By: Brian Lombardo
BOSTON – Friday night brought forth an action-packed exhibition contest that saw nine goals between the two sides and a 5-4 overtime victory by the Terriers. It was sophomore Shane Bowers who played the role of the hero, ultimately snagging the game-winning goal just 24 seconds into overtime.
As was expected, the U.S. National Under-18 Team was an offensive force to be reckoned with, wasting absolutely no time getting a goal on the board. Just 52 seconds into the contest Judd Caufield beat Terrier junior Jake Oettinger with an incredible individual effort to find the back of the net.
The Terriers responded by slowing the pace of the game and in turn tied the game at one at 10:57 of the first frame. The goal was scored by Dante Fabbro, and was assisted by Jack DeBoer and Cam Crotty.
The second period was filled with scoring chances for both sides. But an early power play for the U.S. saw a Matthew Boldy goal on the man advantage. The goal scored at 2:20 of the second period was assisted by Cam York and Terriers commit Trevor Zegras.
BU settled in after early goals in both of the first two periods. Coming back with another equalizer at 14:27 by Shane Bowers. Bowers mark was assisted by Logan Cockerill and Patrick Harper.
Then, in the closing minutes of the middle frame the graduate transfer from Brown Max Willman found a goal giving the Terriers their first lead of the exhibition contest.
Keeping their foot firmly on the gas, BU came out in the third with an early goal of their own, when freshmen Joel Farabee netted one at 1:12 of the third period, with help from Kasper Kotkansalo and Ryan Cloonan. This upped the Terriers lead to 4-2.
But the U.S. U-18 squad responded with what BU head coach Albie O’Connell credited them with doing best, score. Alex Vlasic scored a single goal at 8:19 of the third period, followed shortly by an Owen Lindmark conversion, knotting the match at one a piece.
The score held as the third period came to a close, giving the Agganis Arena crowd was some bonus hockey on friends and family weekend. It was as if the Terriers felt the energy in the house and responded with something to cheer for.
At 4:36 of the overtime period, Bowers second goal of the contest was all it took. The OT goal was assisted by Curry, his second of the night. On the defensive end, Oettinger was sharp in the game, playing all three periods and making 35 saves.
After the game, O’Connell understood that the U.S. U-18 squad had been giving some of the country’s top NCAA programs trouble and was proud of the effort his team put forward.
“I don’t know if we’ll play anyone as good offensively in college hockey,” said O’Connell. “It was a good test.”
O’Connell finished up his thoughts by paying the U.S. U-18 team one final compliment to the program.
“The 2001 birth class of the United States is about as good as it’s been in a long time,” he said. “You’ll be seeing those names for a long time.”
The Terriers will have a quick turnaround as they play again Saturday night at 7 p.m. when they visit Merrimack College.