Ice Hockey, Sports

BU men’s hockey comes up just short versus Northeastern, settles for tie

Clayton Keller led the way for the Terriers with two goals in the contest. PHOTO BY JONATHAN SIGAL // DAILY FREE PRESS
Clayton Keller led the way for the Terriers with two goals in the contest. PHOTO BY JONATHAN SIGAL // DAILY FREE PRESS

After the No. 4 Boston University men’s hockey team and Northeastern University duked it out Friday night at Matthews Arena, one thing was certain: the two teams did not disappoint.

It was a back-and-forth, passionate contest between the Hockey East foes, but in the end both the Terriers (3-2-1, 0-0-1 Hockey East) and the Huskies (3-2-3, 0-1-1 HE) were forced to settle for a 4-4 tie. It appeared BU would narrowly squeak out a victory after freshman forward Clayton Keller’s second goal of the night came with less than five minutes in the game, but Northeastern would light the lamp with 55 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime.

“Usually when you get a point in this league on the road, you’re usually pretty happy,” said BU head coach David Quinn, “but obviously giving up a goal with under a minute to go to allow them to tie it is disappointing.”

Once the puck dropped, both teams were immediately involved in a fast-paced, physical battle. Northeastern would get on the board first, as Garret Cockerill, whose brother Logan is a Terrier commit, took advantage of a 5-on-3 power play only 6:57 into the contest.

17 seconds later, with BU still on the penalty kill, Keller intercepted a NU pass right in front of Huskies goalie Ryan Ruck and extended past him to flip the puck in. In the blink of an eye, the game was tied thanks to what may end up being the best BU goal all season.

“The [defenseman] threw it in the air, I was luckily able to get a stick on it and make the move on the goalie,” Keller said. “I think you get lucky sometimes.”

After freshman forward Pat Curry deflected in a slapshot from junior defenseman Brandon Hickey to put the Terriers up 2-1 and wrap up the opening frame, the second period brought the same style of play, but without the goals.

It wasn’t until the third period, with BU again on the penalty kill, that the Huskies made it interesting, as Braintree native Adam Gaudette scored from the slot to tie it up just 2:22 into the final period.

The intensity was turned up a notch, and the arena was rocking. The Northeastern fans in the arena would quiet down, however, when sophomore forward Jordan Greenway tipped in a slapshot from freshman blue-liner Dante Fabbro to put BU back on top with 11:05 to go.

However, right after his fourth goal of the year, Greenway skated directly to the NU bench to rub it in. He made contact with a player and was whistled for a 10-minute misconduct penalty. That meant the always-aggressive Greenway would be unavailable for all but 65 of the remaining seconds.

It wouldn’t take long for the Huskies to make the most of BU’s most physical player being unavailable. A little over three minutes after Greenway was sent to the box, NU forward Dylan Sikura scored on a high blocker to even the score yet again.

Needless to say, Quinn was not pleased with Greenway’s misconduct call.

“People ask me all the time about our team and what the strengths and weaknesses are, and our number one weakness is immaturity, and that cost us tonight,” Quinn said. “We lose one of our best players for ten minutes because he wants to celebrate. I know it’s the generation we live in, but that’s not what BU hockey is about. That was addressed, and people won’t see that again out of our team.”

Then, with 4:15 remaining and BU on the power play, Keller fired from the left point and found the back of the net, thanks to a screen from freshman forward Kieffer Bellows to again give BU the lead. After his goal, Terriers both on the ice and on the bench exploded, showing more emotion than any other point so far this season.

Unfortunately, BU couldn’t hold on, as Northeastern forward Zach Aston-Reese tipped in a slapshot with less than a minute in the game to force overtime.

In the overtime period, but teams got power play opportunities, but it was Northeastern who outshot BU 6-0 in the frame. Freshman goaltender Jake Oettinger stood tall time and time again in the final five minutes, and BU was able to escape the raucous scene with a point.

In a game that was by far the most competitive of the young season, Quinn again stressed limiting penalties and silly mistakes. BU was called for too many players on the ice early in the game, and four of the Terriers’ seven penalties came in the final period. Quinn said he needs his young team to work on growing up, and that starts with a home game against the Huskies on Saturday.

“That’s asking an awful lot from a team that’s littered with 18 and 19-year-olds,” Quinn admitted. “We’re going to have to be patient, I’m certainly going to have to be patient. But again, there’s a lot that I like about our team, but we’re not there yet. But I like the direction we’re going in.”

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Nick is currently writing for the Boston Hockey Blog. In the past, he has served as associate sports editor, and has covered men's and women's cross-country, women's soccer, men's basketball, and men's lacrosse for the Daily Free Press. You can keep track of Nick's exciting life by following him on Twitter at @nikfraz14

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