By: Jarett Leonard
BOSTON – Jordan Greenway returned from the Olympics and made his impact felt immediately on Friday night, as the junior helped set up the Terriers’ first goal and was a key part of four penalty kills, leading BU to a 2-0 win over Vermont.
“I thought [Greenway] had a lot of energy, he controlled the play while he was out there, he had some great back checks, and he had some great chances to score,” said BU Head Coach David Quinn, who earned his 100th career victory on Friday night. “There was a lot to like about his game tonight and I sure am glad to have him back.”
The win clinched the fourth seed and home ice advantage for the Terriers in the Hockey East quarterfinals. BU will host either Maine or Connecticut in a best-of-three series at Agganis Arena beginning March 9. A Maine win or tie with BC tomorrow would send the Black Bears to BU, but a Maine loss would mean that UConn grabs the fifth seed (Huskies would own the tiebreaker over Maine with more wins in conference play).
After an early whistle negated a potential goal for Chad Krys, the Terriers (17-13-3, 12-8-3 Hockey East) went right back to work on a power play to get on the board. Freshman Hank Crone fed Greenway in the right circle, who patiently waited before dishing the puck in front, where it deflected off Drew Melanson’s stick and past Catamounts’ netminder Stefanos Lekkas (33 saves)
Melanson’s second as a Terrier turned out to be the game-winner for BU, as Greenway and sophomore goaltender Jake Oettinger denied four Vermont (9-18-6, 6-12-5 Hockey East) power plays the rest of the way for a shutout victory.
“We know the situation we’re in and if we want to get to the National Tournament, we’re going to have to win games like we did tonight,” Oettinger said. “I think the last couple weeks we haven’t been able to close the job in the third period like we needed to. To get to where we’re going we’re going to have to win tight games so it’s nice to see that tonight.”
Taking that one-goal advantage to the middle frame, the Terriers added an insurance marker in the closing minutes of the second. Gabriel Chabot won a puck battle in front of the BU bench and moved it rink-wide to David Farrance, who drove down the left-wing side and connected on a bad-angle wrist shot that beat Lekkas to the short side.
“He’s doing a lot of good things, he’s playing good hockey, he’s a very talented player,” BU Head Coach David Quinn said of Farrance’s recent play. “That’s a heck of a shot he made to make it 2-0 and give us some breathing room. He’s coming along for sure.”
Though Farrance came into the year as a defenseman, he has skated as a forward in seven games and has now registered three points in his last three games up front. The freshman said earlier this week that he is starting to feel more comfortable with the new position, something he put on display on Friday.
“It’s been different” Farrance said. “I’ve never really played forward before. It’s just hockey, you play it every day in practice and I’ve gotten used to it.”
Entering the third period with a two-goal lead hasn’t been an ideal position for the Terriers in recent weeks, blowing a 3-1 lead in a draw with Massachusetts before letting leads of 3-1 and 4-2 slip away last week at UConn. But Friday was a different story, and Quinn said his team’s third period effort was indicative of the type of play they will need in the coming weeks.
“I thought we really played smart hockey,” Quinn said. “They outshot us but I thought we did a really good job of keeping things on the perimeter and not giving up odd-man rushes. We had a boatload of chances to make it 3-0 and we just couldn’t, but I really liked an awful lot about that third period.”
BU killed off all five of its penalties last Saturday at Merrimack but still entered the game on a 7-for-12 streak on the kill and 53rd in the nation overall at 77 percent. The addition of Greenway to that until clearly made a difference on Friday, though, as the Terriers extinguished all four of Vermont’s chances while allowing only four shots.
“He’s a really good penalty killer, he’s smart, he’s got a great stick and he blocks shots” Quinn said of Greenway. “He’s just been real good on the penalty kill since he got here and it was good to have him back tonight.”
Oettinger turned aside all 33 shots that came his way for his fourth shutout of the season. The Lakeville, Minn.-native boasts a 2.30 goals against average and 8-3-2 record in the second semester, which Quinn attributes to Oettinger’s experience over the break.
“He’s been a completely different goalie since he got back from World Juniors,” Quinn said. “He looks big, he looks calm, he looks square. I loved his game tonight in so many ways.”
Forwards Logan Cockerill and Patrick Curry were out with the flu, which has plagued BU’s locker room this season, Quinn said. Bobo Carpenter missed the entire week of practice with the illness but still suited up on Friday. Quinn also said that he expects to have some information tomorrow night on the status of Patrick Harper, who has missed 13 games with an undisclosed illness.