Ice Hockey, Sports

Skoog’s game-winner lifts Terriers over Brown in overtime

BOSTON, MA – The Boston University men’s hockey team (7-6-5, 4-3-4 HEA) took down the Brown University Bears (3-12) by a 3-2 final in overtime at Agganis Arena Wednesday night. 

Freshman forward Wilmer Skoog scored his first collegiate goal to win the game for BU in his first official game in the scarlet and white.

BU head coach Albie O’Connell was happy with the win, but said he was more focused on what the Terriers could improve on.

“I thought the first period we played pretty well, they had three shots and two goals. Then the second and third period, through stretches, played a little better than we did,” O’Connell said. “There’s some stuff we definitely have to clean up.”

Graduate goalie Sam Tucker got the start in goal for the Terriers, while senior goaltender Gavin Nieto went for Brown head coach Brendan Whittet’s squad.

Despite giving up two goals on three shots in the first period, Tucker was flawless for the rest of the game, stopping the final 25 shots he faced.

O’Connell noted Tucker’s ability to shake off tough plays and how his experience plays into that.

“[Tucker] is competitive and he has reset in other games before,” O’Connell said. “He’s got a lot of experience —  he’s older — and he can lean on that experience.”

The Bears jumped out to an early lead —  just 3:44 into the game — as freshman forward Bradley Cocca zipped down the left wall before sending a feed to senior defenseman and captain Zach Giuttari. The defenseman appeared to be tied up in front of the net, but was able to redirect it off a Terrier skate and past Tucker to put Brown up 1-0.

Following Brown’s goal, the Terriers answered with strong shifts that racked up time in the attacking-zone, which created scoring chances, but Nieto held strong.

In the second half of the opening period, Skoog went to the penalty box for boarding, sending Brown to the power play. While on the power play, sophomore forward Justin Jallen fired a wrist shot from the top of the left faceoff circle that beat Tucker to the glove to put the Bears up 2-0 with 5:28 left in the first.

Just 43 seconds after Jallen’s goal, BU senior forward and assistant captain Patrick Harper sent a no-look pass to freshman forward Trevor Zegras, who was parked at the bottom of the right faceoff circle. Zegras roofed a shot over Nieto’s blocker to pull the Terriers within one. Harper’s assist marked his 100th point as a Terrier, making him the 84th skater to reach the milestone in the program’s history.

O’Connell said he thought Harper could have had three or four goals in the game.

“He’s one of the better offensive players in the East, maybe the country,” O’Connell said. “We’re excited that he’s grown into being a leader.”

The Terriers had two power-play opportunities to close out the first period, but squandered both as BU got only a combined two shots off between both power plays to end the opening period of play.

Just under seven minutes into the second stanza, junior defenseman Kasper Kotkansalo was called for interference, sending BU back to the penalty kill. Shortly after, sophomore forward Matthew Quercia took a tripping penalty, giving the Bears approximately a minute of five-on-three time. While on the penalty kill, Tucker came up with a huge save, dropping into the splits to deny Brown sophomore forward Michael Maloney’s rebound chance right on the doorstep.

After the Terriers successfully killed both penalties, Zegras collected a turnover in the defensive zone and turned defense into offense, leading the rush up the ice before feeding junior defenseman David Farrance. Farrance settled the puck and sent a fluttering wrister towards the goal, which deflected in off a Brown defender to tie the game at 2-2, which remained tied heading into the third period. The goal was Farrance’s 11th tally of the season, which leads all Division I defenseman.

Both teams had multiple opportunities to take a third period lead, but both defenses held strong.

As the latter half of the third period drew on, both sides traded chances. However, the two goaltenders were able to stop every attempt that came their way in the third, highlighted by Tucker’s game-saving play right in front of the crease with 58 seconds remaining in regulation, sending the game to overtime.

Early in the extra period, freshman forward Sam Stevens took a holding penalty, sending BU to the penalty kill at a critical juncture of the game. However, the Bears were unable to capitalize on the power play opportunity. 

With 2:21 left in overtime, freshman forward Ethan Phillips led the rush for the Terriers before leaving a drop-pass for freshman forward Robert Mastrosimone, who sent a shot towards Nieto. The Brown netminder was unable to control the rebound as Phillips collected the puck and sent a cross-ice feed to Skoog, who slammed the puck into the cage to win the game for the Terriers.

Skoog, one of two new additions for the Terriers, said it was a good feeling to see his shot go into the back of the net.

“I’m happy I could have such an impact in the first game, and it’s good to get the overtime win,” Skoog said.

Zegras echoed Skoog’s sentiment, saying it was awesome to see a new teammate earn the game-deciding tally.

“Everyone was just yelling ‘Skoog!’” Zegras said. “I heard it in the crowd, too. It’s good to get the new guy in there, so he’ll be a little more comfortable now.”

The Terriers move on to face Dartmouth on the road Saturday. Puck-drop is slated for 8:00 p.m.

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