By Taylor Raglin
BU News Service
Just three days after seven members of the No. 5 ranked BU men’s hockey team competed for gold at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship (WJC), the Terriers took part in another special experience—facing off against the UMass Minutemen Sunday inside Fenway Park.
The Terriers got goals from freshmen Chad Krys and Gabriel Chabot 48 seconds apart late in the third period to pull away with a 5-3 victory in the matchup. The contest was part of Capital One Frozen Fenway 2017, a two-week series of outdoor hockey games at the historic venue.
“I’m not surprised when [depth players] contribute offensively,” Terrier head coach David Quinn said. “We’re very fortunate to have the depth that we have. It certainly played a huge role in winning on Thursday night [against No. 10 Union], and it’s going to play a huge role moving forward. If you’re going to have success and win championships, which we want to do, you need 26 guys pulling in the same direction.”
Sophomore Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson continued his blazing start to 2017, scoring twice to bring his total over the last two games to five goals. Four of those came consecutively, with the forward netting the Terriers’ last two goals in Thursday’s overtime victory over Union and the first two against the Minutemen.
“It works that way sometimes. For a while nothing will come, then the next game you’ll get three. It’s nice to get this start to 2017. A couple of kids were asking for my stick [after the game], but I wanted to keep it,” Karlsson said, laughing.
Quinn attributed the sophomore’s continued improvement to his gaining “a half of a step of quickness” between last season and the current campaign.
“He’s as good as everyone thinks he is, and he’s probably a little bit better,” he said. “I could put him with both Zamboni drivers out there as his two linemates and he wouldn’t blink an eye.”
Fellow sophomore Charlie McAvoy rounded out the Terriers’ offensive output on the day, slamming home a rebound from the left circle for a power play goal in the second period.
UMass got goals from Griff Jeszka, Ray Pigozzi and Steven Iacobellis. After drawing to within a goal early in the third frame, the Minutemen proved unable to withstand Krys and Chabot’s outburst.
All seven WJC participants slotted back into the BU lineup, including freshmen Kieffer Bellows, Patrick Harper, Clayton Keller and Jake Oettinger and sophomores Jordan Greenway and McAvoy, who all won gold for the United States. Freshman Dante Fabbro also took home a silver medal with Canada.
Each of the six skaters collected at least a point in the game, and Oettinger collected a 26-save win in net. Harper led the way with two assists, bringing his team-leading total in the category to 15.
Penalty trouble, a theme of BU’s season, nagged the Terriers throughout the game. They gifted the Minutemen five power plays but didn’t fold, killing off all 8:09 of UMass’ time with the man advantage.
“Our penalty kill has been really good all year,” Quinn said. “We weathered the storm … unfortunately, we’ve had to do that all year long. We’ve taken too many penalties, and we took too many tonight.”
While two crucial points in the Hockey East standings were up for grabs, the Terriers didn’t let the enormity of the experience pass them by.
“It’s such a storied building in such a great city,” McAvoy said. “Playing here was a blast, and it’s something I’ll remember for a long time.”
Quinn said the team will relish the chance to return to a normal schedule after a hectic week. The Terriers (12-5-2, 5-2-2 HEA) will next hit the ice Jan. 13 when they host rival Boston College as part of a home-and-home series that will conclude with a trip to Chestnut Hill on Jan. 16.
“I think we’ll approach it just like we approach every game,” McAvoy said. “We don’t really focus too much on who the opponent is. It’s really more about what’s going on in our locker room.”