By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff
The Terriers had plenty of chances, peppering UNH goalie Brian Foster with 37 shots and outshooting the Wildcats in every period, including overtime. Those numbers are even more impressive when you consider that BU had just two power plays, which accounted for just three shots. After Friday night’s 4-2 loss, Jack Parker called for more production from his top six forwards. They responded by scoring all three goals and recording 18 shots. Particularly impressive was the second unit of Zach Cohen, Corey Trivino and Vinny Saponari. Saponari and Trivino each scored pretty goals by doing something they’ve both struggled to do for most of this season –– finish around the net.
The BU D played one great period and two bad ones. In the second period, it held UNH to six shots and zero grade-A chances. Unfortunately for the Terriers, the Wildcats registered 24 shots and 14 grade-A chances in the first, third and overtime periods combined. Parker was quick to point out that he thought the top pairing of Colby Cohen and Kevin Shattenkirk played great, though –– the second night in a row he has highlighted that duo. Another positive was BU’s 21 blocked shots. Saponari credited that to everyone just buying into the team and being more willing to sacrifice their bodies.
Grant Rollheiser made a career-high 27 saves and faced 30 shots. He’d probably like to have the Wildcats’ second goal back, though. He gave up a bad rebound on a Bobby Butler shot, allowing it to bounce right back out and onto the stick of Phil DeSimone, who promptly beat Rollheiser before he could recover. However, there wasn’t a whole lot he could do on UNH’s other two goals. Both came on odd deflections that the netminder never even saw. Additionally, Rollheiser made several great saves to keep his team in the game, including two late in the third –– a blocker save on a hard one-timer by Mike Sislo from the left dot and a sliding save against Butler where he closed his five-hole at the last possible second.
Special teams: B+
The Terriers drew just two penalties, but they did capitalize on one of the power plays, and they continued to move the puck well once they got inside the zone –– getting into the zone was a problem at times. The goal came when Shattenkirk took the puck at the right point, glided backward toward the center of the ice and then slapped a pass down low to Trivino. The sophomore stopped it with his skate and then ripped a shot into the right side of the net. The penalty kill also featured pros and cons. On the upside, it held a talented UNH power play to one goal on six chances, something David Warsofsky said the team will take every time they play them. On the downside, it gave up 10 shots on those six chances, often failing to clear the zone for prolonged periods of time.
X-Factor: Saponari and Trivino finishing around the net
A lot of Terriers have struggled to finish around the net this season, but two of the biggest offenders had been Saponari and Trivino. Whether it was whiffing from the doorstep, overskating a rebound, hitting the goalie in the chest or missing the cage altogether, they just couldn’t seem to find the back of the net in grade-A areas. After Saturday night, though, that pair has now combined for four goals in BU’s last four games, and all four of them have come from in close on strong finishes. Another Terrier who had been snakebitten was Chris Connolly, but then he got off the schneid with three goals in three games before suffering a separated shoulder and missing this weekend. The chances for Saponari and Trivino have been there all season. If they can continue finishing like they have recently, that would give BU’s offense a much-needed boost.