By Meredith Perri/DFP Staff
EAST LANSING, Mich. – For the first time this season, No. 13/14 Boston University men’s hockey coach David Quinn felt as though his team took a step back. The Terriers, who fell to Michigan State University Saturday evening 3-1, finished off their first away weekend of the season with a pair of losses after holding a 1-0 lead for the majority of the game.
Team’s readiness to play
At a very basic level, Saturday’s game against Michigan State carried some similarities to Friday’s game against the University of Michigan. Both involved BU taking a 1-0 lead late in the first period and, ultimately, giving it up in the second half of the third. Quinn, however, was quick to say that the game against the Spartans was different since it showed a Terrier squad that did not expect much from its competition coming into the game.
“Today [Michigan State] played like a team that was 0-3 and was looking for a win,” Quinn said. “We played like a team that was 3-2 and thought it was going to be easy tonight. And they were the much better team tonight. That’s all there is to it.”
Quinn had one word to sum up his thoughts on the amount of penalties the Terriers took not just Saturday night, but on the weekend – ridiculous.
BU had seven penalties during the tilt with the Spartans. Even though the Terriers were perfect on the penalty kill, Quinn said it took the legs away from a team that already started off the game “standing in quick sand.”
According to Quinn, even though he’s benched players for racking up too many penalty minutes, he wants to see more “drastic” improvements.
The trouble with faceoffs
BU really struggled at the dot in the game,with Michigan State holding the faceoff advantage 36-20. None of the BU players who took faceoffs had a successful night. In fact, the only BU player to have better than a .500 average on the draw was senior captain Garrett Noonan, who went 1-0. Sophomore center Danny O’Regan, who took the most faceoffs of the game with 25, went 9-16.
“Oh, we got killed,” Quinn said. “That’s not being ready to play. Faceoffs are a huge sign of your team’s readiness, and we lost faceoffs … As the puck was about to hit the ice, [Michigan State] was already moving and we were flat footed.”
While the sophomore had the Terriers’ lone goal tonight, he also had some other good scoring opportunities. Lane, who gave BU a 1-0 lead with 48 seconds left in the first frame, was the only Terrier to finish the night with a positive plus-minus rating. Furthermore, the right winger out of Rochester, N.Y., had multiple shorthanded chances during the second period when BU had four penalties.
Just like his classmate Matt O’Connor on Friday, sophomore Sean Maguire had a strong night in goal against Michigan State. The Powell River, British Columbia, native had 30 saves on the night – 11 of which came with the Terriers on the penalty kill.
When asked what he would say to both O’Connor and Maguire after a weekend where they both kept BU in their respective games, senior captain Garrett Noonan said, “sorry.”
“Both of them played unbelievable back-to-back nights,” Noonan said. “When you don’t get the win for them it’s tough. They played hard for us all night, and we give up two goals back-to-back nights. It’s tough. We have got to get back to work Friday night [against Providence College] and try to earn them a victory.”
Quinn also made said that without the strong goaltending he was not sure where the Terriers would be right now.
More than 20 members of the Dog Pound drove to Michigan this weekend, marking the first time that Quinn saw the Terrier fanbase travel to watch BU play and, at times, out-cheer the home school’s student sections.
“It’s awesome,” Quinn said. “I just wish we were able to reward them for their support.”
Noonan also showed his appreciation for the fans.
“It’s pretty tremendous that they come all the way out for us like that and support us like that, Noonan said. “They mean a ton to us, and I know we will need them Friday night.”