By Annie Maroon/DFP Staff
Agganis Arena was quiet on Friday, with even the student sections largely empty, and that lack of energy was mirrored on the ice for much of the game as the No. 13/15 Boston University men’s hockey team lost 3-0 to the No. 12 University of Massachusetts-Lowell.
“The fans were here. They would have energized us if we energized them,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “We didn’t get a goal. We’re down 2-0, but we could have been winning eight in a row and if you’re down 2-0 and you’re not doing anything, creating enough offense, it doesn’t energize.”
Freshman goalie Matt O’Connor stopped 24 of 27 River Hawk (17-9-2, 12-7-2) shots, but the Terrier (14-13-2, 11-8-2 Hockey East) offense mustered just 25 on UML rookie goalie Connor Hellebuyck, few of them threatening.
“I don’t think he saw a lot of Grade-A shots,” Parker said of Hellebuyck. “They played really well on the initial rush and really well covering out front.”
BU had not been shut out in conference play since Nov. 6, 2009, against Northeastern University. The Terriers and River Hawks are now tied for fifth in Hockey East entering Saturday’s game in Lowell.
After an uneventful first period, UML’s Scott Wilson put the River Hawks on the board a little over five minutes into the second. UML held the puck in the Terriers’ zone for most of a shift. Then BU’s forwards changed with the puck at their defensive blue line, and their defensemen, junior Garrett Noonan and freshman Matt Grzelcyk, couldn’t get off.
Wilson came onto the ice and lifted a wrist shot over O’Connor without meeting much resistance from BU.
“We never should have changed when the puck is at our blue line,” Parker said. “But either way, [Scott Wilson] really ripped it. That was a rocket.”
BU had power play chances, one late in the second and one midway through the third, but didn’t exert the pressure on Hellebuyck they had against the University of Maine the weekend before. With UML’s Ryan McGrath in the box in the third, they spent most of the man-advantage pinned in their own zone by River Hawk forwards, struggling to break out.
“I thought it was an emotional boost during that play, where I think for maybe 15 or 20 seconds we had it — I think it might have been [Josh] Holmstrom or [Adam] Chapie — carried the play down deep, and that was a real emotional boost for the bench,” UML coach Norm Bazin said.
Shortly afterward, the River Hawks capitalized on a power play chance of their own. Freshman forward Sam Kurker went off for a trip, and UML captain Riley Wetmore took a shot that squeezed through O’Connor’s pads and across the goal line to make it 3-0.
Only two Grade-A shots made it through to Hellebuyck in the third, both from senior captain Wade Megan, and BU struggled to pick up rebounds around the net for second and third opportunities.
“I know it was a pretty good game for us as far as effort was concerned. And, for the most part, as far as brains are concerned,” Parker said. “I’m disappointed that we didn’t create more offense. Disappointed we come out without a point.”