Whew. That was an exhausting one.
The No. 2 Boston University men’s hockey team scored nine goals in a game for the first time since 2007, but its game against the University of Massachusetts on Friday was more of a whirlwind than that total indicates — the game was tied with under 6:30 remaining.
The Terriers ultimately came away with the 9-5 win. There was a lot to swallow with that one, but I’ll try to break down what we did and didn’t like as best I can:
Have yourself a night, Evan
Senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues has been on a roll as of late, and we’ve talked a lot about it. Tonight, he found his way onto the score sheet six times with six assists against UMass — and nearly a seventh time, but what would have been a third-period goal for senior assistant captain Cason Hohmann was waved off.
The six assists ties a program record, last accomplished by Ron Anderson in 1972.
“He’s a heck of a hockey player,” said BU coach David Quinn. “He’s a really good hockey player: Tough, skilled, fast, really smart, a kid that really understands what’s going on out there. He’s got a bright future.
“We’re going to lean on him heavily down the stretch.”
The tallies extended Rodrigues’ point streak to nine games. He has a total of 21 points in that span.
The six helpers tonight boosted his season point total to 34, good for second in Hockey East and fifth in the nation. He is also tied with freshman forward Jack Eichel for the team lead in assists (25).
You too, Ahti
Junior forward Ahti Oksanen also had a strong night, recording his the first hat trick of his collegiate career. He is the second Terrier to record three goals in a single game, as junior forward Danny O’Regan notched one against Merrimack College on Dec. 6.
Oksanen has scored 16 goals this season, including six goals in his last four games.
The BU defensive corps has been a steady source of offense for the Terriers this season, and Friday night was no different.
Freshman Brandon Hickey tallied the first and final goals of the game for his first collegiate multi-goal game and to bring his season total to four, the most among all D-men on the BU roster.
“He can really shoot a puck,” Quinn said about Hickey. “I don’t know if there’s a guy in the league who gets more pucks through than him. He keeps it low, he can shoot any type of puck. You don’t have to put it on a platter for him.”
Junior captain Matt Grzelcyk notched the game-winner midway through the third period for his first goal of the season. He had two more assists in the game. Freshman Brandon Fortunato also added a pair of assists.
The Terriers went 6-of-8 on the power play on Friday — easily their best performance on the man advantage all season. Hickey and Oksanen each had a pair of power-play goals, and Eichel and Grzelcyk tallied the other two.
BU now owns the second-best power-play percentage in the nation, at .269.
Despite scoring six power-play goals, the Terriers allowed three power-play goals to the Minutemen.
Two of these UMass goals came within a minute and a half of each other, after a costly five-minute major call on Rodrigues, who was sent to the box after a boarding call. A goal from forward Shane Walsh tied the game, and another from forward Frank Vatrano gave UMass its first lead of the game at 4-3.
“Obviously penalties were a major problem for us tonight,” Quinn said. “We just can’t take that many penalties and continue to expect to have success, especially against a power play like that.”
UMass forward Troy Power also notched a goal 10 seconds after junior forward Danny O’Regan was sent to the box for slashing in the second period.
“If we’re going to have the success we think we’re capable of having, we just can’t take those types of penalties,” Quinn said.
Quinn didn’t put any of the blame on freshman goaltender Connor LaCouvee, who earned his fifth start of the season on Friday, for the five goals allowed in the game.
“I feel bad for LaCouvee because he looked like he was just a victim,” Quinn said. “He certainly played well. There wasn’t, I think, anything he could’ve done for anything of the five.”
A few mental lapses, instead, gave UMass extra chances. Most notably, a poor turnover from junior forward Mike Moran along the boards led to the Minutemen’s first goal of the game.