Courtesy Vermont Sports Information
BOSTON, Mass. – Two goals were all that Boston University needed as it blanked the Catamounts in the penultimate Hockey East regular season game on Friday night at Agganis Arena.
Stefanos Lekkas stopped 33 shots in the loss that saw UVM drop to 9-18-6 (6-12-5 HEA). Jake Oettinger also tallied 33 saves in the shutout effort as the Terriers improved to 17-13-3 (12-8-3 HEA) and clinched the 4-seed in the postseason.
Vermont remains ninth and needs a win on Saturday night against BU and a Providence win over UMass to clinch the eighth and final home-ice playoff spot.
BU opened the scoring near the six-minute mark of the first period on a power play goal from Drew Melanson. Jordan Greenway took his time in the low right circle before picking out the stick of Melanson, who battled for inside position at the top of the crease.
The Catamounts earned two power play opportunities after BU’s early goal, but were unable to capitalize on the man-advantage.
In the second period, Vermont got its share of chances, most notably Conor O’Neil’s attempt. The junior got the puck in the corner and wheeled around the top of the circle before lowering his shoulder and driving past a Terriers’ defender, but Oettinger turned the backhand aside.
Boston University eventually added to its lead with 2:55 left in the middle frame on David Farrance’s first career goal. The freshman forward skated onto the puck on the left wing and snapped a shot that deflected off a UVM stick over the shoulder of Lekkas from below the dot.
Vermont went on the offensive in the early minutes of the third period and nearly cut the lead on what would have been Bryce Misley’s first collegiate goal. Anthony Petruzzelli deflected the puck on goal and Misley poked it through as Oettinger tried to cover, but the whistle had blown before the puck crossed the line.
The Terriers came close to extending the lead in the final minutes when Shane Bowers wristed a shot from the low slot that was stopped by Lekkas. A flurry of shots a minute later from Bowers and Bobo Carpenter were also turned away as the Catamounts remained within striking distance of BU.
UVM pulled Lekkas with less than two minutes remaining to bring on the extra attacker, but it was unsuccessful getting the puck past the Terriers’ sophomore netminder.
The Catamounts return to action on Saturday (Feb. 24) in the final regular season contest at 7 p.m. against Boston University.