After two unsuccessful attempts against Dartmouth College and Merrimack College over the last week, the No. 2/3 Boston University men’s hockey team finally matched its win total from the 2013-14 campaign, besting the Warriors 4-2 Saturday night at Agganis Arena.
The Terriers (10-3-2, 7-1-2 Hockey East) scored four goals over the first two periods to pad a comfortable cushion against the Warriors (10-5-2, 4-4-1 Hockey East), with junior forward Danny O’Regan notching his first collegiate hat trick in the process.
Here’s a look at what went right and wrong for the Terriers Saturday night:
Hats off to O’Regan
Less than a week after seeing his 10-game point streak come to an end against Dartmouth (5-4-1), O’Regan acclimated himself back on the BU box score Saturday, lighting the lamp three times en route to his first-career hat trick and four-point game.
The San Jose Sharks draft pick was a constant presence on offense anytime he was out on the ice, leading the team with 10 shots while compiling a plus-4 rating.
O’Regan’s most notable play might have been his first tally, as the junior skated his way into the slot, picked up a centering feed from freshman center Jack Eichel and deked past Merrimack goaltender Collin Delia before depositing the puck by way of a backhand shot into the Warriors’ net.
Standing at 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists) on the year, O’Regan is tied for first in Hockey East in goals and is just one point off his total scoring output from last season.
“Yeah, it was awesome,” O’Regan said about his three-goal night. “Really exciting. I was lucky enough to be in the right spot at the right time, and had the benefit of some really good plays by my teammates.”
Eichel shares the wealth
Reports of Eichel’s demise are greatly exaggerated.
After being held pointless in three of BU’s last four games, the freshman center tallied four assists against the Warriors — his second four-point showing this season (Oct. 10 at UMass-Amherst).
Eichel, who was named Hockey East Player of the Month on Wednesday, paces all Hockey East skaters in points (25), assists (17) and plus-minus (plus-20).
“You just kind of have to get to the right spot and I know he’s going to get around a couple people and find me,” O’Regan said of his linemate. “I just have be patient and go to the right areas. He’s got the ability that nobody else really has to just skate around people. I just keep it simple, try to get him the puck with speed, and he’s always looking to give it back.”
Hickey cashes in
Entering Saturday’s game tied for the team lead in points amongst defenseman (seven) freshman defenseman Brandon Hickey’s strong first-half play was finally rewarded when the Leduc, Alberta native notched his first collegiate goal at 2:46 in the second period.
After entering into Warrior’s zone, Eichel sent off a centering pass to a trailing Hickey, who promptly roofed the puck over Merrimack goaltender Collin Delia’s right shoulder to give BU a commanding 3-0 lead.
For more on Hickey’s performance and the strong play from BU’s first-year blueliners this season, check out Sarah’s sider.
Somerby’s costly penalty
While the Terriers entered the second intermission with a comfortable three-goal advantage, a costly play from sophomore defenseman Doyle Somerby could have changed the entire complexion of the third period.
The Marblehead native was flagged for both a game misconduct and a five-minute major penalty after crushing freshman Brett Seney into the boards behind the BU net at 6:34 in the final stanza.
While the Terriers penalty-kill unit negated the Warriors’ extended power-play, Merrimack would eventually cut the deficit to two after forward Brian Christie scored his second goal of the game at 14:45.
Third Period … Woes?
In what has been a major departure from a prevalent narrative this season, the Terriers’ dragged themselves to the finish line over the final 20 minutes of play.
For the first time all season, BU was outscored in the third period, with Christie’s score standing as the only mark for either team in the final stanza. While BU outshot the Warriors by a 34-20 margin over the first 40 minutes of play, both squads settled for 12 shots apiece in the third, thanks in large part to four BU penalties.
“Obviously, the third period disappointing with the four penalties and the five-minute major, that kind of made it interesting,” said BU coach David Quinn. “But, a great weekend for us.”