By: Matt Dresens
BOSTON – Despite going a futile 0-for-5 on the power play, BU still managed to pick up a point on Senior Night against Vermont in front of 4,435 at Agganis Arena as the Terriers and Catamounts skated to a 1-1 tie.
With BU (17-13-4, 12-8-4 Hockey East) leading 1-0 in the second frame on a Jordan Greenway goal in the closing minute of the first, the Terriers had a golden chance to extend their lead. UVM’s Ross Colton was kicked out for hitting Brady Tkachuk from behind and picked up a five minute major in the process. Inside the major penalty, Max Kaufman found himself in the box for high sticking and BU had a full two minutes of 5-on-3.
BU’s best attempt came via a Tkachuk onetimer, but Vermont (9-18-7, 6-12-6 Hockey East) goalie Stefanos Lekkas was up to the task. Tkachuk then committed his own five minute major in the closing minute of the period, ending his night early and putting the Catamounts on the extended man advantage.
“When that happens, there’s not a lot of flow to the game,” said BU Head Coach David Quinn. “Your best players end up getting tired. I thought it was a sloppy game from our end too often. We had our chances on the power play. Their goalie made some great saves.”
Unlike BU, Vermont cashed in on their major power play 38 seconds into the third period. Liam Coughlin centered a pass to Alex Esposito, who beat Jake Oettinger low blocker side to knot the game 1-1.
“I thought our special teams were the difference tonight,” added Vermont Coach Kevin Sneddon. “We got that equalizer, that was important for us. Our penalty kill was sensational. Obviously to kill a five minute major and a five on three in that time period says a lot on about out goaltender.”
Speaking of said goalie, Lekkas turned aside 33 saves on the evening, including 17 alone in the second period during the BU power surge. His counterpart Jake Oettinger spotted 28 of 29 shots faced.
“Two guys give up one goal [each] with all the power play time, shots and scoring chances,” Quinn said. “Both guys, I would say, played really well. It was certainly the case for our guy and I thought it was certainly the case for their guy.”
After a relatively dull first 18 minutes that was highlighted by two BU penalty kills, Greenway opened the scoring. Kasper Kotkansalo worked the puck to Greenway in the middle of the slot. From there, the recent Olympian hammered home a one-timer for his 10th goal of the season with just 1:16 left in the opening frame.
“I was excited to get back,” Greenway said. “The adrenaline kinda kept me going. We had two big games here so I cam backed focused. I’m glad to be here. It wasn’t too hard to adjust.”
“He’s definitely a key part to our lineup”, added Brandon Hickey. “He brings that size and skill down low. It’s a piece that makes our team harder to defend in the offensive zone. He’s really good in the d-zone as well. Its been really good having him back. It’s kinda a relief too.”
In overtime, BU again found themselves on the power, but it was the Catamount kill that came through once again to silence the Terriers. BU went 0-for-5 on the man advantage.
Coming into tonight’s action, BU was already guaranteed the fourth seed in the Hockey East Quarterfinals, but the opponent was still unknown. Now, everything is set. BU will take on Connecticut in the Quarterfinals two weekends from now, as Maine lost to Boston College, dropping them into the 6th seed.
After the game, Quinn also confirmed that sophomore forward Patrick Harper will miss the remainder of the season with an illness, though Quinn said he could not pronounce exactly what the illness is. Harper will be ready to play for the start of next season, Quinn said.