By Arielle Aronson/DFP Staff
Boston University’s effort on offense was nothing short of pathetic. The Terriers had two shots on goal in the first period and four in the third. If not for overtime (when they netted three shots on goal), an 11-shot second period would have only given BU 17 shots on the night. BU also totaled only 6 Grade-A opportunities all night. The one goal the Terriers did score came while they were shorthanded. BU spent too much time either dumping and chasing or taking penalties to get anything set up in the offensive zone. They were lucky to tie.
The defense gave up 33 shots in the first and third periods combined, but aside from that, they weren’t bad on Saturday. Although Maine outshot BU 20-2 in the first period, the teams tied for Grade-A opportunities with two apiece. The Terriers for the most part forced Maine to take shots from the perimeter and kept them out of the slot. They also were right on top of rebounds and cleared pucks away from the net well. BU continued a trend that started in the third period of the game against BC where they did a good job of getting bodies in shooting and passing lanes. While Maine was able to get a lot of shots off, they were forced to fire those shots through a lot of traffic. That alone really limited Maine from getting good scoring opportunities.
Power play: F
We split special teams into two categories tonight simply because the power play and penalty kill were such stark contrasts from each other. BU was abysmal on the power play for the second consecutive night. BU went 0-for-5 on the power play and proved how pointless it was to give them a man-advantage when, in the second period, BU failed to cash in on a 5-on-3 that came at the end of a five-minute kill for Maine. The Terriers started the 5-on-3 with Noonan and Clendening on the blue line. Rather than cycle around to make the Black Bear’s killing unit tired, Noonan and Clendening remained rooted at the point. The team simply passed, passed, passed without skating, which really made Maine’s job pretty easy.
Penalty kill: A
While the Terriers completely failed to get anything going with a man-advantage, they looked fantastic with a man-disadvantage. In the first period, junior co-captain Chris Connolly and senior co-captain Joe Pereira charged into the offensive zone on a shorthanded two-on-one, and Pereira finished it by scoring the only BU goal of the game. The Terriers also held a very dangerous Maine power play to 0-for-7 on the night despite giving Maine two 5-on-3 chances in the third period. Maine had 13 shots on their seven power plays, but Millan stood tall and the BU penalty killers did not give Maine many good scoring opportunities.
As is becoming almost cliché at this point, Millan had a solid night in net. While Maine scored 21 seconds into the game, Millan was screened on the play and the BU defense was practically invisible at that point of the game. After that shot, Millan stopped the next 41 in a row. With 13:04 remaining in the second period, Millan somehow stopped a puck on the goal line that the Maine players had already thought had gone in. Millan repeatedly thwarted Gustav Nyquist (8 shots, no goals) and Will O’Neill (7 shots, one goal), making what could have been a celebratory night for Maine turn into a pretty frustrating night.
X-Factor: Goaltending and the penalty kill
The BU offense was not nearly good enough to even tie this game. If not for Kieran Millan and the BU penalty kill, there was no way BU would have gotten any points on Saturday. We’ve already discussed both above, but it’s hard to explain just how immense both were in getting the 1-1 tie.