BOSTON – In a hockey game that quickly became a track meet, Boston University (10-11-3, 8-6-2 HEA) fell to visiting University of Massachusetts Amherst (20-5, 12-3 HEA) 7-5 on Friday, Feb. 1.
The Terriers, who had won their last four games against Hockey East opponents, were without senior captain Bobo Carpenter for the second game in a row after he was “roughed up,” as head coach Albie O’Connell put it, in the first game of a weekend homestand against Arizona State last week.
The Minutemen were coming off of their worst stretch of the season. They were 2-2 in their previous four, and starting goaltender Matt Murray had lost his past two starts, both on the road against Hockey East teams.
Both squads started the game as if they had something to prove, and it showed on the scoreboard. Just eight and a half minutes into the game, UMass held a 2-1 lead.
Hockey East-leading scorer Jacob Pritchard (13-19-32) shot a wrister over a scrambling Jake Oettinger’s right shoulder just 46 seconds into the game. Ryan Cloonan (2-4-6) responded for the Terriers on a breakaway with no one front of him except Murray, but UMass took a 3-1 lead into the first intermission with goals from Bobby Trivigno (7-11-18) and Jack Suter (1-2-3).
After a slow start to the second period, the Terriers turned on the jets. Reigning HEA Rookie of the Week Joel Farabee (9-14-23) knocked a fortunate rebound past Murray in a BU 5-on-3 for the game’s only power play goal. Patrick Curry (8-9-17) followed up with his first goal of the night five minutes later to knot the game at 3-3.
That score stood for all of 82 seconds, as UMass center Philip Lagunov (7-5-12) eked a shot past the outstretched glove of Oettinger to give the Minutemen a 4-3 advantage heading into the final period.
Curry deposited his second game-tying goal with 3:33 elapsed, but the third period then turned into the Ty Farmer Show. The freshman defender (4-8-12) put in a rebound that Oettinger couldn’t control, then he swiped an errant pass on a strong forecheck and beat the Terrier netminder for his second goal of the period.
Between Farmer’s scores, Dante Fabbro (5-17-22) appeared to tie the game with a strong wrist shot that bounced off Murray’s shoulder pad and lit the goal light. Both sides stopped skating, and the Terriers were in the middle of celebrating. But in a decision that betrayed the eyes of every fan in the stands, the referees ruled that the puck had never crossed the goal line and awarded a save to Murray. Farmer’s second goal came on the next UMass possession.
O’Connell referenced the officials’ decision after the game, saying, “I thought on a couple of the goals, we would’ve liked a call. You know, there were a couple that went against us … but that’s hockey.”
The Minutemen were on the offensive with a 6-4 advantage when Joel Farabee stole the puck and broke free. Farabee’s shot at the five hole was turned away by Murray, but Logan Cockerill (4-4-7) was trailing the play. The BU sophomore cleaned up the miss to put his team within one score with 1:31 remaining.
The Terriers went with six skaters for the final minute of play, but they couldn’t convert on any of their three offensive-zone faceoffs. On the final push, a miscommunication sent the puck dribbling into the neutral zone. With nothing between him and the goal, John Leonard (9-19-28) was fouled, giving the San Jose draft pick the easiest score of his career, an automatic goal.
“Both teams pushed hard,” O’Connell said. “Both teams competed well. They’re a good hockey team. We’re a good hockey team. … I liked the way we bounced back, competitive-wise.”
The Terriers will skate next at TD Garden on Monday, Feb. 4 in the 67th Beanpot Tournament, where they will face the No. 12 Northeastern Huskies.