Connor LaCouvee notches 31 saves for BU men’s hockey in collegiate debut

AMHERST — For a freshman who found out just six hours prior to game time that he was starting, Boston University goaltender Connor LaCouvee wasn’t nervous.

He said so himself, and he certainly looked like it, too.

“I was excited, I wasn’t really nervous or anything. … It’s just hockey, right?” LaCouvee said after the game. “Obviously it’s a big game, but at the end of the day it’s a hockey game. I’m excited for it. I’m not gonna be nervous. I think you’ve got to just put it in perspective, right? You’ve gotta play the game, it’s just like every other game.”

LaCouvee, in his first collegiate start, anchored BU (1-0, 1-0 Hockey East) to its first victory of the season with a 31-save performance during the Terriers’ 8-1 win over the University of Massachusetts-Amherst Friday evening at Mullins Center.

BU starting goaltender Matt O’Connor went down with an injury during a Thursday practice, and coach David Quinn was unsure until earlier Friday afternoon who would be starting. It was LaCouvee, a 20-year-old freshman out of Qualicum Beach, British Columbia, who got the call. A wake-up call, if you will.

“I found out after my nap,” a beaming LaCouvee said. “It was an exciting feeling.”

LaCouvee tallied nine saves each in both the first and second period, and the only goal he surrendered to UMass (0-1, 0-1 Hockey East) came late in the second period, off a goal from freshman Jake Horton on a shot right from the slot that went high blocker side — which Quinn deemed an “NHL goal.”

“He was where he should’ve been — there’s not a goalie around that would have stopped that,” Quinn said. “That was a great shot, a great play by UMass and it changed the complexion of the game. If we go into the period 2-0, they don’t have a lot of momentum or a lot of life and all of the sudden, they’re feeling good about themselves, our guys are a little down, and I thought we responded.

After the Terriers took a 5-1 lead early in the third, Quinn thought his team played in a “sloppy” fashion. But LaCouvee kept BU’s hefty lead intact, denying a number of Minuteman shots with 13 saves in the third period.

LaCouvee’s teammates added another three goals in the remainder of the game, and he got to enjoy the comfortable lead from the other end of the ice.

“[It was] wonderful. Those guys, it’s tough in practice, because you’re getting those type of goals scored on you, and you’re obviously upset,” LaCouvee said. “But it just speaks to that type of player and really skilled team.”

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