Pluses and Minuses: Terriers shut out in loss to No. 10 Notre Dame to close out regular season

Charlie McAvoy. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DFP FILE PHOTO
Charlie McAvoy. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DFP FILE PHOTO

SOUTH BEND, Indiana — Golden chances were there for the No. 9 Boston University men’s hockey team, but as head coach David Quinn put it, his team could not take advantage of a single one.

Call it poor luck or having the challenge of going against a sharp goaltender, either way BU (19-10-5, 12-6-4 Hockey East) could not pull this one out Saturday night, falling to No. 10 University of Notre Dame, 1-0.

Senior goaltender Sean Maguire kept BU in it for most of the night, but his opposer, sophomore Cal Petersen, made 39 saves to preserve the Notre Dame (19-8-7, 15-5-2 Hockey East) shutout.

Freshman Dylan Malmquist provided the only offense needed with a power-play goal at the 11:47 mark of the second period.

BU’s loss, in conjunction with No. 11 University of Massachusetts Lowell’s win over No. 2 Boston College, means the Terriers slipped to the No. 5 seed in Hockey East, so there will be no first-round bye in the cards.

We’ll take a look at the bad and the good in our breakdown from Compton Family Ice Arena:

Minuses 

Opportunity knocks, no answer 

BU had the chance to clinch the third or fourth seeds in the conference playoffs under a few scenarios, the easiest of them being a win or tie against the Fighting Irish.

But, as I’m sure you’ve read up to this point, BU did neither of those in its regular-season finale. Instead of getting a first-round bye and home ice in the quarterfinals, the Terriers will play host in the first round and have to travel to a road site in the quarterfinals, if they advance out of the opening series.

The silver lining in this? BU will host 12th-seeded University of Massachusetts Amherst, a team BU has defeated four times in as many games the last two seasons, outscoring the Minutemen (8-22-4, 2-16-4 Hockey East) by a combined score of 30-11.

“Obviously you’re hoping to get a point tonight, allow yourself to get a bye, but didn’t happen and, as a I told our guys, ‘You’re hockey players, you get to play more hockey,'” Quinn said. “That’s how you got to look at it. Right? Obviously lick our wounds from tonight, they can feel sorry for themselves for the next 24 hours, but you get to play more hockey. That’s how you got to look at it.

“It’s an opportunity to get better, it’s playoff time, it’s the best time of year.”

Sarah takes a look at the playoffs in her sidebar.

Can’t get it by Cal

Before Saturday, Petersen had 15 games this season in which he stopped at least 30 shots. Make that 16 now.

Whether it was the glove, pads or blocker, Petersen made some terrific saves all night, and Friday for that matter, too.

At times, BU was hemmed in its own zone and couldn’t get any offense going toward net, but especially toward the end of the game, the shots came in and Petersen was there for each one.

“It’s frustrating, I thought we had some good chances,” said senior assistant captain Matt Lane, who registered one shot on net. “I thought at times we could have challenged a little more, but he’s a great goaltender and he was on his game tonight.”

Power play ineffective

This has been a recurring theme in this section of our articles, so we’ll try and keep this part brief.

At times in this game during BU’s power play, it was difficult to even see that the Terriers even had an extra man on the ice. There were a lot of passes in the neutral zone (sloppy ones at that) and not a whole lot of shooting on net. All three man advantages came in the second period, and at least on the first one, BU did next to nothing.

On those three power plays, BU totaled four shots, and it wasn’t as if Petersen was pressured in any of these particular instances.

More than one thing attributed to the lack of success, Quinn said.

“Just, we lost a lot of battles,” Quinn said. “Sometimes what can happen on a power play is you lose sight of the fact that you’ve got to play hockey within a power play. Go here, do this, do that, and you’ve got to play hockey within the power play and I think when we’re not effective on our power play, we don’t play hockey within our power play. We go to our spots.

“I just thought we lost some one-on-one battles, I thought we were a little inept coming up ice, and it cost you.”

Pluses 

Maguire hangs in, shots come late 

BU’s senior goaltender didn’t face a tremendous number of shots through two periods (13), but he saw a lot of action his way in the early stages of the third.

Notre Dame pressed for a game-breaking goal, but Maguire hung in there, making 15 saves on 15 chances. Quinn said Maguire did all of the things he’s been doing all season to be successful in this one.

And while the Terriers could not make their final push come to fruition, it wasn’t for a lack of effort. There was almost nothing going on in the Fighting Irish zone in the opening minutes of the third, but around the halfway point, BU made a rush to get the score even. BU had 13 shots and goal and attempted 24, including one in which senior assistant captain Danny O’Regan was denied on in the final five minutes.

McAvoy’s big hit 

Freshman defenseman Charlie McAvoy has been on the top pair for most of this season, bringing an offensive element to the game any time he’s on the ice.

But tonight, we’ll give him a plus for the crushing hit he put on forward Connor Hurley late in the first period.

That’s an impressive use of the body that we haven’t seen all that often from the freshman.

24 thoughts on “Pluses and Minuses: Terriers shut out in loss to No. 10 Notre Dame to close out regular season

  1. I am afraid that last night’s game is the coup de grace on the season. To defeat Lowell twice there is a task we can not perform as much as I like this team. Going back to the Championship game last year, the ties to Providence, the tie with BC, the Beanpot, we can’s get that one goal. I believe that one of the reasons is that we don’t have ANY natural goal scorers. Time and time again we see this team and especially last night, get position on the goalie and just push the puck right at him. We NEVER deke out the goalie, EVER. Only natural goal scores have this ability and we have none. That does not mean we can not win but makes it very hard to do so.

  2. Two of our top six forwards have 0 goals in the month of FEB and another has 1. Lets hope they can find themselves in MARCH.

  3. Guest 1:
    We will play UMass Amherst in the first round but if we get by them we will play UMass Lowell in the second round.

  4. A good effort with a poor result. Certainly not the season that anyone expected, considering the elite talent level. By bye is tough to accept but reality has to set in that the A plus talent yielded C plus results.
    The good news is that a long playoff run is still a possibility. However there are many stumbling blocks to overcome. UMass has nothing to lose and if B.U. is still sulking after this week then the season will end a lot sooner than expected. If they move on they play a tough as nails team that seldom loses at home. Not impossible but certainly the underdog.
    If the reach the garden then most likely B.U is in the tournament. If not in my opinion they don’t deserve to be in but might have an outside shot. Not a pretty picture but reality.
    Someone please check lost and found at Agganis and look for a power play that was last seen mid January.

  5. and the worse thing is if we beat these stiffs from umass twice, and hopefully don’t rack up any injuries, we go down in the power rankings. that is the ultimate kick in the teeth. and then we play lowell. i think they showed after they manhandled us and clearly beat BC, that tsongas arena is a house of horrors for any opposition

    maybe greenway can play on both the first and second lines. i have really grown to appreciate his game. love watching him create space. the second line is non- descript

    i thought we played great this weekend too. Peterson was a beast last night. tip of the cap to him

    imagine if we had mcguire playing like this last year. no fly ball goals

    JFK looks lost. if i hear one more time the comparison to Patrice Bergeron…..

    well as Quinny said to the team, “you’re hockey players, so you get to play two extra games”. talk about finding a silver lining in a dark cloud

    • Vincent
      I feel your frustration and disappointment. There is no sllver lining playing UMass in a half filled arena with the students on spring break. I hope it is not a trap game.
      Nobody to blame but themselves. If they had beaten a few of the have nots of Hockey East earlier in the year (Vermont, Merrimack, UConn) they would have finished at least fourth. Team underachieved in the regular season but still have a chance to change that perception by making a strong playoff run. An NCAA tournament appearance is still a real possibility.

      • Larry, while a win against any of those opponents would have indeed done the trick, I would say that the February 19th tie against UNH is the game that really made this all happen. Those three games you mentioned were last semester and the team hadn’t really hit its stride (especially Maguire). We came back and took the lead over the Wildcats that night … and only had to hold the lead a few minutes … but it was not to be. That, to me, was the game to which I look back with the most regret … by far. Anyway, we have a clean slate now and control our own destiny. Positive thoughts and wishes for BU Hockey to go far this spring!

        • Glenn,
          I agree with you! The UNH game felt like a loss. Three mental mistakes on one play after taking the lead moments earlier is inexcusable! Especially at this level. A bad turn over, nobody blocked the shot and the defenseman never lifted the opposing players stick.

  6. That was a tough loss combined with the Lowell win over BC….OUCH!
    The boys looked good out there but just couldn’t get the job done. I agree Walter, goals at certain times are VERY hard to come by with this group. I find myself grumbling when they constantly shoot directly at the goalie. Well, onto Amherst….hopefully 2 and done!!

  7. Larry,
    On paper, what you say sounds good, but given this team’s offensive woes, I am dubious of any strong playoff run. Hope you are right

    And I agree, they have no one to blame but themselves. you gotta beat the bottom feeders. to win playoff tournaments, half the battle is setting yourself up in favorable position by earning home ice and then playing lower seeds. they will have to play out of their mind hockey to make the ncaa’s. if they beat umass (and it has to be two straight) and then lose to lowell, it will be time to get out the golf clubs

  8. I agree with Walter above as to the ability to score goals. This is a hard working team but don’t have the natural scorers. Getting two wins at Lowell would be harder that winning two in the Garden I would think. I bet there will be less than 1000 at the games this weekend. Stupid format for sure.

  9. Looking a bit wistfully at the 33 points Max Letunov put up with a mediocre UCONN team. Could he have produced 50 points at BU?
    Sure could have used it this season.

  10. The lack of offensive production the last 3 weeks is a red flag. The 2nd line (and Lane in particular) has gone cold. Cloonan still hasn’t scored since 1st half of the season. This puts too much pressure on the top line & Ahti to score.

    One thing they haven’t done as much of, or at least have been consistent about this season, is going to the net hard. Last year I felt they were constantly attacking the net area with speed and there was a consistent net-front presence in many scoring opportunities. They’re hanging out a bit much along the periphery and not getting as many 2nd/3rd chances that are often needed to score goals.

    Now that we’re in the postseason there’s little/no margin for any goal scoring droughts. Even with Maguire playing great they need to consistently score 3+ each game. I’m not particularly concerned about it this weekend, but assuming they take care of UMASS and advance, the lack of offense will be problematic as they face better competition.

  11. Can someone please explain Pairwise to me?
    We are tied for 9th and I get if you beat weaker teams it doesn’t count as much but why wouldn’t BU make the NCAA? Don’t the Top 16 make it? If we beat Umass we go down that much?

  12. Yes, Friend of BU Hockey. That one player could have made the difference. Saw Bellows last night for U 18 and he looks like the player who could have made us better vis a vis pure goal scoring. Wonder if he could have come at the break to help us out. ???

  13. It’s not going to be easy to win on the road. But this team can do it. Matt lane has been a bright spot all season, and throughout his matriculation at bu. Make no doubt about it Matt will be ready for the playoffs. Like coach said these kids are hockey players they get to play more hockey. I’m ready for more hockey. I love this team and the senior class can’t wait for the post season to start go bu🐾🚨🐾

    • Colin,
      I agree the senior class has done its job. It is the rest of the team that has been inconsistent. One game they look like world class players. The next game recreational league players. Evan within a game they sometimes lose focus. It is very frustrating as they should have better results considering the talent level.

  14. Folks the quicker we realize we did not get the bye, lutnov a great player choose to play somewhere else. Spring break is this weekend and we will have to go to Lowell after beating u mass this week end the better off we will be. Support this team for who is on it. For the work they put forth. They can do it! I don’t care if I’m the only guy in the stands I would not miss this weekends games for the world. And as for traveling who cares I would go to a meat locker in Mexico to watch them. Lowell bc providence all tie their-skates the same way we tie ours. On any givin night this team can beat anyone. Let’s get ready for playoff hockey🐾

    • Colin,
      I appreciate your enthusiasm. However reality check, all teams work hard and especially Lowell. A team that badly out worked B.U in the last match up. B.U may have elite talent but they seem to work their system to perfection against B.U. Beating them twice in there barn would be a huge upset. They seldom lose at home. That is if B.U.survives this weekend. ( a series that nobody really cares about and proves nothing)

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