It looks like all the Boston University men’s hockey team needed to win on the road was to play as close as it could to home, as the Terriers topped No. 9 Northeastern University 4-2 to finally earn their first road win of the season Saturday night at Matthews Arena.
The victory also marked the Terriers’ (10-20-4, 5-12-3 Hockey East) first back-to-back wins since Nov. 17 and 22, and the first two-win weekend of the season since the first weekend of the season. The two consecutive wins came despite several different Terrier players suspended by the team both nights.
Sophomore forward Danny O’Regan, freshman forwards Brendan Collier and Kevin Duane and senior defenseman Matt Ronan all did not play due to what appeared to be disciplinary reasons. Freshman defenseman T.J. Ryan also did not play, but he was out with an injury.
“I’ve been coaching almost 20 years and I don’t know if I have been prouder,” said BU coach David Quinn. “Through some difficult times and a difficult season to respond the way we did over the last two nights shows our resiliency and our character and our leadership.”
With the win, BU will be traveling to the University of Notre Dame for the first round of the Hockey East Tournament. The Terriers were shut out twice in their trip to South Bend, Ind., just over a week ago.
“Those one-game situations, anything can happen,” Quinn said. “So I’m excited to go to Notre Dame.”
It was sophomore forward Matt Lane – who did not play in Friday night’s game due to a team suspension – who put the Terriers on the board first six seconds into its first power play of the contest. With Northeastern (18-12-4, 10-8-2 Hockey East) forward John Stevens in the box for tripping, freshman defenseman Doyle Somerby sent a shot off of Huskies’ goaltender Clay Witt’s pad right onto Lane’s stick for an easy rebound goal.
It was Lane’s sixth goal of the season, and BU’s first power-play goal in its last 16 man-advantage opportunities, a span during which it had allowed two shorthanded goals.
Northeastern tied up the game a little less than eight minutes remaining in the period though, when winger Braden Pimm capitalized on a shot from the top of the slot. BU sophomore goaltender Matt O’Connor got a piece of it, but he failed to keep it from crossing the goal line as Pimm scored his second goal in as many nights against BU.
The Huskies even took a brief lead in the second period when freshman Zach Aston-Reese received a pass as the trailer on a 3-on-2 and ripped it past O’Connor’s glove for his eighth goal of the season. The goal came off a great feed from winger Kevin Roy, who added to his team-leading 43 points on the season.
The Terriers struck back with two quick strikes in the final six minutes of the second, however, and regained the lead. Lane scored his second goal of the game on a breakaway in which he deked past Witt and scored on his backhand. It was Lane’s first career multi-goal game.
“I just marked my guy and fortunately got a good stick on the puck and then I was just off to the races,” Lane said.
Less than two minutes later, Somerby added his first-career goal on a backhander that beat Witt on his blocker side. The goal came after a nice steal at the defensive blue line by freshman forward Tommy Kelley, whose 1-on-1 deke left the puck sitting in the slot for Somerby to capitalize on. The two-goal swing gave the Terriers the lead, one in which they would not relinquish.
Sophomore forward Mike Moran added to the scoring 7:39 into the third period, ripping a snap shot off the left post and in for his fifth goal of the season. Freshman winger Nick Roberto added an assist on the play, his 11th of the season.
BU ended up holding on for the win, even with the lack of depth on the team Saturday night. The thin lineup could be here to stay though, especially with all the success the team has been having.
“It’s very nice, very nice,” Quinn said. “Don’t be surprised if I play nine forwards and five defensemen in the playoffs, even if nobody gets in trouble.”