The Boston University men’s hockey team (11-10-3, 7-6-3 HE) was back at Agganis Arena Saturday afternoon for the second game of its series against the University of Vermont (4-15-2, 3-8-2 HE). The matinee matchup resulted in a 4-0 win and the first collegiate shutout for sophomore netminder Drew Commesso, following a 2-1 overtime loss to the Catamounts at home on Friday night.
“We did a lot of things better tonight. We had a lot more urgency to our game,” head coach Albie O’Connell said postgame. “First shift of the game, with our leaders out there, they kind of set the tone for the game from a physicality standpoint.”
O’Connell made a few lineup changes for Saturday’s competition after some lackluster play from portions of the roster Friday night. Sophomore forward Dylan Peterson and junior forward Jamie Armstrong were both snubbed from the fourth line and replaced with junior forward Sam Stevens and freshman forward Brian Carrabes.
Freshman forward Tristan Amonte took Stevens’ place as the extra skater and junior forward Ethan Phillips traded first line spots with graduate student forward Max Kaufman, who skated on the third line.
“We thought [Phillips] could give a little bit of a dynamic skating quality to that line. Whatever line he’s been on he’s really helped,” O’Connell said.
Commesso remained in net for the second competition, posting 35 saves to record the shutout.
“It’s obviously great getting a shutout. I feel like the last few weekends we’ve been really close, but at the same time it’s a team effort,” Commesso said postgame. “The shutout is nice, but I really care about getting the win.”
BU got on the board first and early with a tip-in goal from Stevens. The original snapshot came from Carrabes above the left faceoff circle, and Stevens was able to get some wood on it to give the Terriers a 1-0 lead at 2:48, and notch his fourth goal of the season.
O’Connell praised the performance of the fourth line on Saturday.
“You can call it our fourth line but they were one of our best lines tonight,” he said.
Vermont looked for the equalizer on the power play after BU junior forward Jay O’Brien was dealt two minutes for holding at 12:40. BU put together a strong penalty kill and limited Catamount’s chances, protecting their one goal advantage.
The opening period ended with the two teams tied 9-9 in shots on goal –– a much more even ratio than the previous game. The Terriers put forth an extra hustle throughout the first 20 minutes, jumping on loose pucks and having an intentionality to their actions.
Both groups had chances on the man-advantage throughout the second period, but the Terriers didn’t strike until seconds after getting back to even strength on a Phillips goal.
Using his patience to pull sophomore goaltender Gabe Carriere out of the crease, freshman defenseman Ty Gallagher dropped the puck to a wide open Phillips in front of the net, who made the game 2-0 at 15:24.
“Gally just has ice water-in-his-veins poise,” O’Connell said. “That was a huge, huge goal.”
Doubling their lead late in the second period was an important turning point for the Terriers, who swayed the momentum going into the final 20 minutes of play.
BU got two more tallies on the board before the buzzer at the end of the third. Junior forward Robert Mastrosimone had a highlight reel breakaway rush at 2:07 to advance his squad’s advantage to 3-0. Hustling through a Vermont defenseman at the blueline, and then deking Carriere, Mastrosimone garnered his second goal of the weekend.
Phillips secured a two-goal performance with a confident play, scoring in front of family and friends for the first time. Picking up a lobbed cross-zone pass from O’Brien, Phillips lifted and flipped the puck over the goaltender’s shoulder, reaching the night’s final 4-0 score.
“With the time I spent out, I had a lot of time to think about the type of player I wanted to be when I came back,” Phillips said postgame. “Playing to my strengths, using my skating, if I can bring that every night I think that’s the biggest part of my game.”
The Terriers have a quick turnaround this week as they’re headed to Amherst on Tuesday for a 7:00pm matchup against the University of Massachusetts Amherst.