By Torrance Latham
BU News Service
The Boston University men’s hockey team put on a show in its home opener, taking down Wisconsin, 4-1, to get its first win of the season in Agganis Arena on Saturday night.
It was banner night for the Terriers and Agganis Arena was electric following a pre-game ceremony that celebrated the 2014-15 team. BU (1-1-0) took home the Beanpot trophy, won the Hockey East regular season & tournament titles while going 28-8-5. Freshman star Jack Eichel earned the Hobey Baker Award as BU advanced to the Frozen Four final.
The Wisconsin Badgers (0-2-2) looked to play spoiler early on, with sophomore center Adam Rockwood scoring at the 1:22 mark to start the game. The Terriers were able to withstand the early goal and settle down the final two periods, displayed why they can potentially make another push deep into the NCAA tournament this season.
Though the shots were not falling early for BU, they remained aggressive throughout, outshooting Wisconsin, 44-18.
The offensive output was evenly distributed for the Terriers, with 10 different players contributing at least one point.
BU senior Matt Lane tied the game early in the second period after backhanding a rebound past freshmen goalie Matt Jurusik. Juniors Doyle Somerby and Ryan Cloonan assisted on Lane’s goal.
The Terriers took the lead for good when sophomore defenseman Brandon Fortunato scored on a power play at the 9:04 mark of the second stanza, one of two points on the night for the blueliner.
“His shot has improved dramatically. If he can add a shot to his game, he’s already an elite offensive defenseman, but it’s going to give him another dimension,” said BU coach David Quinn.
BU ended any hopes of a comeback in the third-period with two goals in a five-minute span. The first came from sophomore forward Chase Phelps, who took advantage of a Fortunato shot, scoring at the 10:59 mark of the final frame. Freshman forward Bobo Carpenter joined the party with just over five minutes left to play, nailing a rebound from senior Mike Moran.
BU goalie Connor LaCouvee made 17 saves as he anchored a defense that denied all three Badger power plays.
“I thought we had a lot of life. We were down 1-0 but we never got discouraged. [Quinn] kept stressing to keep doing the little things: don’t get tired of making the right play, trust the system, and good things will come our way. I think it paid off,” said Fortunato.
The difference in the level of energy from Friday’s exhibition loss to the U-18 team was apparent, something Quinn cited as a sign of “immaturity”. He said that his team “grew up and came a long way in 24 hours.”
The Terriers will now look ahead to a Hockey East showdown at Agganis Arena next Saturday when the UConn comes to town. It will be a league opener for both teams.