Terriers stumble in second period

By Jake Seiner/DFP Staff

The Boston University men’s hockey team came into Saturday night with a chance to knock off a budding rival at Agganis Arena.

Judging by BU coach Jack Parker’s assessment, you wouldn’t have known it based on the fire –– or lack thereof –– in the Terriers’ game in their 3-2 overtime loss to Merrimack College.

“What happened to my team from last night? That’s all I can think about,” Parker said. “[Friday night,] we played hard, we played smart, we played with a lot of zip, we moved the puck, and we didn’t do any of those things tonight.”

The Terriers’ struggles were magnified in the second period. Despite holding a dominant advantage in time of possession –– evidenced by 24 shot attempts in the frame –– the Terriers got just six shots on net.

Some of that is a credit to Merrimack’s defense –– the Warriors blocked nine shots in the second period, mostly on perimeter shots by BU’s pointmen.

At the same time, the Terriers missed entirely missed the net eight times, including on two of their five grade-A chances. Amazingly, that was an improvement from when the team missed the net on three of its six grade-A chances in the first period.

“We were walking around with it,” Parker said. “There was no zip to our game. Pucks weren’t getting to the net and you can’t get rebounds if you’re not shooting the puck.

“We had time of possession at times but not like we had time of possession last night. There was much less pressure on them in their zone even though we had the puck than there was when we had the puck last night.”

The BU powerplay finished an abysmal 1-for-11 on the night. In the second period, the team registered just four shots on net during five man-up chances –– all those shots came during a 59-second 5-on-3 span when sophomore David Warsofsky and freshman Max Nicastro took turns peppering Merrimack netminder Joe Cannata with lasers from just inside the tops of the circles.

On their other power-play chances, the Terriers settled for passes around the exterior of the zone, creating a lot of puck movement but not using the movement efficiently. The movement was reminiscent of the way the unit worked during the first semester, when poor effort and focus were regular party crashers in BU’s early national title defense.

“I can’t really point to one thing that we weren’t doing on the 5-on-3s and the power plays,” senior Eric Gryba said. “It could be passing, it could be guys not moving, or it could be guys standing around just dusting off the pucks or whatever. It could be a lot of things but it just wasn’t clicking tonight.”

“Other than the Warsofsky group on that 5-on-3, we were walking,” Parker said. “We really frustrated ourselves in the second period. We were so bad on the power play. Key guys like [Kevin] Shattenkirk, [Colby] Cohen and [Nick] Bonino were shaking their heads and looked like they were very, very frustrated.

“It will be interesting to see what happens in the third and final game. Somebody goes on, somebody goes home.”

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