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Terriers show some bark, blast past Western Michigan in NCAA tourney opener

It was predicted to be a shootout, but the Broncos didn't bring enough ammo, as Boston University's brother act of Lane and Quinn Hutson got the Terriers to within a game of the Frozen Four.

Boston University senior defenseman Domenick Fensore (23) works the puck against Western Michigan on Thursday, March 23, 2023 in an NCAA regional game at SNHU Arena, Manchester, N.H.
Contributed / Rick Wilson Photography

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Back in the NCAA tournament after a one-year absence under first-year head coach Jay Pandolfo, the Boston University Terriers made an emphatic re-introduction to the college hockey world. A trio of second-period goals opened up a commanding lead, and BU moved to within a game of the Frozen Four via a 5-1 victory on Thursday over Western Michigan in the first game of the Manchester regional.

Brothers Lane and Quinn Hutson each had a goal for the Terriers (28-10-0) who will face the Denver-Cornell winner for a trip to Tampa on Saturday. BU goalie Drew Commesso had 24 saves in the win.

Western Michigan, which finishes the season at 23-15-1, was back in the tournament for the second consecutive season, having advanced to the Worcester regional final a year ago, after the program’s first-ever NCAA tournament win.

The Broncos, who finished second in the NCHC regular season but were upset by Colorado College in the opening round of the conference playoffs, got Jason Polin’s 30th goal of the season, but endured a rough first period in which an apparent Hugh Larkin goal was reviewed and overturned for goalie interference, and Max Sasson clanked the pipe with a backhander that appeared headed for the net.

Boston University senior forward Matt Brown (37) works the puck in against Western Michigan goaltender Cameron Rowe on Thursday, March 23, 2023 in an NCAA regional game at SNHU Arena, Manchester, N.H.
Contributed / Rick Wilson Photography

“I’d just love once to be in a big game where we score a big goal that doesn’t get called back. We’ve had a little history of that here,” Broncos coach Pat Ferschweiler said. “Obviously we thought it was a good goal.”


Instead, the Terriers built a 3-0 lead before Western Michigan could get a puck past Commesso.

“We went in knowing they had a great offense. The game plan was to shut their top line down. I give our players a ton of credit, they let me see the puck,” said Commesso. “A lot of times when they are moving guys out of the way it lets me see the puck. It allows for fewer rebounds and our D were great tonight, talking to me all night, forwards were blocking a lot of shots, D were blocking a lot of shots. Overall, a great team effort, they let me see the puck and do my job.”

Polin, whose 30 goals lead all of college hockey, tapped a saucer pass from Ryan McAllister out of the air for Western’s only highlight of the afternoon. Lane Hutson, who was named MVP of the Hockey East tournament and the conference’s rookie of the year, started things with a pretty play to give BU a lead after 20 minutes, and they quickly built on it in the middle frame.

“We had some chances in there too,” Ferschweiler said. “I thought it was a game of them making the plays when the opportunity was there and maybe us not.”

Pandolfo, a former Terriers forward, praised his team for playing with poise in the first NCAA experience for several of his players – especially the Hutson brothers.

“They have been good for us all season long. I don’t know what the number is but combined I think that they have 12 or 13 game winning goals for us. They score in big moments,” Pandolfo said. “They both want the puck on their stick. Obviously two different positions but you know Quinn is a goal scorer, he gets the puck in the slot and it’s a good chance it’s going into the net. Obviously Lane drives offense and he’s got a sneaky shot and he finds a way at a certain time to come up big and it’s credit to him.”

Boston University freshman forward Ryan Greene (9) awaits play Thursday, March 23, 2023 in an NCAA regional game against Western Michigan at SNHU Arena, Manchester, N.H.
Contributed / Rick Wilson Photography

The Terriers will be seeking their first trip to the Frozen Four since 2015 in Boston, where they were the heavily-favored “home” team under current San Jose Sharks coach David Quinn, but fell to Providence in the title game. They won their most recent of their five NCAA titles in 2009 in Washington, D.C.

Boston University 5, Western Michigan 1

Boston University 1-3-1—5


Western Michigan 0-1-0—1

First period — 1. BU, Lane Hutson 15 (Jay O’Brien, Ehtan Phillips), 15:24. Penalties — None.

Second period — 2. BU, Quinn Hutson 15 (Domenick Fensore, Luke Tuch), 8:52. 3. BU, Matt Brown 16 (Phillips), 10:20. 4. WM, Jason Polin 30 (Ryan McAllister, Tim Wasche), 12:27. 5. BU, Wilmer Skoog 15 (Jeremy Wilmer), 17:16. Penalties — O’Brien, BU (holding), 0:30; Polin, WM (cross checking), 0:30; Q. Hutson, BU (tripping), 2:36.

Third period — 6. BU, Phillips 3 (unassisted), 17:34, (EN). Penalties — Luke Grainger, WM (goaltender interference), 1:01; Aidan Fulp, WM (slashing), 2:07; Chad Hildebrand, WM (cross checking), 6:11, Cade Webber, BU (holding), 6:11, Devin Kaplan, BU (indirect contact to the head), 10:57.

Shots on goal — BU 8-14-6—28; WM 9-6-10—25. Goalies — Drew Commesso, BU (25 shots-24 saves); Cameron Rowe, WM (28-23). Power plays — BU 0-of-4, WM 0-of-4. Referees — Scott Roth, Mike Forys. Linesmen — Tyler Landman, Nathan Voll. Att. — NA.

Jess Myers covers college hockey, as well as outdoors, general sports and travel, for The Rink Live and the Forum Communications family of publications. He came to FCC in 2018 after three decades of covering sports as a freelancer for a variety of publications, while working full time in politics and media relations. A native of Warroad, Minn. (the real Hockeytown USA), Myers has a degree in journalism/communications from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He lives in the Twin Cities. Contact Jess via email at jrmyers@forumcomm.com, or find him on Twitter via @JessRMyers. English speaker.
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