Pluses and Minuses: Emotions run high, Dalton MacAfee gets first point in tie with North Dakota

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff 

For the first time since the season’s opening weekend, the Boston University men’s hockey team played two games and didn’t lose either of them. The Terriers (6-6-1, 2-3 Hockey East) tied No. 14/15 University of North Dakota, 3-3, at Agganis Arena a day after taking the series opener.

The teams were quite even on the scoreboard — each squad netted one goal in each of the three periods — but North Dakota (4-6-2) held a significant shots-on-goal advantage, 58-31. Both teams had a number of chances in the five-minute overtime but none of them resulted in what would have been the game-winner.

Here’s a look at what the Terriers did and did not do well.

Pluses 

Matt O’Connor
The sophomore goaltender was the story again Saturday night, just as he was in Friday’s win.

To read more about O’Connor’s game, read Meredith’s piece here.

Power play
BU’s man-advantage got off to a rough start early but by the end of the night it was buzzing similar to the way it was Friday.

Senior captain Garrett Noonan converted on one chance in the first period when he scored from the edge of the left circle about seven minutes in — his second tally of the weekend — for the team’s only goal in seven chances.
“Our last few power plays were good, but early on it really deflated us in a lot of ways,” BU coach David Quinn said. “But I think it was a microcosm of where we were. We were always a half of a step behind early.”

The Terriers finished 3-on-14 on the power play in two games against North Dakota. 

The penalty kill was similarly successful, limiting UND to one goal in nine chances on the weekend.

The Captain
In another similarity to Friday night’s 3-1 win, Noonan seemingly took over at will on occasion, particularly when tensions were running high.

UND came out of the gates fast and chippy, but the Terriers, particularly Noonan, were able to keep their emotions in check despite getting gloves in their face multiple times.

Freshman wing Nick Roberto said that objective came from the coaches. 

“They tried getting us off our game. There was a lot of stuff after the whistle,” he said. “I thought we did a nice job not retaliating with them. Coach stressed that in between the periods, saying ‘Don’t get in this crap with them.’”

Dalton MacAfee
The freshman defenseman picked up his first collegiate point, a secondary assist on the game-tying goal from classmate Robbie Baillargeon.

Minuses

Return to the sin bin 
Quinn has done a good job of, well, convincing the Terriers to curb the number of penalties they take, but Saturday represented some regression in that category. They took eight minors for 16 minutes, their most since the season opener.

While North Dakota’s general aggression and puck possession forced some of these, a number stick out as egregious. Freshman wing Tommy Kelley committed a tripping infraction in the offensive zone while BU was on the power play in the second, and senior wing Jake Moscatel (charging) and sophomore wing Mike Moran (elbowing) wound up in the penalty box during a tight third period.

“There’s no reason for it,” Quinn said. “All of a sudden it’s slipped back into our game.” 

Before Saturday, the last time BU took more than four penalties was Oct. 26 against Michigan State.

‘Shot wide’ 
A very common phrase on the live blog, much to Quinn’s displeasure.

The Terriers shot and missed the net 24 times, and the BU bench boss estimated the hard bounces off the boards resulted in 15-20 shots for North Dakota.

“There are a lot of reasons to shoot,” Quinn said. “Obviously the first one is to score, but a lot of times you shoot a puck to create a rebound or possess it in the offensive zone. Too often we’re just shooting to score a goal, and there’s really not an opportunity to score.

“This has been a problem all year. It’s a youth hockey mentality.”