The Boston University Terriers hosted their cross-town rival, the Northeastern University Huskies, on Saturday night. The Terriers had a chance to get four conference points and climb over .500 on the season after outlasting Providence the night before. This game promised to be a shootout between two offensively potent teams. Instead, it turned into a penalty riddled bludgeoning at the hands of Northeastern.
The first period belonged to the Huskies, who outshot the Terriers 14-7 and made Jake Oettinger work. The sophomore did his best, making 12 saves in the period, but could not keep every puck out of the net. Just after the halfway point of the period, Bobby Hampton and Grant Jozefek executed a give and go from behind the goal line perfectly. Hampton’s shot beat Oettinger for the freshman’s second goal of the season.
The end of the first turned from a pretty and fast game into a messy contest. First, Northeastern goaltender Ryan Ruck stepped slightly out of his crease and took a hit to his head from Patrick Harper. Ruck crumpled to the ice. Trainers looked at him and the junior played through the hit. He made every save he could in the first period and his offense backed him up.
Nolan Stevens and Matt Filipe broke into the offensive end to rush Oettinger for a buzzer shot. Stevens went five hole and scored as the buzzer went off. The officials reviewed the play and determined that Stevens beat the clock, so Northeastern took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
The teams combined for four penalties over the final minute of the first and the first minute of the second. Those penalties gave BU a power play two minutes into the period. Jordan Greenway made the most of it, getting BU on the board with his second goal of the season.
The rest of the second period went Northeastern’s way. Nolan Stevens scored his second of the night after hustling for a loose puck and beating Oettinger glove side. Less than a minute later, BU rushed Ruck in net and apparently beat him for a 3-2 game. However, the goal was overturned. Ruck had control of the puck and Tkachuk knocked the puck out of his glove and into the net.
Shortly after the overturn, Northeastern pulled Ruck from the game. He was foggy coming to the bench and believed to be concussed. He did his part, stopping 14 of 15 shots. Cayden Primeau stepped in and shut the door the rest of the way. Nolan Stevens got his hat trick goal in the period when he tipped home a shot from Ryan Shea for a 4-1 lead with 1:41 to play in the second.
The third period descended into madness and hits. Ten different penalties were called in the third, including two misconduct penalties. Nikolas Olsson dangerously hit Biagio Lerario into the boards and was called for one of those misconduct penalties and a five-minute major for a dangerous blow to the head. The senior was ejected from the game.
BU Captain Brandon Hickey was also called for a misconduct in the ensuing scrum. After all was said and done, the Terriers served 31 of 37 penalty minutes in the third period. Northeastern also served eight of their 14 penalty minutes in the third. BU outshot the Huskies 14-7 in the third, but Cayden Primeau shut the door on the Terriers.
The Huskies walked out of Agganis Arena with a 4-1 win, ending their eight game winless streak against the Terriers.
After the game, Northeastern Head Coach Jim Madigan and Captain Nolan Stevens were happy with the way the team battled for the win. Stevens didn’t think the goal at the end of the first had counted, but was thrilled that it did. The senior scored his first career hat trick and powered the Huskies to their first victory in Agganis Arena since 2015.
Madigan called the hit by Harper on Ruck a cheap shot. He added that Ruck will be evaluated, but if forced to go with Primeau for extended time, he feels comfortable doing so. Northeastern climbs to 5-2-0 overall and 3-0-0 in Hockey East play for the first time since 2008.
Terrier Head Coach David Quinn was disgusted after the game. “Northeastern is just a better hockey team than we are right now. Our inability to decide when to play defense and when to play offense is a problem for us. You can’t just be near someone to cover them; you have to cover them” Quinn added that his team looked soft and that they’ve got work to do before returning to the ice.
BU falls to 4-5-1 overall and 2-2-1 in Hockey East. The teams will rematch on Friday night at Matthews Arena. Puck drops at 7 pm.