By Tim Healey/DFP Staff
So much for momentum.
A day after the Boston University men’s hockey team picked up its first win since November, the Terriers came out flat Saturday afternoon and never really picked it up before falling to No. 17 University of Vermont, 6-2.
There were moments when BU was buzzing, threatening to get back into it after falling behind early, but those moments were fleeting. Too often, an uninspired power play left the Terriers (8-14-2, 3-8-1 Hockey East) unable to capitalize when the Catamounts (13-9-3, 5-7 Hockey Eats) were back on their heels.
“It seems to be a little bit of a pattern the last two weekends,” said BU coach David Quinn. “Play well and play hard on Friday night, not able to match it on Saturday night. I thought Vermont really set the pace early, and I don’t think we were able to match it.”
UVM coach Kevin Sneddon said the difference was his team played hard and physical — and desperate, like BU did the night prior — for 60 minutes, not the 20 or so they did Friday.
Quinn had a different take. He said his guys were tired.
“We play our best players so many minutes on Friday night, there might be a correlation with what’s been happening on Saturday night,” Quinn said. “We play our best players so much, maybe I need to tail it back a little bit. Our depth isn’t one of our strengths right now.”
Quinn pointed to the role of special teams in particular. BU had to kill nine VUM power plays in Friday’s win, and players like senior captain Garrett Noonan (35 minutes) and freshman center Robbie Baillargeon (30 minutes) saw obscene amounts of ice time.
That took its toll when the Terriers took to the Agganis Arena ice again, for an earlier-than-normal 4 p.m. start, no less.
“We wanted to compete,” said senior forward Matt Ronan. “But I think sometimes it just wasn’t there, our legs weren’t there. I know guys were excited for tonight, so I guess I’m just a little concerned with the laziness creeping into the game.”
Sophomore forward Danny O’Regan played well, again, in his second game since moving from center. He scored one of BU’s goals and continued to utilize his speed along the wings.
But sophomore goaltender Sean Maguire proved penetrable for the first time in several games. He gave up all six goals on 32 shots, and his rebound control was unusually suspect at times.
Quinn pulled Maguire in favor of senior Anthony Moccia after the sixth goal, with 3:46 left on the game clock. It was the first game of Moccia’s career.
Moccia got a loud round of applause from the crowd of 4,948 when he entered, then again when he stopped the only shot he faced.
“It meant a lot,” Quinn said of getting his third-string netminder in a game. “It was great to hear the crowd react.”
The first period was drastically different from the very even one that started Friday night’s contest. Vermont forward Brendan Bradley put UVM up 1-0 at 3:18 in the frame when he skated behind the BU net, then roofed one near-side from the bottom of the right circle.
His linemate, captain Chris McCarthy, made it 2-0 at 17:04 when he found the top-left corner from the left circle.
McCarthy added another late in the second — he beat Maguire one-on-one while BU was on a power play — but that wasn’t until O’Regan got the Terriers on the board.
Midway through the second, O’Regan skated down the right wing and almost lost the puck in traffic before regaining composure by the crease. He backed in closer to the goal line, deked around Catamount netminder Mike Santaguida (16 saves) and backhanded it into an open net from a sharp angle at 9:03.
Freshman Brady Shaw extended the Catamount lead to 4-1 at 2:21 in the third when he picked the puck up behind the BU net, wrapped around to the front and put it away at the far post for his third career goal.
Freshman wing Kevin Duane mirrored that play when he made it 4-2 with 11:02 to play. He forced a turnover, skated around the net and finished his own rebound off of Santaguida’s pads.
Captain H.T. Lenz put away one of Maguire’s big rebounds with less than seven minutes to play, and winger Colin Markison scored from the left circle minutes later to account for the 6-2 final.
BU killed all five of Vermont’s power play chances, but itself failed on the man-advantage (0-for-6).
Vermont held a sizeable shot advantage, 33-18.
“We have to find a way to play a little bit more simplistic on a Saturday night,” Quinn said. “But when you get tired, you tend to make bad decisions. The first thing to go when you get tired is your brain.
“I think it caught up with us tonight.”