By Tim Healey/DFP Staff
DENVER — The No. 6 Boston University men’s hockey team might have a lot of fond memories from its five-day trip to Colorado, but its matchup Saturday night against No. 14/15 University of Denver won’t be one of them.
The Terriers (10-6, 8-4 Hockey East) got blown out by the host Pioneers, 6-0, in a game marred by blown BU scoring chances, injuries and a number of bad penalties. Sophomore defenseman Alexx Privitera took four penalties — including a game-changing roughing in the first period and a game disqualification in the second — at Magness Arena in the annual U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game.
It’s the first time BU has been shut out since Nov. 6, 2009, a 1-0 loss to Northeastern University.
“We were in a daze out there,” said BU head coach Jack Parker. “It was like we had no intensity at all in our own zone, no alertness, no focus.”
The Terriers got off to a rough start, and despite finishing the first period with a few strong shifts were down 3-0 at the end of the frame.
Denver (10-6-3) assistant captain Shawn Ostrow got the scoring started when he redirected assistant captain Nick Shore’s shot from the blue line. The power-play goal at 4:59 gave the Pioneers an early 1-0 lead.
BU looked primed to turn things around about halfway through the period when defenseman Scott Mayfield was charged with a game misconduct and a five-minute major after elbowing senior forward Ben Rosen in the head.
Rosen did not return to the game, and Parker said he “may or may not” have a concussion. Rosen will be evaluated further in the coming days.
Just 14 seconds into what should have been an extended Terrier power play, however, Privitera got called for roughing behind BU’s net. That paved the way for a pair of 4-on-4 Pioneer goals nine seconds apart to extend the lead to 3-0.
After Ostrow’s shot, sophomore Zac Larraza found the rebound and beat freshman goaltender Matt O’Connor glove side. With Privitera still in the box and BU flat on its feet, DU freshman Quentin Shore found another rebound moments later to make it 3-0
“It’s 4-on-4. It should not be a problem, but we made it a problem,” Parker said. “So you can’t blame Privitera for those two goals, you can blame him [for taking] a stupid penalty anytime you’re a man up.”
The Pioneers made it 4-0 at 14:12 in the second when Nick Shore, a Los Angeles Kings draft pick, finished a series of nifty Denver passes by getting off a shot as he fell to the ice.
Then it got ugly for BU.
Privitera took three more penalties at the 17:33 mark in the second: a two-minute minor, a five-minute major and a game disqualification after getting into a scrum and then kicking Denver’s Ty Loney.
The game disqualification comes with an automatic one-game suspension, meaning Privitera will miss BU’s game vs. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Friday. Parker indicated Privitera may miss more time after the coach gets to take a look at game film and determine how severe the penalties actually were.
With the Terriers down a forward and a defenseman for the final 22 minutes, Denver made it 5-0 at 7:10 in the third. Assistant captain Chris Knowlton picked up a loose puck a long the boards and shot from the left faceoff dot for his 11th goal of the season.
A scrum late in the third period resulted in junior defenseman Patrick MacGregor getting tossed for a game misconduct. He and junior assistant captain Garrett Noonan teamed up on Nick Shore behind the BU net, which promptly led to all of the players on the ice getting tied up.
Noonan, who was playing in his first game since being named an assistant captain, initiated the fracas when he repeatedly pushed Nick Shore to the ice while Shore was chasing a loose puck.
“We took a lot of stupid penalties and that really — we beat ourselves there,” said senior assistant captain Ryan Ruikka. “Guys were getting frustrated definitely because pucks weren’t bouncing our way, but we’ve just got to battle through.”
Senior captain Wade Megan left the game in apparent pain with 3:21 to play. He grabbed his shoulder after getting tripped and falling to the ice. After the game, though, Megan was not icing the shoulder and Ruikka said the captain was fine.
The Pioneers capped off their big game with a goal from Nolan Zajac — their third of the game on the man-advantage — in the final minute to account for the 6-0 final.
The all-around lackluster Terrier performance was the third year in a row BU came out slow after the multiple week, end-of-the-semester break, losing to Notre Dame last New Year’s Eve and Brown the season before.
“Guys might get a little complacent over Christmas break,” Ruikka said. “Not be working out and skating as much as you should be. We had a really good first half I thought. Guys might have taken a little bit advantage of that. We need to get back to work and get back on the winning streak.”