This time, in overtime, the No. 1 Boston University men’s hockey team couldn’t get it done.
Against the University of Maine on Friday, freshman forward Jack Eichel scored an overtime goal to give the Terriers a 3-2 victory. But against No. 18 Harvard University on Tuesday, BU couldn’t do it again in overtime, dropping a 3-2 contest to the Crimson by allowing a goal to captain Kyle Criscuolo.
As per usual, there’s plenty to nitpick from this game. Here’s some of the good, bad and ugly that we noticed:
Time to panic, everyone — for the first time this season, Eichel didn’t end up on the score sheet. Season’s over, guys. Pack it in. Eichel’s scoreless-ness on Tuesday snapped a 10-game streak of at least one point in each game. In that stretch, Eichel tallied a total of 19 points, including 12 assists.
Harvard’s crew said it knew coming in that Eichel would pose a threat, but the team’s head coach said he was pleased with how the Crimson matched up against him.
“I had a rosary bead in my coat pocket,” said Harvard head coach Ted Donato. “It certainly didn’t feel like he didn’t have points tonight. He’s dynamic. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Jack since he was probably 12 years old. His skill level, his ability to control the tempo of the game — he’s a tough matchup, but I think our guys tried to be aggressive, tried to angle him when we could.”
The Terriers are in the midst of a five-game, 10-day stretch. Playing a Tuesday game after wins on Friday and Saturday is certainly a daunting task, and BU head coach David Quinn noted his team looked sluggish at times, and was unable to adapt as a result.
“They caught us a little bit tired there in overtime,” Quinn said. “I thought we had control and a chance to change. They were able to change. We couldn’t get the puck deep and get off. We’re still learning how to change, they get a breakaway early in overtime because we make a right change and our guy stumbles getting on the ice and they get a breakaway.”
BU outshot the Crimson in every period, including three shots on goal to Harvard’s two in overtime. The Terriers, in total, had a 42-24 shots-on-goal advantage.
Harvard’s defense kept BU’s offensive attempts in check, blocking 33 of the Terriers’ 87 total shots attempted. BU also sent 12 shots wide. Additionally, Crimson goaltender Steve Michalek recorded 40 saves in the matchup.
“I thought there were good chances, but a lot of loose pucks lying around at the net front,” Quinn said. “We just couldn’t get a stick on it. One of the things that we talked about, we were at the net front, but I didn’t think that we were physical enough around the net.
“A lot of times, you get at that net front and there’s a 50/50 puck and you start fishing for it instead of leaning into somebody and throw them off-balance — it gives you better chance to possess it. Obviously, you would like better chances than we did tonight, but I thought we had some good ones. That’s a good team.”
Quality start, well-rounded effort
Quinn noted that the Terriers had their best start to a game in quite some time on Tuesday. BU has been noticeably sluggish out of the gates in many of its games this season — in its last game, against the University of Connecticut on Saturday, it took BU five minutes to record a shot on net.
Not on Tuesday. The Terriers jumped out to an early shot advantage, ending the first period with a 13-5 advantage. Quinn said he was pleased with his team’s effort not just in the first period, but also through the entire game, in which BU saw a number of shots.
“I thought that was the best game we played from start to finish in a while,” Quinn said. “I really did. Our guys were disappointed, but I really liked our effort, our focus, I thought we did a lot of good things. I thought our transition was good, I thought we defended well tonight.”
Freshman defenseman Brandon Hickey has quietly become an effective player for the BU squad, and showed some of his skill against the Crimson on Tuesday. In the game, Hickey had seven shots on net and assisted on junior forward Ahti Oksanen’s game-tying goal at 6:43 in the second period.
“I thought he played very well tonight,” Quinn said about the Calgary Flames prospect. “I thought he defended well, he moves the puck quickly, he skates so well, and he’s got a cannon for a shot, he was active offensively. He’s really coming on, he’s a very good player now and he’s got a great future for us.”