(Judy Cohen also helped write this.)
CHESTNUT HILL — After a back-and-forth matchup (My recap of the game is here), the Boston University men’s hockey team eventually fell to Boston College by a score of 5-3.
We anticipated it would be, as always, an entertaining game — and we certainly got that. There were a whole lot of takeaways from that game, too, and we’ve spelled out just some of the things we liked and didn’t like below.
While the game was relatively even for the most part when the sides weren’t utilizing their special teams units, there were elements to BU’s game that did give BC an advantage. For one thing, the Eagles had a pretty easy time in transition, skating through the neutral zone with relative ease and, at times, on odd-man rushes.
The defense was tight in the first period, said senior assistant captain Matt Lane, when things like that weren’t occurring. But as the game progressed, the Terriers got “sloppy.”
“We didn’t close the gap, we gave them too much space,” Lane added. “Offensively and defensively, there was just too much space in between our forecheck and our two defenders and they were just kinda airmailing pucks there and getting some odd-man rushes.”
Quinn said that the Eagles’ success in that area during the game came from the Terriers’ “poor puck management, puck-watching and being lazy.”
Lane said BU would take measures to eliminate that from its game heading into Saturday’s contest, beginning with skating more.
“When you skate, it usually takes care of all of those things, so if our D and our forwards are skating, we’ll have better gaps,” he continued. “We’ll come up and down the ice five as a unit, and we’ll eliminate those odd-man rushes.”
One step closer to 1,000
A couple months ago, the three of us here at the Boston Hockey Blog joked about Jerry York getting his 1,000th career win against BU. How fitting would that be?
At the time, we assumed he’d have passed 1,000 wins by the time this rivalry series rolled around, but after a 1-3-1 record in December, it became pretty clear that York would have a pretty good shot at 1,000 against the Terriers.
And he got just that much closer with his 999th win on Friday. If BC wins Saturday at Agganis Arena, then that’ll do it.
York insisted after Friday’s game that the win total was just a number and that he wasn’t paying particular attention to the accolade, but it’s not like it’s an insignificant accomplishment. It makes the stakes in Saturday’s game just that much higher, and while a sweep would be bad for BU anyway, this adds that much more pressure.
While it proved to be pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of the game, sophomore defenseman Brandon Fortunato did something Friday he hadn’t done in a college game before: He took a penalty.
Yep, after going an entire season last year, and 20 games this year, without recording a penalty, he ended that streak with a tripping call 9:50 into the first period. All good things must come to an end, I guess.
Penalties and special teams in general, sort of
BU was able to capitalize on three different power plays for goals, and special teams were basically the story of the evening. Judy has more about that in her sidebar.
Though there were a bunch of things to dislike about the loss, one of the brighter spots was senior forward Ahti Oksanen getting his 100th collegiate point. The winger had 98 points coming into Friday night on 46 goals and 52 assists through 131 games.
In his 132nd, Oksanen recorded an assist on freshman center Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson’s first-period power-play goal for his 99th point and then got a power-play tally of his own in the second for his 100th.
“He’s a goal-scorer, always has been, always will be,” Lane said. “He shoots the puck, some guys like to say a little too much, but that’s his job. And I always tell him to keep shooting, and he knows he’s going to keep shooting, and that’s why he scores goals, and that’s why he’s got 100 points.”
As has become typical this season, Forsbacka Karlsson impressed during Friday night’s game. The freshman was one of three Terriers with multi-point efforts (the others being Oksanen and senior assistant captain Danny O’Regan), registering a goal in the first period and an assist in the second.
He also blocked a pair of shots and was, as usual, a large part of BU’s penalty kill. But his traits that don’t necessarily appear on the scoresheet were in full view as well, like his neutral-zone stick-lifts and overall play-making abilities.
He accounted for six of BU’s 49 total shot attempts and drew a penalty as well.
The BC and Conte Forum Experience
As some of our readers know already, we like to give props where props are due, especially when it comes to off-ice entertainment and accomplishments. And BC’s crew goes all out with its graphics and marketing. You can check out a lot of their .gifs and other graphics on their Twitter account. We especially liked this .gif with the team’s lineup.
BC’s intro video was as good as we’ve seen all year, and the mid-game hype videos were on point (anytime “Hotline Bling” is involved, we’re happy). On top of that, TD Garden organist Ron Poster was on hand at Conte for some live music to add to the experience. Overall, regardless of rooting interests, you can’t say that BC doesn’t know how to provide some great entertainment.