Looking to bounce back after seeing its five-game unbeaten streak snapped against No. 18 Harvard Tuesday night, the No. 1 Boston University men’s hockey team once again manufactured another third-period comeback en route to a 5-2 win over No. 9 Colgate University Saturday evening at Agganis Arena.
Here’s a look at what went right and wrong for the Terriers:
Grzelcyk makes his mark
He may not have found the back of the net Saturday night against the Raiders, but junior captain Matt Grzelcyk perhaps had the biggest impact for the Terriers in their tilt with their ECAC foe.
The Charlestown native registered a career-high three assists while also finishing the night with a plus-3 rating. Throughout the game, Grzelcyk threw pucks on net, allowing his teammates to capitalize on multiple rebound opportunities, including Danny O’Regan’s quick wrister score at 18:33 to give BU some breathing room.
Paired alongside freshman Brien Diffley on the first D-pair, Grzelcyk also helped quell a Colgate offense that mustered just 17 shots over the final 40 minutes of play.
“Matt had a phenomenal game,” said BU coach David Quinn after the game. “I thought that was his best game of the year. I thought he was immense. Three assists are a reflection of not just his skill level, but his grit and determination.”
Finishing strong … again
Another win, another third-period run by the Terriers. Nothing new to see here.
Facing a 2-1 deficit coming out of second intermission, BU tallied four unanswered goals in the final stanza to earn their ninth win of the year — just one fewer than the team had all of last season.
Freshman forward Jack Eichel got the scoring started just 16 seconds into the period with a wrister that sailed past Colgate netminder Charlie Finn to knot the game at 2-2.
BU would eventually put the game away with two goals from senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues and junior forward Danny O’Regan, giving the Terriers some momentum going into its game Sunday evening against Dartmouth College.
“I wish I could tell you that we had some secret formula, that we made some masterful adjustments, but that certainly wasn’t the case,” Quinn said when asked about his team’s adjustments in Saturday’s game. “I just thought we got more determined, we got more physical. We were a little bit more abrasive, which we haven’t been.
“It seems like the more … ‘success’ we’ve had, we’ve gotten away from being combative and making people angry. I don’t mean by swearing at them or slashing them. I mean by playing hard, we’re aggravating people and we haven’t done that enough lately. I thought as the game went on, we did a better job of it, but we still have a long ways to go.”
Throughout this season, Quinn has remarked that the Terriers have struggled with being too “cute” out on the ice and relying too much on talent and trailing away from a physical style of play.
BU went back to basics against the Raiders, and the results showed.
BU crashed the net on multiple instances Saturday night, cashing in on rebound chances generated from players such as Grzelcyk and freshman defenseman Brandon Hickey who recorded six shots on the night.
“I thought we did a much better job getting to the net, there were actually times where we saw that had guys at the net,” Quinn said. “We were wreaking havoc a little bit. The fourth goal, Danny O’Regan standing there. … Danny O’Regan had a great, great night. I know he only had one point, but he was solely responsible for the third and four goal just by standing at the net and taking a beating.
“We need to incorporate that a lot more into our game. I think as this year has gone on, we’ve been a little too cute, a little too fine and we’ve lost that grit factor in our game.”
A troubling trend
Fitting alongside the third-period comeback that has served as a prevailing narrative throughout the 2014-15 campaign for the Terriers, BU once again labored over the first 20 minutes of play, compiling just six shots while constantly being battered into the boards by an aggressive Colgate forecheck.
Through 12 games this season, the Terriers have compiled only four first-period goals.
“If we had the answer to that, we’d change that. we don’t know,” Rodrigues said. “We’ve been trying some different things before the game. It’s just a theme that obviously you want to kick, but at the same time, we’re still winning games, so you don’t want to change too much. But obviously it’s something we need to fix by the time February, March and April come.”
While he has made impressive strides from his freshman campaign, sophomore defenseman Doyle Somerby had a night to forget Saturday against Colgate — finishing the game as the only Terrier with a minus rating (minus-1).
The New York Islanders pick was burned on Colgate’s first notch on the scoreboard, as forward Tyson Sprink undressed the Terrier blueliner with a set of dangles before besting BU goaltender Matt O’Connor with a backhand shot at 4:20 in the first to give Colgate a 1-0 lead.