It was another hard-fought Hockey East battle for the No. 5 Boston University men’s hockey team, and the final score was evident of that.
The Terriers (6-3-1, 2-0-1 Hockey East) jumped out to an early lead and held on for a 2-1 victory over the Huskies (3-4-5, 1-2-1 HE). It is the first time BU has recorded back-to-back wins on the road since February of last season.
Sophomore forward Jordan Greenway and freshman forward Gabriel Chabot scored for the Terriers, but it was junior goaltender Connor LaCouvee who stole the show. In his first start of the season, LaCouvee made 28 saves to keep BU in front despite the team totaling seven penalties, including five in the second period.
“It was a hard-fought Hockey East game, as it usually is on the road,” BU head coach David Quinn said. “We played really well early and we got off to a good start, we were controlling the play. [In] the second period, the first ten minutes we did a good job and then the penalties started. Even though they didn’t score in that stretch, they gained a lot of momentum and gained a lot of life. Give them credit, they played hard and they got a good team.”
It wouldn’t take long for the Terriers to build a lead against their conference foes. 3:28 into the opening frame, Greenway lofted the puck over Connecticut goaltender Rob Nichols’ head and into the back of the net for his sixth goal of the year and his fourth point in two games.
Then, with four minutes left in the period, freshman forward Gabriel Chabot picked up a loose puck in the slot and fired a shot top left to extend BU’s lead to two. It was Chabot’s first collegiate goal, and came on assists from classmate Pat Curry and senior forward Tommy Kelley.
“It was kind of a quick two-on-two crashing the net,” Chabot said. “Everyone ended up losing focus of the puck, I was able to catch it up high and then I just had time and space. I just put up a good shot, and it went in.”
Neither team was able to score in the second period, but the Huskies were the better team in the frame, outshooting the Terriers 12-8.
After recording only one penalty in the first period, BU reverted to its old ways, racking up the penalty minutes and allowing UConn plenty of time in the offensive zone. The Terriers spent ten minutes in the box, a disappointing number after the team totaled only three penalties in their 4-2 win against the University of Michigan on Saturday.
“It’s a tough bench to see the game on, a lot happens,” Quinn said. “I didn’t see a lot of the penalties, it’s a small bench and the angles not great. Our leagues calling it tighter than the other leagues, I will say that. I’m not being critical, I’m not saying that’s good or bad, that’s just a reality.”
Despite constantly being down a man, the Terriers kept the Huskies scoreless in the period, mostly due to LaCouvee’s strong play in net. Time and time again, the junior from British Columbia stood tall, making 12 saves in the period.
As good as LaCouvee was in net, he could only hold off the Huskies offense for so long. After a slashing penalty on sophomore forward Oskar Andren in the third period, UConn would finally light the lamp when Huskies forward Spencer Naas beat LaCouvee weakside. Just like that, it was a one-goal game with 13 minutes remaining.
After the Naas goal, BU didn’t commit another penalty, and LaCouvee made a couple more solid saves to secure the win.
“We came out really ready to play tonight, for most of the game we were definitely the stronger team,” Chabot said. “We obviously had our moments where we needed to focus, but overall I thought we put up a good effort and we definitely know what we need to fix for tomorrow.”