Junior forward Bobo Carpenter entered Friday’s contest against the University of Connecticut still searching for his first goal of the season.
Despite having yet to net a goal, Carpenter had made his presence felt in other ways, anchoring the front line of the Boston University men’s hockey team’s defense while dropping two assists through four games.
In the first of two matchups against the Huskies this weekend, Carpenter erased that zero in the goals category in a major way as the squads tied, 2-2.
“[Carpenter] had a great game,” BU head coach David Quinn said. “He has been snakebitten. Coming into tonight, we had only four guys [with goals]. I think that is weighing on a lot of guys. You can feel it on the bench. You can feel it in the locker room. It is going to be nice when a few guys pop and get a goal or two.”
And pop Carpenter did.
When senior forward Chase Phelps was sent to the penalty box midway through the second period in a scoreless game, the Terrier fans could see the momentum being stripped away from their squad.
Carpenter would not let the team fall behind, grabbing a loose puck around mid-ice and skating up the left side of the rink with one defender to beat. He kept the puck on the outside of his body and flipped a backhanded shot towards net. Goaltender Adam Huska was unable to corral the attempt, and the Terriers were on the board 11:38 through the second frame.
The Terriers drew a penalty yet again just five minutes later, and Carpenter heard his name called.
After junior forward Jordan Greenway fed a pass to Carpenter on the right side of the ice, the Reading, Ma. native took an off balance shot against Huska. The goaltender directed it behind the net, but Carpenter would not be denied. He chased down the loose puck, skated around the right side of the net, and flipped a backhander past Huska for his second shorthanded goal in the period.
“I was think shoot it [as soon as I got the loose puck],” Carpenter said. “But I saw a guy out of the corner of my eye coming back hard. I definitely did not want to shoot it into him. I got it on the backhand and flipped it towards the net. I got a lucky bounce on him. That was neat to see.”
Carpenter’s scoring drought over the first four games of the season came as a surprise after he put up 14 goals a season ago. This total tied him for second on the team. Carpenter carved out a reputation for himself across the Hockey East for being a pesky scorer, someone that could maneuver through traffic and score a goal even against tough defense.
Until Friday night, this scoring prowess had not been there for Carpenter. However, his presence had still been felt on the ice.
Carpenter notched his first point of the season with a key assist in the Terriers’ come-from-behind win over Quinnipiac University on October 8. He knocked on the door of the goal in the contest, releasing seven shots.
He then followed that performance up with another assist in the series opener against Minnesota State University last weekend, setting up Greenway for his first goal of the season in the second period. Carpenter was also aggressive in the shot column in that contest, pegging four shots throughout the game.
On Friday, Carpenter was finally able to break through, pacing a Terriers attack that has struggled mightily over the first five games.
“Our pace of play [worked well],” Carpenter said. “We had a great PK. We were playing fast and got a few good bounces. That really helped me to get those opportunities and I owe a lot to [my teammates] for playing fast like that.”
BU has not recorded a goal in five-on-five play for nearly 10 periods. Their last tally in even-manned play coming from freshman forward Shane Bowers 17:10 into the second period of their loss to the Mavericks last Friday night.
They nearly broke through the ice in the first two periods against the Huskies, getting 28 combined shots on Huska with a plethora of them representing quality scoring chances.
“We are learning, and that is the biggest thing,” Carpenter said. “It is going to take some time. We have a young team, and you play against these older guys. You are playing ‘big boy’ hockey. You just have to get used to it. I remember looking back at my freshman year. I was in the same position. It is fun to go through that progression and grow as a team.”