Ice Hockey, Sports

Freshman Jake Oettinger collects first road shutout, powers BU hockey over Vermont

Freshman Jake Oettinger made some key stops to keep BU in control against the Catamounts. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/ DFP FILE PHOTO
Freshman Jake Oettinger made some key stops to keep BU in control against the Catamounts. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/ DFP FILE PHOTO

It’s always an exciting series between the No. 5 Boston University men’s hockey team and No. 12 University of Vermont, as three of the previous four series between the two have been splits.

Given the history, it makes sense the Terriers (9-5-2, 4-2-2 Hockey East) pulled out a 4-0 win on Saturday after dropping Friday’s contest against the Catamounts (10-4-2, 5-3-1 HE) at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Thanks to goals from junior forward Chase Phelps, freshman forward Clayton Keller, junior forward Nick Roberto, and an empty-netter from junior defenseman Brandon Hickey, BU was able to end Vermont’s seven-game unbeaten streak.

Not to be outdone, freshman netminder Jake Oettinger stood out yet again, making 28 saves en route to recording the first road shutout of his collegiate career. The Catamounts came into this weekend series averaging the 12th most goals per game in the nation, but Oettinger stonewalled Vermont’s top playmakers all night.

The first period was an even battle between the Hockey East teams, but it was the Terriers who were able to light the lamp about ten minutes into the contest. Junior forward Chase Phelps, who got the start with freshman Kieffer Bellows getting a night off, scored his first goal of the season when he corralled a rebound and beat Catamount goaltender Stefanos Lekkas five-hole. Just like Friday’s game, BU got on the board first.

The Catamounts would get their chances in the period as well, their best opportunity coming with less than five minutes in the frame. A great pass from a Vermont defenseman forced Oettinger to face a 2-on-none scenario, but he read it perfectly and denied Vermont’s Craig Puffer to keep BU up front.

It was more of the same in the second period, with both teams playing hard while drawing minimal penalties. That was huge for the Terriers, who have had struggles staying out of the box this season. BU totaled 14 penalty minutes in the victory, just two more minutes than the Catamounts.

In the third, the Terriers were finally able to get some separation. It started at the very end of the second period, when sophomore forward Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson drew a holding penalty on a rush. That led to a power play to begin the final frame, and Keller delivered, scoring bar down for his sixth goal of the season.

Then, with 3:54 left to play, freshman forward Pat Curry came out of the penalty box and immediately found the puck. He then hit Roberto on the rush, and the Wakefield, Massachusetts native delivered to put the game out of reach.

Hickey’s third goal of the season came on a long clearance into an empty-net with 1:23 to play. BU has now scored exactly half of its 48 goals in the final period.

The Terrier will play once more before the holiday break, as they welcome Yale University to Agganis Arena on Tuesday.

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