there and play their best hockey at the most critical time.”
Jake Oettinger made some crucial saves en route to the win, including stoning John Edwardh on a shorthanded breakaway. The freshman from Lakeville, Minn. made 33 saves in total on the night, and knows he has to do his job when called upon.
“I know my job is to step up when my name is called, fortunately, I did that tonight,” Oettinger said.
The Terriers are back at Agganis Arena to finish off a three-game home-stand on Friday night at 7:30p.m. to take on the University of Massachusetts Amherst.