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Freshman Lane Hutson scores Boston University another Hockey East championship with overtime goal

As the puck settles into the back of the net behind Merrimack goalie Hugo Ollas on freshman Lane Hutson's game-winning goal in overtime, BU senior Matt Brown starts the celebration.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

As an incoming freshman joining a veteran-laden team, Lane Hutson was just looking to help the Boston University men’s hockey team any way he could.

The defenseman has certainly done that for the Terriers, leading Hockey East in points en route to finishing as a finalist for player of the year and winning rookie of the year honors.

Hutson’s spectacular season continued Saturday night when he scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner at 1:57 of overtime to give BU its 10th conference tournament title with a 3-2 win over Merrimack.

“I believe we’ve got a great group here, great coaches,” said Hutson. “It’s honestly been pretty easy on me. I’m just kind of playing my game.”


Hutson scored the game-winner when he sent in a wrister from inside the blue line that sailed past Merrimack goalie Hugo Ollas.

The Terriers (27-10-0) will find out where they are headed for the NCAA Tournament Sunday night. A No. 2 seed in the Manchester regional appears likely.

Merrimack (23-13-1) was not only looking for its first conference championship, but a trip to the NCAA tournament as well. With the loss, the Warriors were forced to wait out the rest of Saturday night’s results. St. Cloud State’s 3-0 win over Colorado College came as good news for Merrimack’s tourney hopes.

BU got a boost before the game with an appearance by Case McCarthy. The senior suffered a broken collarbone in Friday’s semifinal win over Providence. He was knocked into the boards in the third period and had to be stretchered off the ice. The defenseman read the starting lineup for the title game to his teammates.

“To have him back here was huge,” said Terriers coach Jay Pandolfo. “I think that was important for our guys to see that he’s OK.”

BU never led in regulation all weekend, rallying to defeat Providence in overtime in the semifinals, then turning the trick again against Merrimack.


With his team trailing, 2-1, Devin Kaplan drew the Terriers even at 9:02 of the third period. The freshman carried the puck across the zone from left to right before firing a shot above Ollas’s right pad to knot the score at 2-2.

Neither team was able to connect in the remaining 10:58 of regulation, and the conference championship went to overtime for the second year in a row.

Merrimack (23-13-1) took a 2-1 lead into the final 20 minutes after senior Mac Welsher scored at 15:09 of the second period. Tristan Crozier won a faceoff and sent the puck back between his legs to Welsher, who one-timed it past BU goalie Drew Commesso (23 saves), blocker side.

The Terriers had a pair of good looks in the final minute of the period, but Ollas (27 saves) stopped shots by senior Sam Stevens and sophomore Ty Gallagher with his right pad to keep the Warriors in front.

Junior Christian Felton staked the Warriors to an early lead with a shorthanded goal at 6:57 of the first period, tipping a pass from senior Ben Brar to beat Commesso five-hole. It was the first shorthanded goal in a Hockey East title game since 2001.

Brar skated the puck along the boards on the right side and sent it to the middle, where Felton was able to redirect it for his second goal of the season. The early lead appeared to be a good omen for Merrimack, which entered the game with a 17-2 record when scoring first.


BU freshman Jeremy Wilmer was whistled for slashing on the play, and Merrimack nearly extended the lead when freshman Zach Brookman took a feed from Will Calverley and went in on a breakaway, but Commesso was able to make the stop to keep the Terriers down by only a goal.

The 1-0 Merrimack lead held into the first intermission. The Terriers, who held a 10-9 advantage in shots, carried a five-on-three power play into the second after Mike Brown was whistled for slashing at 19:21 of the first and Brar went off for interference at 19:31.

BU was able to take advantage 38 seconds into the second period when Hutson beat Ollas. With the Terriers still on the two-man advantage, senior Domenick Fensore sent a pass over to the freshman, who one-timed it from the circle for the equalizer.

The Terriers played without senior forward Wilmer Skoog, who was suspended for his hit from behind on Providence defenseman Cam McDonald Friday. Skoog was whistled for boarding and served a two-minute penalty. Providence coach Nate Leaman said after the game that McDonald broke his hand on the play.

Follow Andrew Mahoney on Twitter @GlobeMahoney.