Pluses and Minuses: No. 4 BC nets late goal, No. 10 Terriers settle for tie

PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

David Quinn said it was typical of a Boston University-Boston College game. Jerry York said it capped off a “good college hockey weekend.”

The standings will say it was a tie.

In about as evenly matched a game as you’ll see, No. 10 BU and No. 4 BC skated to a 1-1 tie in the second game of a home-and-home series.

The Terriers gained a lead midway through the second period with a goal from senior captain Matt Grzelcyk and looked poised to come away with a win, but BC forward Ryan Fitzgerald knotted things up with a bar-down strike with 2:05 left in the third period.

Back-and-forth action with a lot of chippy play made this one a fun and exciting one to watch. We’ll break down the 65 minutes in this Pluses and Minuses.

Pluses 

Oh captain my captain

Injuries have limited Grzelcyk to just 10 games this year — less than half of BU’s total number.

But that’s been really the only thing getting in the way of BU’s (11-7-4, 5-4-3 Hockey East) captain, because when he’s been on the ice, he’s been a solid force at the blue line.

With the game scoreless on Saturday night, Grzelcyk was in perfect position to redirect a shot from senior assistant captain Danny O’Regan past Thatcher Demko. It was Grzelcyk’s seventh goal of the season and 12th point in his 10 games played.

He played well on the defensive side, too, staying on his assignments and closing any gaps. Now that Grzelcyk’s getting healthier and more playing time, Quinn said he’ll continue to be a force on both ends of the ice.

“I think he’s the best defenseman in college hockey,” Quinn said, “and when you add that to your lineup, you have a whole different look and I don’t know what our record is with him but I bet it’s a lot better than without him so he makes everybody on that D corps better, he makes everybody up front better and we’re just glad to have him.”

Maguire stands tall

Not much separated senior goaltender Sean Maguire from a shutout, but a well-placed BC (15-4-3, 8-1-3, Hockey East) screen and shot ended any chance of that. But that’s not to say Maguire didn’t play well.

The senior was in good position all night, making a few terrific saves to stop BC odd-man rushes. In all, Maguire finished with 38 saves. Sarah will have more on his game in her sidebar.

Penalty kill comes through 

Less than 22 hours after a power-play goal decided Friday night’s fate, the Terriers got a chance to right the ship on the penalty kill.

Freshman forward Jordan Greenway and sophomore defenseman John MacLeod were called for successive penalties halfway through the first period, and BU was forced to kill of an extended 5-on-3. The penalty-unit came up big, as it did the other three times on the night, going 5-for-5.

It wasn’t as if BC didn’t have chances on goal (eight power-play shots), but the Terriers limited grade-A shots, and the ones that were good opportunities, Maguire was generally there to make the stops.

“I liked the fact that we backchecked a lot,” Quinn said, “we did a better job coming back and they didn’t get as much out of it as last night so baby steps and they’re a fast team, that’s the strength of their team, their speed up front and they work hard so we’re a work in progress and I thought we did a lot of good things tonight.”

Minuses 

Making it tough on Maguire 

As noted before, Maguire was on his game from start to finish. However, his defense didn’t make his life easy. BC had numerous odd-man rushes — like the 2-on-1 in the second period that forward Colin White nearly scored on — and 39 total shots.

There were sequences in the game, which York even said afterward, where both teams sort of lost their way and let the opposition get good shots at the net. It wasn’t as if this happened the whole game, but if Maguire hadn’t been playing so well, the score might have been different.

0-fer on the power play

BU’s penalty kill was good and BC’s matched up just as well.

Like the Eagles, BU had five opportunities with the man advantage but could not convert. The first two opportunities for the Terriers looked good, though they didn’t score. The problems came after those first two tries, as the Eagles made life tough in the neutral zone on BU entries.

The power play wasn’t awful, but a goal with a man up could have gone a long way.

Fortunato to the box… again

For 60 games, sophomore defenseman Brandon Fortunato never once sat in the penalty box. In back-to-back games against BC, Fortunato became much more acquainted with the sin bin.

Fortunato took his second penalty of his collegiate career on Saturday with a holding call in the second period.

“Yeah, he probably won’t dress next Friday,” Quinn said jokingly after the game. “I don’t know … the penalty he took tonight, that was a strange call, but we all make mistakes.”

12 thoughts on “Pluses and Minuses: No. 4 BC nets late goal, No. 10 Terriers settle for tie

  1. Very emotional game from this persons perspective. Unfortunate that the tying goal was scored late in the game but that’s hockey. Sean Maguire was outstanding in net. I’ll take the point.
    Chase Phelps sat in the same row as me for the entire game with his family/friends. He mentioned to me that he was a healthy scratch. Go Terriers!!!

  2. An extremely disappointing and frustrating weekend.Both games decided in the last two minutes and neither key goal favored the Terriers. Approximately two thirds of the season completed and B.U. is a mediocre 11-7-3 and even worse 5- 4-3 in Hockey East. Mired in 5th place and presently a boarder line NCA A tournament team. Certainly way below expectations,especially with all the highly recruited talent on the team. These are all facts not opinion.
    I watched the coaches press conference and saw one college professor , articulate and carefully listening and answering questions. The other remained me of Home Shopping Network pitchman trying to explain away why his product is just not as good as his biggest competitor.
    I patiently wait for all the blogs apple polishers, excuse makers and you know what kissers to attack instead of focusing on what is actually happening on the ice .

  3. No Larry. In the playoff-determining Pairwise Rankings, BU is #12. BC is #9. Of course there is still a half season plus the HE playoffs still remaining to be played, but as of now, that differential amounts to bubkas.

  4. Glenn,
    Don’t know if you saw the games this weekend but a team winning three of four points gives it a huge advantage. There are very few at large bids and if you add the automatic bids B.U is close to a bubble team. Also they are mired in fifth place in Hockey East with little or no wiggle room. I expect two tough games against a desperate Maine team. They still control their destiny but time is running out.

  5. Larry, here are two more facts:

    Matt Grzelcyk, who in my mind is our MVP and is quite possibly the best defenseman in college hockey, has missed 12 of out 22 games. We are a different team when he is playing. Don’t you think we’d have a few more Ws if he had been available for the entire season? Second, Sean Maguire, who is now playing outstanding hockey, missed all of last season. Quite naturally, he needed time to re-acclimate, and now he has. Don’t you think this has also affected our win-loss record? I think if you are going to be fair, you need to consider the entire situation.

  6. I saw Friday’s game but was at a birthday party that prohibited me from watching Saturday’s game. I am a Terrier TV subscriber and have watched the replay. A few weeks ago BC was not a bubble team … they weren’t even in the conversation. Much can happen over these next two months that will either help or hurt us.

  7. Guest
    Good points , I agree that the health of Matt is the most important factor the rest of the season. Great goaltending can turn a game around. However injuries are part of the game .No excuses for losing to the have nots of Hockey East.(UConn, Vermont at home, and Merrimack) Remember no other college had four players participate in the world junior tournament. The season is not lost but to this point it is disappointing.

  8. Glenn,
    They did not look like a bubble team the past two weekends. Unfortunately with a full roster of players B.U. let two important points slip through their fingers in the final two minutes of each game.(fact not opinion). Have you looked at the Hockey East standings? Which of the top four teams do you think B.U. will catch?

  9. college hockey today is very even. Northeastern could have easily swept BC, 3-3 which they dominated and blew a 3-1 lead in 3rd period at Matthews. Even if the terriers don’t finish top four it’s not a disaster, they have shown they can win on the road and against good opposition. The Beanpot, Hockey east tourney are very obtainable trophies for this group and they are still in good position to qualify for the NCAAs

  10. Larry, if we catch anyone it will be PC or ND. We play the latter twice at the end of the season. Regardless, I really don’t care much about that top-four business. I am looking at the bigger picture … the NCAA tournament … for which we are fine right now.

  11. Glenn,
    If they make the top four they are most likely in the NCAA tournament. If they finish 5th they must win at least the first round.When is the last time B.U beat Notre Dame?

  12. No excuses here,should have won at least one.But,as many people have pointed out,injuries to the team have been a major problem,Sean missing all of last season,(playing great now)and as someone else pointed out,The team is completely different with Grizzy on the ice and not in the stands…still plenty of Hockey,but we definitely need more W’s….

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