The Boston University men’s hockey team’s power play has picked up.
Just in time for the bulk of the Hockey East schedule, the Terriers (3-4-1, 3-2-1 Hockey East) man-up unit has returned to form.
After being held scoreless on eight consecutive power plays, BU flipped the switch in the second period on Friday night at Agganis Arena. All three of its goals in a thrilling 3-2 victory over Maine came with the man advantage.
“It’s just puck movement and working off each other,” senior forward and co-captain Bobo Carpenter said. “That’s something we were fighting with, and now that we got the feel for that, it feels pretty good getting those goals.”
The Terriers also failed to score on their first five power play chances in both games against Northeastern University two weekends ago.
After BU struck out on their first three extra-skater looks against Maine, the crowd rolled its eyes, but fans in attendance for this one saw the culmination of a well-oiled man-up machine.
It was especially apparent in the final three minutes of the second period, BU head coach Albie O’Connell said.
“The pace of it picked up,” O’Connell said. “We stopped dropping it on the breakout.”
In this critical juncture, a dormant Terriers offense received a shot of adrenaline. The Black Bears messed with the penalty box one too many times, and BU finally made them pay after their previous three unsuccessful attempts.
In the first sequence, it seemed as though the Terriers had a 5-on-2 advantage instead of the actual 5-on-4.
Junior defensemen pairing Chad Krys and Dante Fabbro stretched the ice, making it difficult for the Maine penalty kill to keep tabs on every Terrier in the offensive zone.
Krys sauced it across to Fabbro who ripped it off the right blocker of Black Bears goaltender Jeremy Swayman.
Carpenter was licking his chops the entire time.
When the rebound caromed off of Swayman, the North Reading product sprung into action. He jumped out from behind a Maine defenseman on the right slot and ripped the puck into the back of the net for his fifth goal of the season.
The goal was Carpenter’s third in the last four games and his fifth point in that time span.
His goals this season have come at crucial moments, including a go-ahead goal in the third period at Matthews Arena on Nov. 1 that enabled the Terriers to force a 5-5 tie on the road against Northeastern (7-3-1, 4-1-1 Hockey East).
“We won a couple faceoffs,” O’Connell said. “We won a couple battles in the corners so we got possession. We did a good job getting possession.”
Thirty-three seconds later, Maine went at it again as junior forward Tim Doherty made his way to the box for interference.
The heads of the Black Bears rolled when they saw the Terriers premiere power play line of Carpenter, sophomore forward Shane Bowers and freshman Joel Farabee skate onto the ice.
This same unit converted on the opportunity just as they had moments earlier.
An identical tandem of defenseman, Krys and Fabbro, facilitated the offensive possession and found Farabee in a lucrative spot deep in the left slot.
With Carpenter positioned on the right side of Swayman and Bowers cutting to the net from the middle of the offensive zone, it was almost a guarantee the Terriers were going to pot another one.
The only surprising part is Farabee didn’t even have to pass the puck.
Despite shooting from a poor angle, he ripped it towards Swayman’s weak side. Overwhelmed by the traffic around the net, Swayman was unable to corral the puck as it ricocheted in for second collegiate goal for the future Philadelphia Flyer.
“When Farabee scored, the pace of that was one of the best we’ve had all year,” O’Connell said. “The goalie was tired because we were swinging it.”
BU wasn’t done there. With the game hanging in the balance tied at two goals apiece, the Terriers tacked on one last power play tally.
When senior defenseman Sam Becker went to the penalty box for tripping Bowers on a breakaway with 1:48 left, Maine knew it was done, according to Black Bears head coach Red Gendron.
“Three power play goals,” Gendron said. “They executed on the power play better than we did. That is the difference in the game.”
After corralling a pass from junior forward Patrick Harper at the top of the offensive zone, sophomore defenseman David Farrance had all day to release a quality shot.
He took full advantage, roping a blazing shot from the point over Swayman’s shoulder to seal the Terriers third conference win.
“It was kind of a mixed-up power play goal at the end,” Farrance said. “We won a battle off the wall, and then Harper made a nice pass out to me, and I just had to find a way through the second layer. Tried to hit the net.”