Boston University has been rocky this season. The Terriers have had quality victories against Providence and Quinnipiac, narrow defeats to Denver, and bad losses to Minnesota State.
After two particularly hard losses to Northeastern, the Terriers returned home to Agganis Arena to regroup and get a win against the 9th ranked New Hampshire Wildcats. New Hampshire did not enter the game with momentum either. They lost to UMass Lowell the night before and were missing Shane Eiserman, Charlie Kelleher, and Brendan van Riemsdyk all due to injury. BU had some trials to deal with as well.
Captain Brandon Hickey was still out due to injury and Nikolas Olsson didn’t dress. The most notable change was the Terrier goalie. Jake Oettinger was out and Max Prawdzik was in, making his first start for BU. He performed exceptionally well.
Jason Salvaggio fired the first shot of the game and Prawdzik made the save. From there, the redshirt sophomore never lost focus. He made twelve saves in the first period, with five coming on a power play late. He made the saves and his team gave him a lead. Drew Melanson, Patrick Curry, and Ty Amonte combined for some nifty passing on the right side of UNH’s goalie crease that led to Amonte’s second goal of the season and a 1-0 Terrier lead. That goal was only the fourth for the much-maligned bottom six forwards, and it got momentum going for BU.
The second period saw Prawdzik shine. UNH outshot BU 11-8, but the sophomore stopped every shot in the frame. Dante Fabbro chipped in a wicked wrister from the high slot to beat Danny Tirone top shelf. That made the game 2-0 and BU took their foot off the gas.
For an eight-minute stretch, New Hampshire had excellent chances to get on the board. Jason Salvaggio and Kohei Sato were especially close. Improved defense by BU and phenomenal goaltending by Prawdzik turned way the UNH chances, however, and the Terriers took a 2-0 lead into the second intermission.
BU controlled the third period. They outshot the Wildcats 11-6 and chased UNH starting goaltender Danny Tirone after two more goals. The first one was a Jordan Greenway put back off a rebound from a Brady Tkachuk shot. The second was a Bobo Carpenter shot off a Tkachuk entry feed. Prawdzik closed out the game with 29 saves, a shutout, and his first career Boston University win, 4-0.
Unless the postseason matchups workout, Saturday night’s game was the last time Dick Umile will coach at Agganis Arena. The legendary coach was appreciative of the tribute given him before the game by current Terrier Coach David Quinn and former BU Coach Jack Parker. Speaking on the game, Umile was disappointed but level-headed.
“They made the most of their scoring chances and we didn’t. We’ve got a ton of injuries and I’m not mad with the effort we showed. Good effort, just no capitalization.”
New Hampshire drops their second straight game and falls to 6-3-1 overall and 3-2-1 in Hockey East. The Wildcats return to Durham next weekend to host the Boston College Eagles on Saturday night. Puck drops at 7 pm.
David Quinn was proud his team and particularly his goaltender.
“We defended well and helped Max out. He rewarded our faith in him and earned his place here at BU. He’s a great goaltender and a great kid.”
Prawdzik was happy after his long road to BU.
“I’m a Mass guy, so I grew up wanting to go here. And it was hard getting here. I didn’t play goal for a year and a half. So I redshirted and went to the Lone Star Brahmas of the North American Hockey League and fell in love with the game again. When I got back here, it was just a matter of waiting for my chance. I got it tonight and it was awesome.”
Prawdzik was the number one star of the night and is the first BU goaltender to record a shutout in his debut. BU goes to 5-6-1 overall and 3-3-1 in conference. The Terriers travel to Maine for a two-game set against the Black Bears. First game is in Orono on Friday night. Puck drops at 7:30. The second game is at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Saturday night. Puck drops at 7 pm.