Junior defensemen Dante Fabbro and Chad Krys combined for three goals and seven assists in the Boston University men’s hockey team’s 5-1 win over Merrimack College Saturday night at Agganis Arena.
“[Fabbro and Krys] offensively and defensively were very good,” BU head coach Albie O’Connell said.
It was Senior Night at Agganis Arena, as forward Ryan Cloonan, netminder Max Prawdzik, defenseman Shane Switzer, forward Max Willman and co-captain forward Bobo Carpenter were recognized in a ceremony before the game.
Saturday was especially significant for Carpenter, who made his first appearance in more than a month after being kept out for 10 games with a lower body injury.
“He’s got a smile on his face,” O’Connell said of his returning co-captain. “I hadn’t seen him smile in a while.”
Cloonan, Switzer, Willman and Carpenter would lead the Terriers (14-15-4, 12-8-3 Hockey East) into the meeting with Merrimack (7-24-3, 4-18-12 Hockey East) as starters for the opening puck drop. Prawdzik entered the game late in the third period.
The Terriers came flying out of the gates, capitalizing on the game’s first penalty with a power play goal four minutes into the period.
After seeing his stick snap on a one-timer attempt just seconds before, Fabbro would grab a new twig and immediately find the back of the net. His shot redirected off a Warrior skate and inside the far post to put BU up 1-0.
The tally came off passes from Krys and freshman forward Joel Farabee, assisting the co-captain’s seventh goal of the season.
Fabbro and Krys would factor in again for BU’s second goal later in the period. This time it was the penalty-killing unit that provided a goal for the Terriers.
Skating shorthanded 11 minutes in, sophomore forward Ty Amonte spotted a seam in the Warrior defense. Receiving the puck from Krys, Fabbro slid a pass forward to Amonte, who deked Warrior goaltender Craig Pantano and slipped the puck into a gaping net.
Making the lead 2-0, Amonte’s seventh tally of the campaign also brought BU’s shorthanded goal total to a nation-leading 10 on the season.
While unsuccessful with their two chances on the man advantage, Merrimack would find their legs in the second half of the opening frame. Forward Chase Gresock tallied five shots on target himself, carrying the visitors to a 17-7 advantage in shots on goal by the end of the period.
“We have to be willing to shoot the puck,” O’Connell said about trying to match Merrimack’s offense shot-for-shot.
BU would weather the Warrior storm, holding a 2-0 lead at the break.
With Merrimack taking another penalty three minutes into the second period, BU’s power play unit would go to work once again.
Just 20 seconds into the man advantage, co-captains Fabbro and Carpenter combined to set up Krys with time at the left circle. Taking the space given to him, Krys unleashed a laser past Pantano to provide the third-year Terrier with his sixth goal of the season, and BU with a three-goal cushion.
“The first goal was teed up for me pretty well,” Krys said. “You kind of grip it and rip it at that point.”
Merrimack clawed one back four minutes later, persisting with the pressure that would result in a 30-20 shots-on-target lead by the end of the frame.
Forward Jordan Seyfert found linemate Logan Drevitch shuffling into BU junior netminder Jake Oettinger’s right side. Firing away uncontested from the dot, Drevitch beat the keeper to the far post, reducing the Terrier lead to two with a 3-1 scoreline.
Nine minutes into the period with the Terriers again down a man, Merrimack conceded a penalty of their own. BU would get the better of the Warriors in four-on-four play.
At the 9:35 mark in the stanza, Fabbro hit an open Krys from the first draw after the Merrimack penalty. From one hand to another, Krys reached the same position he took aim from for his first tally, and the result was no different. The junior’s shot trickled through Pantano and over the goal line, boosting the Terrier lead to 4-1.
Krys’ two-goal night was the first of his career, which has seen the Connecticut native find the back of the net 16 times in his three seasons. Krys’ father Mark, who donned the scarlet and white between 1987 and 1991, only scored one goal as a Terrier.
“I scored more goals tonight than he did in his career,” Krys joked about his father.
With a back-and-forth second half of the middle period, both teams would threaten late, including a five-on-three opportunity for the Warriors. Following the night’s theme of solid special teams play, the Terrier penalty killers would get the job done.
After 40 minutes, BU were still on top 4-1.
With the power play unit firing on all cylinders through two periods, it was little surprise that BU was successful for the fourth time with an extra skater.
Three minutes into the third stanza on a Merrimack penalty, Krys tossed the puck to Fabbro, who moved it along to Farabee in the Terrier zone. The Philadelphia Flyers prospect did the rest, soaring through the Warrior defense and making a slick move to beat netminder Drew Vogler, who had taken over for Pantano in net in the middle stanza.
The goal, which brought BU’s lead to 5-1, was Farabee’s team-leading 13th tally — and the fourth assist of the night for Fabbro.
“The goal that Joel scored was a highlight reel [goal],” O’Connell said.
Killing off two penalties in the final 11 minutes, the Terriers put the finishing touches on a convincing victory. Oettinger would finish with 32 saves in just over 50 minutes between the pipes, and Prawdzik had four saves of his own after coming on in relief for the game’s final moments.
The game would conclude with BU as the 5-1 victors.
It was a 10-point night for the defensive pair of Fabbro and Krys. Both were involved in every Terrier tally, as Fabbro notched one goal and four assists while Krys knocked in two goals of his own along with three helpers.
“Our defense helped our offense tonight for sure,” O’Connell said.
Saturday’s win pushed the BU point streak to five games and kept the Terriers in the hunt for home ice in the Hockey East playoffs. With one game to play, the fifth-place Terriers now sit just one point outside the final position to host a quarterfinal matchup, which is currently occupied by UMass Lowell.
With Saturday’s results across the league, BU is confirmed to finish between third and fifth in the division.
“[The win] was definitely huge for us heading down the stretch here,” Fabbro said.
The Terriers will next travel north to Orono, Maine, to face off against the University of Maine in BU’s regular season finale next Saturday at 7:30 p.m.