By Annie Maroon/DFP Staff
When the two most penalized teams in the country meet, it’s not hard to predict that special teams will play a role in the game. Although the Boston University and the University of Maine men’s hockey teams – averaging 20.35 and 18.54 minutes per game in the box, respectively – kept the total number of infractions in Friday’s game to just seven, it was a pair of successful power plays that gave Maine the victory.
“I thought we did a good job killing their penalties and yet they got two power-play goals,” Parker said. “One was a bad turnover by us – 17 seconds to go and we get the puck on our own stick and all we’ve got to do is throw it out, we try to make a play instead and they turn around and score. Then we tipped the last shot on the power play [in the third period] and it still went in.”
On the first play Parker referenced, a hooking call on freshman forward Evan Rodrigues was about to expire early in the second period. Junior defenseman Max Nicastro stole the puck away from a Maine forward, but instead of clearing it, he tried to carry it out of the zone himself and ended up turning it over to Maine forward Adam Shemansky, who scored to tie the game at 1.
Then halfway through the third period, with the game tied 2-2, junior forward Wade Megan was pursuing Maine forward Matt Mangene into the BU zone. Unable to catch up with Mangene, Megan tried to use his stick to knock the puck away, and he was called for hooking. Twelve seconds into the ensuing power play, Black Bear forward Mark Anthoine tipped a shot from the point past BU goalie Kieran Millan to give Maine the lead.
Parker was visibly upset about the call against Megan at the time. Asked about his thoughts on the call after the game, he said, “The only thing that counts is what the referee thinks.”
Maine’s power play has been making opponents pay for penalties all season, firing at a 30.4 percent rate, and in that regard they simply prevailed over an 83.6-percent Terrier penalty kill.
“They just have an unbelievable power play,” senior forward Ross Gaudet said. “The three forwards, I think it’s Abbott, Flynn, that line, they just have a knack for scoring goals on the power play. Our PK did pretty well. We could do better, obviously.”
On the flip side, though, the Terriers had just one power-play chance, on an interference call against Maine’s Will O’Neill in the first period, and junior forward Alex Chiasson scored on the ensuing man-advantage opportunity. Parker said he thought his team looked flat through much of the game, and that lack of energy led to a lack of power-play chances.
“We only got one power play because we didn’t play hard enough for them to defend us,” Parker said. “We went 1 for 1 on the power play. I can’t remember the last time we only got one power play in a game. And that has nothing to do with the referee…we never put that much pressure on them to have them really defend us.”