By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff
The offense got off to a great start when David Warsofsky scored on BU’s first shot of the night. It was all downhill from there, though. The Terriers struggled to anything at all in the offensive zone for the remainder of the night. They couldn’t create chances in transition, they couldn’t set up any sort of cycle and they couldn’t put shots on net when they did get chances — 14 of their 45 attempted shots missed the cage and another nine hit defenders before ever getting that far. BU finished the game with just 22 shots on net, its second-lowest total of the year. It also recorded just four grade-A chances in the game, marking a new low for the season. Joe Pereira was the only forward Jack Parker picked out as having a good game in his postgame press conference.
Eek. The Terriers gave up 49 shots on net and five goals, both season highs. They had no answer for UNH’s up-tempo attack and they consistently lost battles for possession. Even worse, the Terriers did a poor job keeping shot attempts to the outside like they’ve done most of this season. The Wildcats registered 21 grade-A chances, the most BU has allowed this season. The defensive effort can pretty much be summed up by UNH’s second goal. Three Terriers had the puck on their sticks and failed to clear the zone. Then UNH’s John Henrion took the puck behind the net, walked out front and had all the time in the world to spin around and pick his spot. The BU defensive corps was also responsible for seven of BU’s eight penalties, including Sean Escobedo’s five-minute major and game misconduct for a textbook hitting from behind in the first period. Freshmen Adam Clendening and Garrett Noonan made a combined five visits to the sin bin.
Kieran Millan faced a career-high 49 shots and made a career-high 44 saves, and Parker said the score would’ve been more like 12-2 if it wasn’t for him. Still, Millan wasn’t at the level he’s been at most of this season. He lost sight of the puck on UNH’s first goal, as Paul Thompson was able to dig it out from between his pads. He also got caught off his line on the Wildcats’ fourth goal, as Nick Sorkin beat him glove-side with a wrister from the top of the left circle. Millan looked visibly upset after both that and UNH’s fifth and final goal, when he left a rebound right at the doorstep. Parker’s right that the score could’ve been much worse if not for Millan, but the junior was by no means perfect, either.
Special Teams: B
On paper, special teams play stands out as the only positive for the Terriers. They went 1-for-3 on the power play after coming into the game one for their last 34. That tally came on a rocket of a one-timer from Warsofsky on a 5-on-3. BU also held UNH’s league-best power play to a 1-for-7 showing. Parker, however, said he didn’t think the penalty kill was all that great and credited Millan for that 1-for-7. Still, the Terriers were able to kill off 1:44 of a 5-on-3, immediately followed by another 3:16 of power-play time from Escobedo’s major. In the third period, when they really started getting aggressive on the PK out of desperation, the Terriers actually created just as many chances as UNH, including a shorthanded 3-on-1 at one point.
X-Factor: Not being ready to play
No one expected BU to go undefeated, but no one expected the first loss to be this brutal, either. Parker said his team wasn’t ready to play, plain and simple. The effort and hustle just weren’t there, as evidenced by UNH’s decisive advantage in shots and puck possession. That was particularly surprising considering the fact that yesterday, Parker said his team had a great week of practice. Neither he nor Warsofsky had any answers after the game as to why team wasn’t ready to go. Parker said he told his players after the game to start getting ready for Saturday right then because clearly whatever they did before Friday’s game didn’t work. Warsofsky said tonight should be an example for the whole team of what happens when you take a night off in Hockey East.