By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The No. 10/11 Boston University men’s hockey team fell behind early to Providence College, but used two goals from sophomore forward Evan Rodrigues and a late tally from junior forward Sahir Gill to clinch a 3–2 victory at Schneider Arena Friday night.
Here is a look at what went right and what went wrong for the Terriers.
Freshman goaltender Sean Maguire struggled in his last outing, allowing six goals in a 6–5 loss to Northeastern University. However, the Powell River, British Columbia, native recovered nicely in the win, making 32 saves in the effort.
“Bouncing back is probably one of the hardest things to do,” Maguire said. “The boys really worked well in front of me today and they helped me do that.”
Some of his best efforts came at the end of the third period, including save in which he made a full split to kick aside a shot from forward Paul de Jersey on a rebound.
With the exception of the loss to Northeastern, Maguire has not allowed more than two goals in a game since his second career start at the University of North Dakota. Following the win Friday, Maguire leads the team with a 2.34 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage.
Sahir Gill steps up late
The moment sophomore forward Evan Rodrigues went down with an apparent hand injury, junior forward Sahir Gill took his game to a new level. The following shift after absorbing a big hit behind Providence goalie Jon Gillies, Gill took the puck by a defenseman in the slot, around the net and tucked the puck inside the post for the game-winning goal.
The 5-foot-10 forward was not done though, as he made some nice plays on the penalty kill to help preserve the lead. He even skated in on breakaways twice, but Gillies shut him down both times with nice stops.
With the goal on the night, Gill improved his total to five on the season. Gill, who scored 12 goals last season, will need to continue stepping up as the season continues, especially if Rodrigues misses significant time with the injury.
Taking fewer penalties
The Terriers took a couple of almost costly penalties down the stretch, but held themselves to only three penalties in a very close game. The lack of time on the penalty kill was key to BU coming back throughout the game, as it only took one penalty throughout the first two periods.
This was a change from its 4–3 loss to the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, when BU took seven penalties and spent a large portion of the game in the penalty box. BU had taken four or more penalties in three of its last four losses, so staying out of the penalty box was an important factor in coming out on top.
“It’s beneficial anytime, you don’t wear out your guys,” said BU coach Jack Parker. “But it was big tonight the way we penalized ourselves the last two games, and I thought we were better disciplined job staying out of the box but still playing real hard.”
The Terriers may have won the game but an injury to Rodrigues will leave a sour taste in the mouth of BU fans. Providence forward Noel Acciari hit Rodrigues from behind behind Gillies and appeared to injure Rodrigues’ wrist on the play.
Rodrigues was in the middle of a two-goal performance in which he had not only scored goals, but made a few nifty passes to create scoring chances for his linemates. The sophomore from Etobicoke, Ontario had scored five goals and three assists in his last four games, and had been a sparkplug on what has been BU’s best line of late.
It remains to be seen how long Rodrigues will be out, but his absence will certainly leave a large hole in the Terriers’ offense.
Another Slow Start
With another slow start in tonight’s game, BU struggling out of the gate is becoming a trend. The Terriers allowed two goals and struggled to get the puck out of its own end for most of the first period before taking a little bit of momentum at the end of the frame.
The first goal was the result of a lost coverage after an offensive-zone turnover by freshman forward Sam Kurker. That was followed by another missed coverage after a defensive zone faceoff that allowed forward Brandon Tanev to backhand one around Maguire.
“There’s two goals that were absolutely nothing to do with Sean Maguire,” Parker said. “But give our team credit. We came back and played hard and the last five minutes of the period we came out pretty good.”
Power play woes
The Terriers had a chance to really take momentum of the game in the second period when Providence took three penalties. However, the BU power play struggled to create any chances and failed to score on Gillies.
BU’s power play has picked up its performance as of late, scoring four times in its last two games. However, the unit did not gel as well tonight, and consistently had shots from the point blocked and sent back out to center ice.