By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff
Agganis Arena will almost surely not be filled to capacity with students still home for Thanksgiving break, but Boston University men’s hockey freshman goaltender Sean Maguire will get his first chance to start at home Saturday night in a non-conference game against St. Lawrence University.
Maguire earned his first win of his career in his last start, when he stopped 29 shots against the University of Vermont to help the No. 10 Terriers (6–4–0, 5–3–0 Hockey East) to a 6–2 win.
After a tough first start for Maguire, in which he allowed four goals before getting pulled halfway through a loss to the University of New Hampshire, the Powell River, British Columbia native has steadily improved his statistics. He now has a 3.58 goals-against average and an .886 save percentage through three starts.
“This isn’t a matter of, ‘Hey, we will play anybody just because they are nice kids,’” said BU coach Jack Parker. “He has gotten himself back in the lineup because he has played well.”
However, his improvement has been somewhat overshadowed by the consistent excellence of fellow freshman goalie Matt O’Connor, who has a 1.90 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage in eight appearances.
The Terriers lost to UNH in their last time out in part thanks to a dismal 0-for-7 power play showing. Parker said that it was not necessarily that the team’s setup on the power play was what went wrong in that game, but rather the team’s execution of the plays it was trying to run.
“It’s not what we are doing, it is how we are doing it,” Parker said. “The speed of the puck is not there. Shooting one-timers is not there. We are not screening goalies as well as we should … Those things are more important than whether we are in an umbrella, or a 2–3, or an overload or all of the other different looks you can give people on a power play.”
BU has already lost twice to UNH on the season, which is a team that Parker said is comparable to St. Lawrence (5–3–2, 0–2–2 ECAC) this year.
“They are a real physical team, they do a great job killing penalties, they have got a great first line that scores a lot of goals for them,” Parker said. “We are going to have a tough battle on our hands, obviously, but at least we just saw that last week.”
One of the members of that top line for St. Lawrence is senior Kyle Flanigan, who is tied for the NCAA lead in points this season with 19 (8g, 11a). Flanigan and junior Greg Carey (8g, 10a) are only joined by Bentley University forward Brett Gensler as Division I players who have recorded 18 points or more this season.
“We will make sure we have got one of our better defensive lines against that line,” Parker said. “But in general you have got to make sure you are aware of [Flanigan].”
The pair of scorers has also been strong on the power play, as each of them has netted four goals with the man-advantage.
St. Lawrence boasts the No. 11 power play in the nation with a 21.82 percent success rate, which is significantly better than BU’s 33rd ranked power play (15.91 percent success rate).
Junior goalie Matt Weninger has played every minute for the Saints, and holds a 2.36 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage.
While St. Lawrence is not the brand-name non-conference opponent BU faced earlier in the season at the University of North Dakota, the Saints have proven they can compete with Hockey East-caliber teams. In a two-game series at the University of Maine on earlier in the season, St. Lawrence swept the Black Bears and outscored them 10–1 on the weekend.
“That was scary,” Parker said. “They played so well in those games.”
Projected BU lines:
Wade Megan – Cason Hohmann – Yasin Cissé
Matt Nieto – Danny O’Regan – Evan Rodrigues
Sahir Gill – Wesley Myron – Sam Kurker
Matt Lane – Ben Rosen – Ryan Santana
Sean Escobedo – Alexx Privitera
Garrett Noonan – Ryan Ruikka
Matt Grzelcyk – Ahti Oksanen