Ice Hockey, Sports

Men’s hockey set for season home opener against No. 6 Providence

Junior goaltender Jake Oettinger in an Oct. 6 game against Acardia University. Oettinger and the Terriers will face off against No. 6 Providence College Friday at Agganis Arena. MADDIE MALHOTRA/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

The final seconds waned off the clock and the members of the then-No.18 Boston University men’s hockey team threw their equipment into the air.

That was the scene at TD Garden March 17 when the Terriers (0-3, 0-1 Hockey East) defeated then-No.9 Providence College 2-0 in the Hockey East Championship and punched their ticket into the NCAA tournament.

Current junior goaltender Jake Oettinger won the “battle of the goaltenders” as he turned away all 30 shots from the Friars (3-1-1, 1-0-0 Hockey East) and picked up tournament MVP honors.

“I think it’s important to raise the banner no matter who we’re playing,” BU head coach Albie O’Connell said. “It’s our home opener. It’s great for the guys that were here last year, it’s great for the program [and] it’s great for the fans to see it. It doesn’t matter really who we’re raising it verse.”

Since that game, the Terriers are a combined 1-4, with their only win taking place in the NCAA regional semifinal where they upset then-No. 4 Cornell University.

After three straight road losses, the Terriers now open their season at home against No. 6 Providence.

Senior forward and co-captain Bobo Carpenter said in-conference rivals adds to the intensity of the game.

“I don’t know what more you could ask for,” Carpenter said. “It’s what makes college hockey so much: the rivalries, how hard every game is every night.”

This season, however, the Terriers have yet to win a game in three tries, including a 4-0 loss in the squad’s first conference matchup against Merrimack College.

After allowing three goals within the first 24 minutes of the game, O’Connell replaced Oettinger with redshirt junior goaltender Max Prawdzik, who was perfect in all 10 shots he faced.

The Warriors’ fourth goal occured after Prawdzik had been pulled in the third period for an extra attacker.

Oettinger ranks last in Hockey East with a 4.66 goals against average and a .866 save percentage.

However, in his two seasons with the Terriers, the Lakeville, Minnesota, native owns a .956 save percentage against the Hockey East foe. He also has allowed two or less goals in six games against Providence, including two shutouts.

“Jake’s a great goalie,” O’Connell said. “… All and all, Jake’s a great goalie, he’s had stretches where he has been really good.”

The Friars offense averages 3.20 goals per game with forwards senior Scott Conway and junior Jack Dugan each averaging a point per contest. Their 1.60 goals against is the lowest in the conference.

Senior goaltender Hayden Hawkey is the Friars’ leading goaltender.

Hawkey’s 1.51 goals against average has him tied for third in Hockey East and his .931 save percentage places him at seventh.

BU enters the game as the most penalized team in Hockey East averaging 19 minutes in the box per game. The Friars power play, meanwhile, is third in the conference.

On the flip side, the Terriers’ power play is last in the conference, converting on only one of its 15 chances. Providence penalty kill is tied for third in the Hockey East, killing off 28 of 33 penalties.

“I think there’s some personal changes [and to] put guys in spots where they’re more comfortable,” O’Connell said. “I think that with getting a couple of back changes the lineup … so we’re just trying to find the right combinations right now.”

Friar forward John McDermott will his return to Agganis Arena after appearing in 14 games with BU in 2016-17.

After rejoining the USHL’s Tri-City Storm last season, McDermott transferred to Providence College.

Junior defenseman and assistant captain Chad Krys “should be available” in the matchup according to O’Connell. Krys has not played yet this season.

Despite the early season struggles for the Terriers, Carpenter said that the team is fighting through it.

“It happens,” Carpenter said. “Young guys and getting the change to the college games. So you just try to work with it and fight through it and can’t let it get to you.”

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