|Senior captain Wade Megan scored in the Boston University
men’s hockey team’s loss to the University of New Hampshire.
JUNHEE CHUNG/DAILY FREE PRESS FILE PHOTO
By Annie Maroon/DFP Staff
Nearly everything that went right in the No. 11 Boston University men’s hockey team’s season opener seemed to go wrong in a 4–1 loss to the No. 15 University of New Hampshire on Saturday.
Freshman goalie Sean Maguire was pulled from the game in the second period after giving up four goals in his first collegiate start. His classmate Matt O’Connor replaced him and kept the Wildcats from scoring again.
The Terriers got what looked like a good omen when senior forward Wade Megan scored just 31 seconds into the game. UNH defenseman Justin Agosta fumbled BU sophomore blueliner Alexx Privitera’s clearing attempt, and sophomore forward Evan Rodrigues took it the other way for BU. He fed Megan in front of the net for the captain’s first goal of the year.
That, however, was the last good news BU got for a long time. UNH’s John Henrion made the Terriers pay for their increasing number of errant passes when he picked up a turnover near the blue line and sent a shot on net that somehow trickled through Maguire.
“I thought we played pretty well in the first period even though we got down 2–1,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “We came out and got back on our heels right off the back when they scored in the second. And then we got out of sync.”
Eighteen seconds later, the Wildcats took the lead when winger Nick Sorkin poked a rebound through Maguire’s legs. That goal energized the Wildcats and seemed to knock the Terriers back on their heels, and although the Terriers led 12–9 in shots at the end of the first period, UNH looked like the faster team.
The Wildcats wasted no time adding to their lead in the second period. BU couldn’t capitalize on a power play, and with five seconds left on the man-advantage, Megan was called for hooking. Five seconds into that power play, the Wildcats’ Eric Knodel beat Maguire from the point to make it 3–1.
BU’s next costly turnover came about seven minutes into the second period, when UNH’s Scott Pavelski picked off a pass in front of Maguire.
“I don’t think we played anywhere near where we have to play from the goal — on the defensive end, from the goal out, the way we cover in our own zone,” Parker said. “I thought we were just missing on passes coming out of the zone or just missing on passes in the offensive end.”
Soon after that, O’Connor, who started last week against Providence College, took over in net. He held the Wildcats scoreless for the rest of the period, but the Terriers continued to lose races and squander scoring chances.
Late in the second period, a brawl broke out in front of DeSmith. Sophomore forward Cason Hohmann was poking at a loose rebound when a Wildcat punched him from behind. A few BU players and a few UNH players began shoving each other and toppled into the crease with DeSmith.
When the dust cleared, Privitera and freshman defenseman Matt Grzelcyk went to the box for BU and Greg Burke and Brett Kostolansky went off for the Wildcats. Burke got an extra two minutes for cross-checking, but the Terriers could not convert on the power play and the period ended with UNH leading 4–1.
The Terriers had power-play chances in the third to get back in the game. They did not get much traffic in front of DeSmith, though, and could not seem to settle in against a UNH defense that seemed to be in every passing lane.
“We just couldn’t really get in a flow, couldn’t really get anything set up,” Megan said. “That stuff will come, we just need a little more work on it, and it obviously wasn’t good enough tonight.”
With less than five minutes remaining and sophomore forward Yasin Cissé in the box, junior defenseman Garrett Noonan went off for a hit after the whistle, despite his protests. BU killed off the ensuing 5-on-3, but a game that had been getting increasingly physical continued to go downhill. Junior forward Sahir Gill and Burke got into an altercation that ended with Gill called for hitting after the whistle and Burke receiving a game misconduct for hitting from behind.
“It was definitely a little frustration in there, but guys were also working really hard, and that’s a good thing,” Megan said. “We can’t get undisciplined, especially at crucial points in the game, and that was a crucial point in time.”
The only real bright spot of the latter half of the game for BU was O’Connor, who stopped several shots from point-blank range and held firm even during the Wildcat 5-on-3. His play, and the Wildcats’ four goalposts and crossbars when they had open nets, kept the final score from becoming even more lopsided.