By: Jake Reiser
Even with the Beanpot looming on Monday, every game in Hockey East matters, and it was no different at Agganis Arena on Friday night between the No. 3 Boston University Terriers and the University of Massachusetts Amherst Minutemen. The Minutemen played a tough game, but in the end, the Terriers took home a 3-1 victory.
Coming off a win against the Riverhawks of UMass-Lowell last Saturday, the Terriers looked for another win to gain more confidence before the big tournament. Massachusetts, on the other hand, is riding an eight-game losing streak, not having seen the win column since before the calendar turned to 2017.
Taking a penalty just four seconds into the game set Massachusetts on their heels from the get go, and after play returned to even strength, Clayton Keller’s slot wrister snuck through the five hole of Minutemen starter Ryan Wischow to make it 1-0 Terriers. Keller, with one goal and two assists, now has a 14-game point streak, equaling that of Jack Eichel’s longest when he was a Terrier
“We thought if anyone would [tie the streak], it would be him,” said Coach David Quinn. “He’s a guy that every time he’s out there, he’s a threat to score. He’s had a great year, he’s incredibly competitive, he’s a tough kid, and he’s highly, highly intelligent. When you combine all of that with his skill set, you get a special player and he’s a game changer.”
Later in the first, Keller made a long pass to Dante Fabbro at the cross-side point. Fabbro’s back-foot snapper flung itself into the net weak-side past Wishow, increasing the Terrier lead to two.
“Roommate connection,” Keller said when simply describing the play.
Massachusetts began to battle back after being outshot 22-8 in the first period. Midway through the second period, Massachusetts scored its second power play goal in as many games as Ray Pigozzi tipped a Shane Bear shot past BU net-minder Jake Oettinger.
Massachusetts had been on an 0-43 power play drought entering the week and went 1-6 on the power play Friday.
With the game separated by just one shot, the Terriers began to take the reigns on the game. In a flourish of zone time below the dots, BU’s Bobo Carpenter finally connected on a tally, snapping one past Wishow, essentially sealing the 3-1 final score of the night.
“[The win] means a lot. You want to feel good about yourself, and winning always helps that. We know what’s in store for us,” said Quinn. “Anytime BU and BC play against each other, it’s high-paced hockey, it’s competitive, it’s physical, there’s a lot of emotion in it. Put it in the Boston Garden in the Beanpot at eight o’clock, it heightens all of that. I know our guys are excited to play and I know they’re excited to play.”
Finally, the day is here, and on Monday, the Terriers play the Boston College Eagles in the second game of the semifinals of the 65th Annual Beanpot Tournament.