The No. 7 Boston University men’s hockey team tied the University of Connecticut on Friday night at Agganis Arena in the first leg of its first Hockey East home-and-home series. Two short-handed goals from junior forward Bobo Carpenter propelled the Terriers (2-2-1, 0-0-1 Hockey East) against the Huskies (2-2-1, 1-1-1 Hockey East), but the game couldn’t be decided in only 65 minutes.
The penalty kill for BU served as the focal point for action in the contest as all the goals were while the Terriers were on a penalty kill.
However, BU head coach David Quinn remained dismayed that the Terriers let those two goals go through.
“Well a hard-fought game for sure,” Quinn said. “I mean that was Hockey East at its finest. […] Obviously our penalty kill let us down tonight. You can’t be giving up two goals after you get two short-handed goals. We just don’t have a lot of experience with guys killing right now … so that’s going to take some time.”
From the beginning of the opening frame of the game, BU’s defense, which gave up 45 shots in the Terriers’ first game against Minnesota State last weekend, looked in better form.
BU allowed the team to have a 14-7 shot advantage over the Huskies and finished the game with a 35-33 shot advantage.
No players were sent to the penalty box and BU fought five-on-five throughout the period.
Despite UConn senior forward Corey Ronan attempting a backhanded shot off a breakaway, sophomore goaltender Jake Oettinger did not face many challenges and the score remained at 0-0 going into intermission.
“I thought we generated offense,” Quinn said of his team’s first period play. “I thought we defended hard in our end. What I didn’t like was I thought we gave up too many odd-man rushes. We got to absolutely clean that up. Puck management is a problem for us right now, but I love the pace we played at. We came ready to play…”
The Huskies quickened the pace of the game immediately from the puck drop in the second frame. BU was unable to convert on its first power play of the night.
However, halfway through the period during the Terriers first penalty kill, Carpenter took advantage of a breakaway and notched his first goal of the season.
Carpenter almost lost the puck, but was able to get it through Huskies sophomore goaltender Adam Huska’s leg to give BU a 1-0 lead.
The Terriers’ lead was short-lived as they were unable to survive the remainder of the penalty kill and UConn forward Karl El-Mir shot a wrister at the goal that Oettinger couldn’t catch and the puck bounced off the top of the goaltender’s glove.
Quinn said he disappointed that his team surrendered the goal less than a minute later, but said his young team is still building up its mental toughness.
“You can sense when we give up a goal, the bench gets very deflated,” Quinn said. “We’re just not mentally tough enough yet to react and put it behind us. Disappointing that we get the first goal and then give it up over a minute later to tie it.”
Four minutes later, BU was not only able to survive its second penalty kill of the game, but Carpenter took advantage of the opportunity once again.
After a feed from junior forward Jordan Greenway, the forward raced toward the puck down the ice.
Huska attempted to swipe at the puck, but just fell short and Carpenter collected it behind the Huskies’ goal and backhanded it into the net to put the Terriers up 2-1.
BU’s third penalty kill of the night proved unsuccessful as UConn took converted with seven seconds remaining in its power play. Huskies forward Letunov shot at the Terriers’ net from the right face-off circle before forward Payusov got the rebound to even the score at 2-2.
The Terriers were unable to secure an equalizer and after five minutes of overtime, the game ended in a 2-2 draw.
BU will have a chance to collect more conference points tomorrow night as it plays the Huskies again at the XL Center in Hartford Connecticut.
Carpenter said that the team will need to continue their pace going into the following night.
“Definitely puck possession and playing fast again,” Carpenter said. “If we do that teams won’t be able to keep up with us. It’s really what we want to imbed in our team and what we want to be so if we do that, it will be a good outcome.”