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No. 6 Boston University bests Wisconsin in home opener

Brandon Fortunato's power-play goal helped the Terriers clinch their first win of the 2015-16 season.

Sophomore defenseman Brandon Fortunato scored two points in his regular-season debut.
Sophomore defenseman Brandon Fortunato scored two points in his regular-season debut.
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

BOSTON — On most nights, a 1-for-7 showing on the man advantage rarely constitutes as a positive for any hockey club.

Such wasn’t the case for No. 6 Boston University in its home opener Saturday night.

BU’s lone special-team strike — a power-play goal from sophomore defenseman Brandon Fortunato at 9:04 in the second period — broke a 1-1 draw and paced the Terriers (1-1) to a 4-1 victory over Wisconsin.

The final showing on the Agganis Arena scoreboard did little to chart BU’s dominance against a young Badgers (0-2-2) squad, as the Terriers outshot their foe 44-18, compiling an impressive 81 shot attempts in total.

Fortunato impressed in his first regular-season contest, notching two points on the night, while a reshuffled BU second line — consisting of freshman Ryan Cloonan, senior Matt Lane and freshman Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson — combined for four points and 13 shots.

While BU was unable to capitalize on a number of scoring chances throughout the night, head coach David Quinn focused on the positives that came with his team’s tenacious approach.

"A game like that can get frustrating because you have so many chances and shots that, all of the sudden, you may start trying to do things that aren’t going to allow you to continue to play like that," Quinn said, adding: "We had 21 shots on the power play. … Again, there are going to be nights where it’s not going to go in. Tonight happened to be one of those nights."

Much as they did in their 7-4 loss to the NTDP U-18 team Friday night, the Terriers got off to an inauspicious start against their Big Ten foe.

Just 1:22 into the tilt, a swarm of Badger skaters knocked the puck into BU’s crease, with sophomore center Adam Rockwood muscling it into BU’s net to give Wisconsin the early advantage.

Despite starting at another early deficit, BU responded by firing 16 shots against freshman netminder Matt Jurusik over the first 20 minutes.

"I think we had a lot more life on the bench," Fortunato said. "I mean, we were down 1-0 for awhile, but we weren’t getting discouraged. … Last night, when they got that goal, you could hear a penny drop — no one was saying a word and we all looked deflated and dead."

"Tonight, we got scored on, but guys were picking each other up and trying to stay positive throughout the whole game and it worked."

Less than two minutes into the second period, BU finally netted the equalizer.

A blast from junior defenseman Doyle Somerby ricocheted off the end boards and right towards the stick of Lane — who promptly buried his second goal of the year to tie the game at 1-1.

The Terriers pushed ahead at 9:04 in the stanza, with Fortunato beating Jurusik with a wrister from the right circle for his second career marker — coincidently, his first BU goal also came against the Badgers in on Jan. 9, 2015.

BU’s fourth line put the game away in the third, as sophomore Chase Phelps and freshman Bobo Carpenter each lit the lamp to cap the Terriers’ scoring.

At 10:59 in the frame, Phelps redirected Fortunato’s wrister from the right circle to give the Terriers some breathing room, while Carpenter cashed in off a rebound from senior forward Mike Moran for his first collegiate score.

Sophomore goaltender Connor LaCouvee earned his first win of the season, stopping 17 of 18 shots that came his way.

The Terriers paid tribute to a successful 2014-15 season before the game — unveiling new banners to celebrate the team’s Beanpot title, Hockey East championships, Frozen Four appearance and Jack Eichel’s Hobey Baker campaign.

It might not have been a perfect outing for the Terriers, but Quinn harped on the response of his team in wake of Friday’s disappointing result against Team USA.

"After a tough performance last night for a variety of reasons, I thought we responded well. … We have grown up a lot in 24 hours.. We were much more purposeful, we did play a more mature game. It wasn’t pond hockey out there and ‘Red Rover, Red Rover, send a defenseman on over.’"