By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff
The skid continues.
The Boston University men’s hockey team (7-10-2, 2-4-1 Hockey East) continued its sluggish start to the new year, as it dropped its third contest in a row by falling to Dartmouth College 4-2 Wednesday at Agganis Arena. The Terriers remain winless since the end of November when they topped Cornell University at Madison Square Garden.
Here is a look at some of the minuses (and pluses) from the Terriers’ loss.
Defensive zone turnovers
BU had trouble getting the puck out of its own end Wednesday night, and it spelled trouble in terms of it keeping possession of the puck. A smart Dartmouth forecheck baited Terriers defensemen into making longer breakout passes, and once the pass was made the Big Green player would pounce on the puck.
“I think maybe guys got a little bit careless and kind of do it all themselves a little bit,” said sophomore defenseman Matt Grzelcyk. “I think we just have to focus on keeping our heads up and moving the puck as fast as possible.”
This was seen in Dartmouth’s second goal, when freshman defenseman Doyle Somerby tried to make a long pass from the left circle of his defensive zone to the right faceoff dot outside of the blue line. The feed went tape-to-tape with a Big Green forward, who started an offensive possession that ultimately led to the game-tying goal.
Don’t look now, but the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference is becoming a problem for BU as of late. In four ECAC contests this season, BU is 1-3 against ECAC opponents this season, being outscored 16-10 in those contests.
With the loss to Harvard University on Saturday in the books, the Terriers have also lost consecutive games to different ECAC opponents for the first time since 2010, when they lost to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Brown University back-to-back.
Another shorthanded goal
In what appears to be a recurring nightmare for the Terriers, Dartmouth forward Eric Neiley capitalized on a breakaway shorthanded goal to seal the Big Green victory Wednesday night. It was this same type of shorthanded breakaway goal that sealed Harvard’s victory Saturday night, and it is the fourth shorthanded goal BU has allowed in its last three games.
It is not that the power play has been bad — it has scored five times in the last three games — but these types of defensive lapses with a man advantage are atypical of a team that has the skill at the blue line to move the puck accurately and effectively.
Hohmann keeps scoring
It has been a joyous return to the lineup for one of BU’s top point producers, as junior forward Cason Hohmann notched his second goal in as many games Wednesday night. The speedy winger was Johnny on the spot for his goal, as he followed up on a rebound after a tipped shot from senior captain Garrett Noonan to record his fifth goal of the season.
Having Hohmann back in the lineup has improved the Terriers’ offense by a goal per game, as BU averaged two goals per game in the five contests in which he was sidelined but has averaged three goals in the two games since his return.
Grzelcyk and O’Regan make impact since returning from Sweden
Grzelcyk and sophomore center Danny O’Regan were already recognized as two of BU’s best players due to their season stats — O’Regan leads the team in goals (6) and Grzelcyk leads the team in shots (61) — but they have been proving it since their return from the World Junior Championships.
O’Regan, who scored a power-play goal on a great individual effort Saturday night, added another assist on Hohmann’s goal and increased his point total on the season to 13. Grzelcyk did it in reverse order, tallying two assists in Saturday night’s game before scoring a power-play goal Wednesday night.