LOWELL- Behind a 25 save shutout from Jake Oettinger and goals from three different skaters, Boston University blanked Lowell 3-0 at the Tsongas Center to win game one of the Hockey East Quarterfinals, taking the first step to getting back to the Garden.
“All in all it was a pretty hard fought game,” mentioned head coach Albie O’Connell who
picked up his first postseason win as the Terriers bench boss. “It was really hard checking and really close.”
After a deadlocked opening frame that was classic feeling out period in a playoff game, the Terriers made good use of a Joel Farabee goal early in the second frame and were able to play with a lead for most of the game.
Farabee started the shift by winning a puck battle down low behind the spacious goal line. From there, he worked the puck to the point where Kasper Kotkansalo went d to d with Dante Fabbro, who let go a slapper from the right point. In the high slot, Farabee redirected home his 14th of the year.
“I came to the high tip area and got kind of a lucky bounce off the ice,” added Farabee. “It was a good play all-around.”
Not long after, BU scored one of the more unique power play goals you’ll ever see, especially in a playoff game.
David Farrance started a rush from the neutral zone and was given a cushion he took full advantage of. He drove all the way into the zone carrying the puck on his forehand, not giving away whether he would shoot or pass until the last second. The patience paid off, freezing UML goalie Christoffer Hernberg and allowing Cam Crotty to slam home a backdoor feed.
“It was kind of a crazy play,” said O’Connell. “One D carries the puck and then makes a drop pass to the other. Their guy had a choice to pick up the guy in front, or the guy in the slot and he didn’t see Crotty creeping in.”
The play was a great indicator of just how skilled of a player Farrance is. He has the ability to draw a lot of power from his stride. It can seem as if he’s not really moving his feet, but yet he is still able to create a lot of speed.
O’Connell went on to say, “He has a very high level of skill, vision and confidence. In big games, he performs.”
Jake Oettinger put in another night of spectacular goaltending. He was sharp and very calm I net. As said before, he stopped all 27 shots he faced, including 14 in the second period. Oettinger had a lot of help in front of him, too. BU blocked 10 shots as a team and really helped limit Lowell’s “high danger” attempts. The shutout was his 13 career goose-egg, tying the program record.
Feeling desperate, Lowell pulled Hernberg with over two minutes to play. Lowell failed to get a good look, outside of Oettinger making a self-proclaimed “stupid pass” up the wall that led to a scoring chance.
In the closing seconds, Joel Farabee sprang Patrick Curry in on nothing but an empty net. Curry carried his 12th of the year to seal the deal. Seconds after the goal, though, Shane Bowers and Seth Barton picked both were sent to the box for slashing. Bowers picked up five minute major and a game-misconduct after the fact.
When asked if Bowers was eligible for tomorrow, O’Connell said, “from what the ref said, yes”
All game misconducts are looked at by the league after the fact.
BU will go for the sweep tomorrow night at the Tsongas Center. They will be looking for their sixth consecutive Hockey East Tournament win.
“They are gonna be playing for their lives, so we have to do what we did tonight and kind of be savages and go out there and take it,” stated Joel Farabee.
BU has not lost a quarterfinal game since game two of the 2016 tournament against Lowell. They swept Northeastern in 2017 and UConn last season.