First line switch helps Terriers in win

By Meredith Perri/DFP Sports

When David Quinn spoke with reporters before Friday’s tilt against No. 17 University of Vermont, he told them a change to the lineup was coming.

“It might be radical,” the Boston University men’s hockey coach said. 
The next day, Quinn put out a first line that had never played together during a game – freshman Robbie Baillargeon, sophomore Danny O’Regan and junior Cason Hohmann. As if that new group was not change enough, for the first time this season, O’Regan did not center the line.

The swap worked, as the Terriers broke a winless streak that spanned across two months when they defeated Vermont, 4-2, Saturday evening at Agganis Arena.

“I always like to get your top three players together, but Baillargeon and O’Regan are centers,” Quinn said. “For Danny – Danny is not a big guy . . . Playing the wing, it’s not the banging or the demand that the [center] has. He had a little jump in his step tonight, and I think he is excited and hopefully that line can kind of find some chemistry and build on what they did today and move forward.”

For O’Regan, who has centered all eight of the Terriers’ different first line combinations until Friday’s game, the transition to wing was easy.

“I felt a little more rested, I had some more legs – not as much battling down low,” O’Regan said. “Playing with a good center like Robbie is easy, it’s easy to adjust to the wing, and, so, it wasn’t too hard for me.”

The line showed how well it worked together just over five minutes into the second frame when it broke the 0-0 stalemate to give BU the lead. The trio pushed up the ice with Hohmann sending a pass over to Baillargeon. The freshman center then sent the puck across the crease to O’Regan, who had a wide-open net.

“The two guys I was playing with were capable of making a play,” O’Regan said. “I just kind of drove to the net once Cason got it over the blue line, kind of drove to the net and those two made great passes and put my stick down on an empty net, so it was nice.”

The tally was O’Regan’s seventh of the season, and, thanks to the full participation of the line, it increased the trio’s total production this season to 49 of the team’s 157 points.

As play progressed, the line had several other close plays and ultimately took seven of the team’s 26 shots on the night.

Baillargeon, who also went through a position switch earlier in the season, leads the group with 18 points. Sophomore defenseman Ahti Oksanen is the only other BU player with as many points.

“I had Baillargeon on the wing earlier in the year because I thought he was one of our top-six forwards and he was a freshman,” Quinn said. “I wanted to give him an opportunity to get acclimated to college hockey.

“I really like his game down low lately. He has done a good job defensively and he has had a good year.”

With his switch having worked in the first tilt of the two-game series with Vermont, Quinn will stick with it Saturday as BU seeks its first two-win weekend since the opening weekend of the season.

“I liked that line a lot,” Quinn said. “I thought that was Danny O’Regan’s best game in a long time. He has played a lot of minutes for us. I just think he is so competitive that it lightens his responsibility up a little bit, and I really like the way Baillargeon has played.

“I want to get our best players together, and I just think that I like that line a lot. Hopefully they can follow up tomorrow night with that they did tonight.”

3 thoughts on “First line switch helps Terriers in win”

  1. Sorry for being late, though I am not sure if I am a troll or ant-troll.

    Congratulations to David Quinn on his 8th win as head coach of BU.

    8 wins equals the least amount of wins by Jerry York, coach of 5 different NCAA champions at 2 different schools, in one season. He made that mark in the 1991-92 season. That was 5 season’s after his first title and 9 seasons before his second. Now, I’m not ready to say that Quinn is as good as York, but since the bashers (probably BC trolls) have hinted that BU coaches are not as good as the recent vintage at BC (leaving out Mike Millbury, who famously never lost a game as coach), it should be noted that coaches and teams do have their ups and downs. Hoping to see a new banner at Agganis before 9 seasons, though.

    Also, I was hoping to write this in December, but better late than never.

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