1st line shows improvement against New Hampshire

By Sarah Kirkpatrick/DFP Staff

DURHAM, N.H. — Close, but not close enough. Better, but not good enough.
The Boston University men’s hockey team came close to a win against the University of New Hampshire Friday night and, were it not for several highlight-reel saves from Wildcats goaltender Casey DeSmith against an improved first line, the Terriers very well could have left Whittemore Center with a victory.
Instead, BU (8-17-4, 3-9-3 Hockey East) lost 4-3, its six consecutive game without a win. BU outshot UNH (17-15-1, 9-8 Hockey East) 40-27, including 13 shots in the final frame. It was the first time the team has outshot an opponent since a 4-1 win over Bentley University on Dec. 13, and much of that recent improvement can be attributed to the play of the first line.
That line, consisting of junior Evan Rodrigues, freshman Robbie Baillargeon and sophomore Danny O’Regan was doing nearly everything right on Friday. Those three combined for 15 of BU’s 40 shots, and each scored a goal against UNH. They are responsible for five of the six Terrier goals in the past two games.
“I thought the three of us were really moving tonight and making smart plays and being creative when we could and making plays down low,” O’Regan said after the loss to UNH. “I thought we were really clicking tonight.”
Rodrigues gave the Terriers life near the end of the first period, scoring a power-play goal on a rebound with 7.7 seconds left in the frame. He also assisted on an O’Regan goal at the 8:53 mark of the second period. It was the second consecutive multipoint game for Rodrigues, as he notched a goal and an assist against Harvard University in Monday night’s 6-2 loss.
BU coach David Quinn attributed the improved play of the first line in part to Rodrigues’ health. Rodrigues dealt with a knee injury earlier in the year but has started to recover.
“Well he’s getting healthier,” Quinn said. “I really like that line … Evan still has to shoot the puck more. He has to shoot quicker because he gets a lot of chances, but it’s nice to see him getting on the scoreboard because we need him. We need him to score goals and create offense.”
O’Regan’s goal came midway through the second period on a deke around DeSmith, bringing the Terriers within 3-2.
“We were all going off the adrenaline of the score and the chances on each shift,” he said. “We felt great.”
The Terriers certainly felt that adrenaline late, and were within 4-3 after a Baillargeon goal midway through the third frame. O’Regan could have tied the score up and gotten his 10th goal of the season with just minutes left in the game, but an unbelievable save from DeSmith preserved the score at 4-3. O’Regan lay on the ice in disbelief for several seconds after the save.
“We played the right way in the second and third period,” O’Regan said. “The whole team was really buzzing. We were all over them. A couple mistakes cost us, but I think offensively we were right on point. We ran into a hot goalie, got a little unlucky. A bounce here, a bounce there … I thought we did the right things. It was a tough loss. It seemed like stuff was starting to come together.”
Quinn said that the first line is starting to come together due in part to the players’ increased focus on simplicity.
“The game dictates that you need to just chip it behind somebody and go get it, or just make the simple play and that’s one thing we’ve been talking about,” Quinn said. “This isn’t about special plays, this is about making the simple by over and over again and if you do that, the special plays will just happen. And I thought that line is doing a much better job of it.”
O’Regan also noted that the line has been playing in a much improved, simpler fashion as of late.
“We have been playing a lot better lately,” O’Regan said. “We are starting to work hard. Making the simple plays is starting to work out. We are three guys who have some pretty good chemistry and have been keeping it simple. I think that was the key tonight.”
But Quinn said ultimately, while the Terriers and the first line in particular have shown great improvement over the past few weeks, it is frustrating not to escape with a win.
“We’ve made a lot of strides, we’ve played a lot more purposeful, we’ve been a lot more mature as a hockey team over the last month and we don’t have a lot to show for it,” Quinn said. “… [I’m] happy with the effort, happy with the progress we’ve made, very disappointed in the result.”

13 thoughts on “1st line shows improvement against New Hampshire

  1. Why didn’t BU send notice that the game was canceled? I found out after I drive there with the kids. A sorry performance by the athletic department.

    • I found out after driving up from White Plains, NY. I did get to see an excellent women’s game. It’s hard to fault anyone, as frustrating as it may be, when there are safety issues to be considered.

    • Glen, you are always the voice of reason, thank you!
      Maybe it was UNH that didn’t want to come down but the negative people on this blog jump right into bashing BU personel. I wonder why some of them even come here. I know this season has not been great ( and that’s being kind I know) but can NO ONE find ANYTHING positive at all? It’s all complain complain complain, blame, blame , blame and whine, whine, whine. SO…thank you for always staying positive, even through these very difficult times. I can’t wait until we can say that we remained faithful throughout the bad times. (I do know there are a lot of trolls on here but I also know there are some very disgruntled “fans” that really need to learn the game and the process of rebuilding before they start throwing insults around.)
      BU will shine again….VERY soon!!

    • Thanks! Nobody has ever called me the voice of reason before. Today’s loss made me kinda glad that I didn’t stay an extra night at the hotel to see the make-up game. You’re totally right; BU will shine again … in a major way. In the meantime, I’m happy to have the women’s team to cheer. They really are a pleasure to watch on my lap-top and in person. This demonstrates the importance of a well diversified sports portfolio.

  2. Make Parker night the same game as Senior Night is an insult to the seniors. The seniors deserve their own night. Now they will be overshadowed by Parker.

    • Excellent point. Playing on a monday afternoon is an insult to the fans that have stood by this team all year. Pathetic!

  3. Lynch hates the hockey team. He takes hockey off radio when there is B ball. That had never been done before. He is a control freak. Won’t allow hockey to be number one. To him every sport is equal. Not so. We only play at a national level in hockey. He put the B ball team in a lower league then still tries to put the small crowds for same at the new arena. How much is this costing BU ? Lacrosse team but no wrestling or baseball? Makes no sense.

  4. Wait a second, the women’s game went on but the men’s game didn’t? How is BU going to explain that? The ticket holders for that game like me are lining up for refunds. If BU even tries not to pay, there will be hell to pay.

  5. Not sure who made the call but letting Parker overshadow the seniors is pathetic. Someone needs to wake up and make sure the seniors have the night to themselves.

  6. Line cohesion is key. That leads to shots, scoring chances, and goals. Since these forwards are coming back, this should be great come next season.

    Naturally, I won’t comment on what everyone else is commenting on, as there is a whole other blog post appropriate to that, except to note the trolling aspect of their comments

    • To Anon 9:10 am: There’s a very simple explanation: The women’s game was held from 3:00 to 5:10 pm on Saturday afternoon. During that time range, the roads were fine. That was totally not the case between 7:00 and 9:30 … the peak of the storm.

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