By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff
One of the many things Boston University men’s hockey coach Jack Parker has become famous for over the years is his ability to find a major fault line where fans and media only see a small crack, or perhaps nothing at all.
Friday night’s postgame press conference following a 3-3 tie with the University of Vermont was the perfect example. Given the Terriers’ domination in shot attempts (81-42), shots on goal (40-24) and grade-A chances (21-5), the natural expectation would be that Parker would be satisfied with how his team played.
Instead, Parker expressed the exact opposite sentiment in his opening statement.
“On paper, it looks like it’s an OK game for us,” he said. “We attempt 81 shots to their 42. Shots on target are almost 2-to-1. But in reality, it’s just covering up that we are not a hungry hockey team. We think it’s OK to just come out here and see what’s gonna happen. Huge points on the line tonight, and we were so far away from being ready to play this game. It was brutal. It looks like it’s OK even in the first period because of the shot chart and the opportunities.
“But in general, we were taking shots, we might as well have been in a pickup game at the Boston Skating Club. My team does not know how to get ready for a game. They hope the other team will suck. Or they think they’re all set because we just got a win and a tie over the Thanksgiving break. We continually spot teams goals in the first period. So in general, it was a masked performance tonight. It looked OK. A couple of our big guns absolutely stunk the house up.
“It’s what we are. It’s who we are. We’re not a hungry team. It’s not that [expletive] important. It’s not important. They don’t wanna do what you have to do to get ready for a game.”
After expressing content with his team’s attitude and practices over the last two weeks, Parker said that he could see the lack of preparation, desire and urgency starting to creep into the clubhouse before Thursday’s practice.
“I thought yesterday, I could see it,” he said. “Practice wasn’t too bad, but I could see it before. Guys are lounging around in the lounge, hanging around, shooting the breeze, playing ping-pong. It’s a half hour before practice, and they’re not getting ready to play, they’re not getting ready to practice. They’re not getting their mind on the big weekend.”
Parker struggled to find an explanation for this phenomenon, but said he doesn’t think it has anything to do with guys not realizing the importance of this weekend.
“They’d have to be insane not to realize how important this game is for their season,” he said. “They’re in last place. They’d have to be absolutely from another planet not to realize how important these two games are this weekend. It’s one thing to know it’s important. It’s another to get ready and make sure you’re gonna win.”
Senior assistant captain and defenseman Eric Gryba, who scored his first goal of the season in the game, agreed with his coach’s assessment of the team’s readiness, but also failed to pinpoint a reason for it.
“We weren’t ready to play . . . We’re just not doing the simple, little things,” he said. “Maybe that’s attributed to being a young team. Maybe it falls on the captain’s shoulders. Maybe we’re not doing a good enough job. But we have to make sure we’re ready for tomorrow night’s game.
“We need more of a sense of urgency to start winning games. A tie is not acceptable anymore. We need to start getting two points in a night.”
Sophomore netminder Grant Rollheiser started for the second straight game Friday night, but Parker said the goalie rotation between he and fellow sophomore Kieran Millan will continue. Assistant coach Mike Geragosian wanted more time to work with Millan on a few things, so the coaching staff decided not to rush him to get ready for Friday’s game, according to Parker. Millan will start Saturday night against arch-nemesis Boston College.