Boston University forward Ryan Cloonan. (Photo Credit: Matt Woolverton)

Terriers Topple Wildcats

Durham, NH- Boston University had their hearts broken on Monday night in the Beanpot final. The loss to Northeastern felt like the end, but BU remained in a bitterly contested Hockey East playoff push. The Terriers returned to the ice on Valentine’s Day and picked up their fans with a strong showing in New Hampshire.

It didn’t appear so early. UNH outshot BU 7-0 through the first almost five plus minutes of the game. David Farrance also took a tripping minor to give the Wildcats more scoring chances. Sam Tucker kept the game scoreless and allowed his team a chance to wake up. Taking the hint, Wilmer Skoog opened the scoring 9:28 into the game with his third goal of the season from the right circle. BU kept up the attack and UNH aided the Terriers with penalties.

With 3:14 left in the opener, Ryan Verrier cross-checked Gabriel Chabot face first into the goal-post and was given a five minute major and a game misconduct. Fourteen seconds into killing the major, Anthony Wyse took a boarding penalty. BU capitalized on the five-on-three with Patrick Harper netting his 13th goal of the season. The Terriers took a 2-0 lead into intermission.

UNH showed life in the second. Chase Stevenson sprung free up the left wing and beat Sam Tucker to get UNH on the board 3:27 into the second. Less than two minutes later, though, the Wildcats coughed up the puck in their own end. Trevor Zegras bounced on the loose vulcanized rubber and fluttered a shot into the net for a 3-1 lead. David Farrance tacked on one more after the period’s middle point to make it 4-1.

The third period was hockey’s cure to insomnia. UNH outshot BU 9-5 and neither side generated any high danger chances for the remainder of the night. A few brouhahas did get some life from the Whittemore Center crowd, but UNH cut the lead no closer. BU closed out the 4-1 win.

The Terriers improve to 11-9-8 (8-5-5 HEA). They climb from sixth to fourth in the Hockey East standings.

“It took us a little while to get going,” commented Terrier Head Coach Albie O’Connell. “It took us that penalty kill. And then they took a couple penalties. That gave us an open window and we took advantage.”

Sam Tucker stopped 26 of 27 shots in net.

Trevor Zegras recorded a goal and two assists for three points. He is tied for the second most points (32) among freshman with Wisconsin’s Cole Caulfield behind only Harvard’s Nick Abruzzese (35).

David Farrance’s goal was his 14th, the most among all defensemen nationwide and second on the Terrier team behind only Patrick Curry (15). The Victor, NY native has a total of 37 points. That leads all defensemen nationwide and ties him with Tyler Madden for fourth in the national scoring race among all skaters.

“When we recruited him years ago, he was one of the best offensive defensemen for his birth year. He’s confident. He’s now getting more opportunity with (Dante) Fabbro and (Chad) Krys last year, they got a bit more of the time. And he (Farrance) has taken advantage of being the guy. He’s really confident. He’s really matured. He’s shown some leadership over the last couple weeks which is nice to see.”

The Wildcats drop to 15-12-2 (9-9-1 HEA). They fall from fifth to seventh in the Hockey East standings.

“They played better than us tonight,” said Wildcat Head Coach Mike Souza. “We got ourselves into penalty trouble. They’ve got skilled players and we didn’t do a good job tonight.”

Mike Robinson stopped 27 of 31 shots faced.

The teams reconvene in Boston on Saturday night. Puck drops at Agganis Arena at 7:30 pm ET.