MANCHESTER, N.H. - The No. 5 Boston University men's ice hockey team had a triumphant start to the 2023 NCAA Tournament on Thursday afternoon, posting a 5-1 victory over No. 9/11 Western Michigan in the opening round of the Manchester Regional at SNHU Arena.
Five different Terriers found the back of the net to lift BU to the regional finals for the fourth time in their past six NCAA appearances. BU will face the winner of Thursday's second game between defending national champion Denver and Cornell.
Freshman Lane Hutson opened the scoring in the first period before his brother, Quinn, and senior Matt Brown scored 88 seconds apart in the second to create a 3-0 cushion. The Broncos got on the board with 7:33 remaining in the middle period but the Terriers reestablished a three-goal lead again five minutes later when senior Wilmer Skoog found the back of the net. Senior Ethan Phillips, who had two assists, added an empty-netter late in the game to create the 5-1 final.
With his goal, Lane surpassed Brian Leetch as the highest-scoring freshman in Hockey East history. Hutson will enter Saturday's regional final with 48 points on 15 goals and 33 assists for 48 points, one better than Leetch's 47 points (9g, 38a) in 1986-87.
BU stretched its nation-best win streak to eight and now stands at 28-10-0. The Broncos end their season with a record of 23-15-1.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Broncos thought they got on the board first at 11:34 of the first frame, but the goal was correctly disallowed after video review for as a Western player crashed into Commesso on the play.
- Lane Hutson gave BU the lead with 4:36 to play in the first. Phillips was first to the puck on the forecheck, and with the help of Brown, won the puck from the Bronco defenders. Phillips then dropped the puck back to O'Brien, who then quickly dished the puck to Hutson in the slot. The Hobey finalist's wrist shot went through Cameron Rowe's five-hole and into the back of the net for the only goal of the opening 20 minutes.
- Quinn Hutson doubled the Terriers' lead at 8:52 of the second when he converted a Domenick Fensore feed during a Terrier 2-on-1.
- Brown made it 3-0 just 1:28 later. He dished it to Phillips and then positioned himself between the circles. Phillips curled away from his defender and then delivered the perfect pass to Brown for the one-timer.
- Phillips and Brown nearly connected again to push the lead to 4-0 when they had a 2-on-0, but Brown's shot sailed wide. The Broncos then went the other way and scored on a rush of their own to cut the deficit to 3-1.
- Skoog capped the second-period outburst with 2:44 to play when freshman Jeremy Wilmer found him all alone in the left circle. Skoog made no mistake with his shot for his 15th goal of the season.
- The Broncos pulled Rowe in favor of an extra attacker and after being on the ice through a trio of BU icings, Phillips single-handedly potted an empty-netter to seal the victory.
- BU now has 44 all-time NCAA tournament wins.
- The Terriers are now 5-0 in NCAA regional games played at SNHU Arena.
- Jay Pandolfo is the third BU coach to win his NCAA Tournament debut, joining Harry Cleverly and David Quinn.
- The Terriers held a 28-25 advantage in shots.
- The Hutson brothers have scored the last three game-winning goals, with Quinn winning the Hockey East semifinal in overtime and Lane lighting the lamp in overtime of the league title game.
- Quinn has scored six goals during the Terriers' eight-game win streak.
- Both teams went 0-for-2 on the power play.
- BU had 15 blocked shots and junior Cade Webber recorded a game-high five.
- Phillips and Lane Hutson each posted a plus-3 rating.
- The Terriers are now one win away from the Frozen Four and will face either No. 4 Denver or No. 12 Cornell in Saturday's regional final.
- Game time is set for 4 p.m. and the contest will be televised on ESPNU.