By Eric Getzoff
For BU News Service
After winning its first three games over winter break, the Terrier men’s hockey team headed to Boston College in search of one more win before the start of the spring semester. With their previous four games being held at either Agganis Arena or around the corner at Fenway Park, the Terriers (14-5-2, 7-2-2 HEA) showed they could win in another area of Boston. They defeated the Boston College Eagles (14-9-2, 9-3-1 HEA) by a score of 3-0 Monday night at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, earning the season sweep over their rivals, the Terriers’ first since 2001-2002.
The first period featured no goals from either team, though the Eagles certainly had more looks, outshooting the Terriers 14-8 and committing zero turnovers to the Terriers’ one. Eagle defenseman Scott Savage’s shot went right of the net on a 3-on-2 BC rush with just over 16 minutes remaining in the period. Then, about four minutes later, Terrier goaltender Jake Oettinger stopped a Chris Brown second-chance deflection that ricocheted off Oettinger’s chest.
The second period was a different story and one that favored the visiting team, whose home ice is just 3.8 miles northwest of Conte Forum on Commonwealth Avenue. The Terriers outshot the Eagles 12-6 in the frame and netted the game’s first goal, a Patrick Curry wrist shot off an assist from Kieffer Bellows with one second left on the power play and 12:32 remaining in the period. The goal was Curry’s third on the season and his first since a third-period insurance goal in a 5-3 win against Harvard on Nov. 22.
“Any time you get the first [goal] in this series, it makes your life a little bit easier,” Terrier head coach David Quinn said.
Terrier defenseman Doyle Somerby committed an interference penalty later in the period, but the Terriers’ superb play on the penalty kill continued. They shut down the Eagles on all three power play attempts in the game, a testament to their .897 penalty kill percentage coming into the game, good for second-best in the country.
Committing penalties was an issue for the Terriers early on in the season, but that number has shrunk as the season has gone on. “We’re less immature than we were two months ago,” said Quinn, who also added that the young Terriers have adapted to the stricter enforcement of penalties by referees this season.
The third period featured a whole bunch of nothing for the first 19 minutes of action, save for a boarding penalty on Terrier defenseman John Macleod 6:07 into the frame. In the last minute of the game, the Terriers pulled away with two goals following two BC penalties.
The first goal came on a Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson wrist shot from the right of the net with one second remaining on the power play and 58 seconds to play in the game. Bobo Carpenter then connected on a power play, as well, netting an empty-net goal with 14 seconds remaining in the game. Forsbacka Karlsson’s goal was his seventh in the team’s previous four games, a run which featured a hat-trick on Jan. 5 against Union.
Coach Quinn couldn’t have been happier with the timing of the power plays, but Eagle head coach Jerry York wasn’t too thrilled. “The last penalty was a tough penalty for us to take,” York said.
Oettinger had 34 saves in the game and notched his fourth career shutout. The freshman goaltender leads the Hockey East in goals-against average and save percentage, but gave credit to the play of his defense for his success on Monday.
“I thought they did a great job of making it easy on me,” Oettinger said. “I don’t think I had to make any big, grade-A saves.”
This was the Terriers’ sixth win in a row, matching Minnesota for the second-longest current win streak and trailing only UMass Lowell.
With the win, the Terriers leapfrogged Vermont and UMass Lowell into second place in the Hockey East standings with 16 points, but still trail Boston College by three points for first place. BC will have another shot at revenge against the Terriers, as the teams will face off in the semifinals of the Beanpot Tournament at TD Garden on Feb. 6 and potentially in the Hockey East postseason tournament.
For now, the Terriers will prepare for the Maine Black Bears, as a home-and-home series awaits them this weekend.