Pluses and Minuses: Rodrigues ties program record in scorefest with UMass

Whew. That was an exhausting one.

Evan Rodrigues. PHOTO BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DFP STAFF
Evan Rodrigues. PHOTO BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DFP STAFF

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:

Pluses

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.

Defensemen scoring
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.

Power play

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.

Minuses

Penalties
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.

Turnovers
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.

11 thoughts on “Pluses and Minuses: Rodrigues ties program record in scorefest with UMass

  1. Although the offensive explosion was a thing of beauty last night, the goalie was poor. I understand why Quinn took a shot at playing him, but he looked very shaky. He could not close the five hole

    With O’C ready to leave early, his loss might be felt as much as Eichel’s departure. They say McGuire is back in school, but after a year of not playing competitive hockey, there are major question marks that surround him

    I guess we just enjoy the ride this year

  2. I agree, Peter, that there could be a goalie problem next year. O’Connor will leave and I think Quinn knows it. I don’t think he is quick enough but has gotten so much better than last year.
    I just hope Somerby is ok as he was hurt on the last action of the game and we need him against Harvard and (?) BC.

  3. I know Quinn said in his post game that it was not Lacouvee’s fault, but I think he was just trying to protect him and pump up his tires. Not saying he was to blame for all five goals, but he looked unsteady to me at times

    I see Harvard lost their best defenseman – McNally. Also, I think the Crimson are 2-4-1 in last 7 games. Not taking them lightly but they are not as invincible as they once looked. Vecey scares me. Big time player

  4. Weird, sloppy game. BU should not have allowed 5 goals to that UMASS team. D looked shaky only 1 of the goals Lacouvee allowed was soft IMO.

    BU looked like they slept walked through much of the 2nd period despite getting 16 SOG. While the box score might look impressive, it waa far from an impressive win IMO.

    The 17 goals scored in 2 games vs. UMASS are more of a statistical anomaly compared to the other 22 regular season games to date this season. Also, despite the tremendous offensive success of Eichel, Rodrigues, O’Regan, and Oksanen, this team REALLY needs secondary scoring from Hohmann and Baillargeon down the stretch to take some of the load off the top.

    In any event, bring on Harvard and hope BU can finally end the losing streak against the Crimson.

  5. I think this will be a somewhat different Harvard team than the one we faced in November with the injuries to McNally, Kerfoot, and Malone. Still dangerous but not at full strength

    With O’C back between the pipes, I feel confident. Plus the BU O’Regan has to win one against his brother. Perhaps a Beanpot win will make up for the previous losses

  6. I agree with the goalie issue. I’m not a huge fan of O’C either so I’m hoping they are doing some deep recruiting to get a goalie. Although LaCouvee did seem to be the victim of few times of being left out to dry. I think he’s better than what he showed however, with not much playing time, who knows!
    I think what we saw last night was playing down to the competition. I think when BU went up 2-0 they kind of sat back on their heels. That 5 min major sure brought them back to reality! They need to play 150% no matter who the competition is. Every team is going to be hyped up to play BU. And I think sometimes we as fans might expect too much as well. I mean think about it….last year 10 wins TOTAL…..and this year ranked between 1-3 weekly…HUGE success….not saying I dont want them to win ALL the time, I DO! it’s just This is Quinn & Co. 1st yr with kids they recruited and all I can say is WOW! (YES, Eichel was Parker’s recruit…..I know I know) but there are some awesome kids on this team with so much promise. The (BU) future is sure looking bright!!
    GO PATS! Go BU!!

  7. Allison,
    I free that Quinn and Co are fabulous recruiters and this season has been wonderful to witness

    However, we are potentially losing some great players – O’C, Gryzlic, O’Regan, Oksanan, Eichel, not to mention E-Rod. These are very talented players who are experienced. That is the key. I hear this recruiting class is great, but unless they are all named Eichel, they are going to take some time to develop to the rigors of HE against older players.

    Sometimes with all this early signing rigamarole, it seems like two steps forward and one step back. Not they might not all leave, but rumors are swirling.

    Your thoughts?

  8. I definitely see your point. I know Eichel is AMAZING and even he has had some tough games as well. (I have a gut feeling he will not be leaving at the end of this year. I hear his father LOVES Quinn and has personally thanked him on more than one occasion for taking care of Jack, not only as a player but as a person, student etc.) Now I’m certainly no expert but I think jack would benefit with another year at this level before the NHL. Jeez the kid just turned 18 a few months ago.)
    Thing is these kids are so young and you’re right, def will need some time to adjust, But let’s think about this….this class of freshman will now have a full year under their belt come Sept so although they won’t be “seasoned” they will have already been through a season. There are some really really good recruits coming in so who knows…we may already have replacements for those who are leaving and we just don’t know it yet! 😛

  9. That is a good point that I did not consider. I hope the forwards – Greer, Piccinich, Phelps – can raise their game up a few notches, especially Greer. I was concerned that he did not play on Friday. If it was not a case of injury, he could become disgruntled and leave as well. Many of these modern day athletes have an inflated view of their abilities

    I think when Quinn rested Eichel for the Union game, it was very much appreciated by his parents. And I would be too if he were my kid. He cared more about the human being than the hockey player. So he might stay another year under Quinn to get stronger before he mixes it up with the big boys

    But the goalie situation is so iffy. If you are weak in net, I don’t care how much fire power you have. In the words of the esteemed Jack Parker, they should have called the game “goalie”

    So pardon my angst about the future. It is the present that matters. Go terriers!!!!

  10. I would be very surprised if more then one of the non-senior players Peter mentioned leave early. I have heard nothing about such early departures. I would expect OC to leave early … not the others. As for Eichel, I agree that there’s a chance he could stay for that second year. No matter how much he’s proved himself this season, it’s a very awkward thing for an 18 year old to be on a professional team. They go out at night and he cannot (being under 21). Being among 21-35 year old men (some who have families) might not be the ideal lifestyle fit for someone who’ll only be 19 next year (despite how mature Jack is).

    I would definitely have liked to see more offensive production from Greer, Piccinich and Phelps. Before this season started, I saw a few mock drafts that had Greer as a late first round pick. Piccinich was a power-play scoring machine in the USHL last season, and Phelps was a key member of the highly regarded Shattuck Saint Mary’s prep school program. Let’s hope they find their way in the world of D-1 Hockey.

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