NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – When Dante wrote his literally classic, Inferno, as most know the title and main theme of the book referenced Hades.
On Friday, a very different Dante, Boston University defenseman Dante Fabbro, created his own version of Hades for the Merrimack Warriors.
Fabbro notched his first collegiate hat trick, including the game-winning goal with 4:27 remaining in regulation, as the Terriers fought and clawed to a 4-3 road victory in front of 2,549 at Lawler Rink.
The hat trick by Fabbro, the first by a Terriers defenseman since Matt Grzelyck scored a natural hat trick on January 10, 2016 against Massachusetts, caps of what has been one great month for the sophomore blueliner.
Fabbro started the month by battling through injuries to help lead Team Canada to a gold medal at the World Junior Championships in Buffalo. And after nursing himself back to health in what BU coach David Quinn called a weekend of practice “that put him at ease,” he exploded to set career marks in goals and points (three each) in a game as a Terrier.
“I had an injury at World Juniors that definitely hindered me in some aspect,” said Fabbro of his injuries. “The training staff with Team Canada did an outstanding job and coming back to BU, it’s the same treatment here. They gone above and beyond to put me in the best position to get back on the ice and play well. Definitely hats off to them.”
Fabbro’s heroics spoiled what otherwise was a yeoman’s effort by host Merrimack, which stifled BU for much of the first and was controlling play in the third before Fabbro’s game-winning marker.
“I thought we played well for large stretches,” said Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy. “We had a couple of breakdowns that ended up biting us in the derriere. I thought it was a good hockey game and I thought we played too well not to get a point.”
Merrimack jumped out to an early lead on a Brett Seney seeing-eye wrister that sneaked through the right arm of BU’s Jake Oettinger (28 saves) just 4:39 into play. Hemming BU in its defensive zone for times after that, it was actually a BU breakdown and partial breakaway in which Merrimack’s Alfred Larsson was called for charing that changed the game.
BU scored on a Fabbro power play goal at 17:07 to even the score and then popped two more goals in 70 seconds to leave the first period leading 3-1.
That gave the Terriers a boast in the middle frame, but it became another period of opposites as Merrimack notched the only goal, a Marc Biega power play tally at 17:34.
“I really thought we were sluggish in the first period yet we came out with a 3-1 lead,” said Quinn. “Then I thought we were much better in the second period and we lose it 1-0.”
Similarly, Quinn wasn’t thrilled with his team’s final frame, calling it “cautious,” and because of that Seney’s second goal of the night with 15:12 remaining knotted the game at 3.
But that just set up Fabbro’s dramatics. He said he doesn’t remember, being a blueliner, the last time he scored a hat trick.
“It was probably about four years ago in major midget,” Fabbro laughed.
But his first collegiate hat trick will not only be memorable, but give his Terriers much needed points in Hockey East play.
“With the start we had this season, the first half was nothing we wanted,” said Fabbro. “If we get off on the right foot in the second half, we can definitely put ourselves in a better position moving forward.”