The No. 8 Boston University men’s hockey team started off the Albie O’Connell era with the Terriers (0-1) dropping the season opener to No. 11 Minnesota State University 4-3.
O’Connell, in his first game as head coach, said he saw positives in the team’s play at first, but then lost momentum.
“For the first seven minutes, I thought we dominated the game,” O’Connell said. “Then we had, what, three penalties? They got some momentum off their power play.”
Mankato (1-0) opened the scoring when junior forward Parker Tuomie broke the scoreless tie with a shot from the slot at 11:56 in the first period with junior forward Josh French assisting.
The Terriers did not head into the first intermission trailing.
WIth four seconds left in the period, junior defenseman and captain Dante Fabbro’s shot from above the right circle hit the crossbar and then into the net to score the Terriers’ first goal of the season which knotted the game up at one.
Senior forward and captain Bobo Carpenter and junior forward Gabriel Chabot picked up helpers.
It did not take long for the Terriers to score their second goal.
“Second period was pretty good,” O’Connell said. “We battled hard. To go up 3-2, then they score a goal late to tie it up off a pant … It hit a guy’s pants and went in.”
Junior forward Patrick Curry finished off a tic-tac-toe play from sophomore defenseman David Farrance and forward Logan Cockerill and put BU up 2-1 a quarter way into the second period.
The lead did not last.
Sophomore forward Dallas Gerads scored off a deflection at 9:53 and tied the game at two, while defensemen junior Edwin Hookenson and sophomore Riese Zmolek assisted.
The Terriers regained the lead less than two minutes later.
While on the power play, Carpenter scored on a wrist shot from the left circle, and the Terriers regained the lead at 11:28 in the second. Farrance and Fabbro recorded assists.
“We only had a couple minutes on the power play, but it was nice,” O’Connell said. “We capitalized. It was a big goal, and it’s nice to break your first goal on the power play so you get some confidence with it.”
Mankato did not head into the third period trailing.
Tuomie scored on a backhand shot which tied the game at three goals at 18:42 in the second with junior forward Marc Michaelis and sophomore defenseman Connor Mackey assisting.
Then, Gerads netted his second goal of the night on a wrap-around shot, which beat Terriers’ junior goaltender and assistant captain Jake Oettinger at 10:16 in the final stanza.
“… Third [period] was a bit sloppy,” O’Connell said. “We were a little bit disjointed as far as handling the puck.”
One notable omission to the lineup for BU was junior defenseman and assistant captain Chad Krys. Krys did not make the trip due to a lower body injury.
Although no freshmen recorded a point, O’Connell thought they performed “overall pretty good.”
“I thought [defenseman] Hugo Blixt played hard, I thought he played well,” O’Connell said. “I thought [forward] Joel Farabee had 10 scoring chances and just couldn’t find a way to get one by the goalie.”
These two teams meet again Saturday night with the Terriers still looking for the first win in school history against Mankato.
O’Connell added he was happy with the way his leadership group played.
“All the guys that were supposed to play well played well,” O’Connell said. “And if we could’ve capitalized on some of those early chances, the game’s different.”