By: Jarett Leonard
AMHERST, Mass. – Early in the season, Boston University Head Coach David Quinn often felt that his team played well for stretches but one mistake would end up in the back of their own net. On Friday night in Amherst, though, the Terriers were on the other side of that script.
“It should’ve been 5-0,” Quinn said. “To be up 1-0 was almost criminal, but we’ve been on that side of it, so I’m not going to apologize.”
A hot start by UMass in which it outshot BU 11-1 at one point was negated by a Brandon Hickey goal, starting a chain of frustrating events for the Minutemen in a 3-2 loss to the Terriers.
“I might be a little biased but I think we deserved better tonight,” UMass Head Coach Greg Carvel said. “That first period was pretty dominant and to come out down by a goal was tough.”
But things got worse for Carvel’s side, as a Jake Horton shot from the right circle appeared to give UMass (11-15-1, 5-11-1 Hockey East) the lead early in the second, but the officials ruled that BU goaltender Jake Oettinger was interfered with and washed out the goal.
“We watched it on video and its pretty sad that they determined that was goalie interference,” Carvel said. “The goalie was not in the least bit affected and I do feel like we don’t get the respect we deserve. We’re trying to earn it from the referees, but that’s a tough one because it puts us up 2-1 and gives us momentum.”
It was the Terriers (14-11-2, 10-7-2 Hockey East) who turned that call into momentum, though, as Jordan Greenway centered the puck from the right goal line and it caromed off a UMass defender and into the net for a power play tally, adding to an already frustrating night for the home team.
“I’m not sure why we don’t get those lucky bounces because we play hard,” Carvel said. “The kids were great tonight, they battled for 60 minutes. They played real well and I thought they deserved better.”
While Oettinger’s early play in an 8-0 win over Arizona State last week may have gone unnoticed, his first period effort Friday was crucial for the Terriers. He turned aside 16 Minutemen shots in the opening frame, allowing BU to slowly gain their footing.
“He was huge for us tonight and he is every game,” Shane Bowers said. “He’s our best player and he gives us a chance to win every night, and without him we probably wouldn’t be in this position with a win.”
After the Minutemen failed to convert on a power play chance in the first, Hickey stepped out of the box and joined an odd-man rush with Bowers and Bobo Carpenter. Bowers raced into the left circle and found Carpenter on the right side of the ice, who quickly moved it back in front for Hickey to easily tap it past UMass goaltender Matt Murray (36 saves).
It took just :19 seconds of a Jordan Greenway tripping penalty for UMass to even the score on the power play, as John Leonard buried a wrist shot from the high slot to make it 1-1 less than a minute into the second period.
Entering the third with a 2-1 lead, BU thought it had a third goal when Greenway raced around a defender and drove hard to the net. The officials ruled the puck crossed the goal line due to goaltender interference, and after Quinn called a timeout to ensure a video review, the no goal call stood.
But Bowers would add some insurance later in the period, slipping a wrist shot through the legs of Murray from the left circle on an odd-man rush.
UMass cut the lead to one as Niko Rufo muscled the puck past Oettinger late in the third, but the sophomore goaltender shut the door on BU’s victory. He finished the night with 20 saves, making just four over the final two periods after denying all 16 shots he saw in the first.
The win marks the fifth in a row for BU and extends its season-long unbeaten streak to seven games (6-0-1). While Quinn said the team’s slow start may have been due to left over fatigue from the trip to Arizona, he noted his team’s resiliency as a key to this recent stretch.
“Whether you don’t have your legs or you’re just tired, you still have to find a way to get it done and I thought we had a bunch of guys do that as the game went on,” Quinn said. “They’re all big when you dig yourself the hole that we’ve dug ourselves. You just have to keep playing and you just have to keep winning.”
Chad Krys missed his second straight game while Patrick Harper (illness) was out for the seventh consecutive contest, and Quinn said both are day-to-day and are possibilities for Monday’s Beanpot semifinal against Harvard at TD Garden.