Pluses and Minuses: Second line, defensemen give BU life on offense

Brandon Hickey. PHOTO BY DANIEL GUAN/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Brandon Hickey. PHOTO BY DANIEL GUAN/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

The No. 2/3 Boston University men’s hockey team just keeps on winning, and did so again in the form of a 6-3 victory over the University of New Hampshire on Friday night at Agganis Arena. The Terriers now own the longest winning streak in the nation at seven — its longest win streak since the end of the 2009 championship season.

There was plenty we liked and didn’t like from that game. Here’s a small sampling:

Pluses

Second line shines
The second line of junior forward Ahti Oksanen, sophomore forward Robbie Baillargeon and senior assistant captain Cason Hohmann has been clicking as of late, and accounted for seven total points on Friday against the Wildcats. Andrew has more on that in his sider.

Defensemen scoring
A pair of BU defensemen also found their way onto the score sheet against UNH: junior captain Matt Grzelcyk and freshman defenseman Brandon Hickey.

Neither is a stranger to offensive production: Grzelcyk has two goals and 17 assists on the year, adding to his goal total with his tie-breaking goal with 2:50 left in the second period. Hickey, with his powerful shot, was able to tally a goal and an assist, boosting his season total to five goals and nine assists.

BU head coach David Quinn had nothing but praise for Hickey’s production after the game.

“He works incredibly hard,” Quinn said. “Loves hockey, has got a passion for the game, he’s got enthusiasm that’s infectious. He’s got a bunch of physical skills: he skates well, he shoots it a ton. Does a great job getting a shot to the net, but it’s hard it’s low. He’s physical, he’s good defensively.

“He’s had a heck of a year, be hard-pressed to find many freshmen defensemen better.”

Fashion choices
The Boston Hockey Blog fully endorses Hickey’s postgame attire from Friday night, which included a white cap with a picture of Hohmann’s face taped to the front.

“We thought it would be pretty funny if someone walked in wearing the Hohmann hat,” Hickey said. “A double Hohmann interview.”

“I don’t know how that hat got made but it’s been around the locker room,” Hohmann said. “People have been wearing it around, so it’s pretty funny.”

Minuses

Defensive lapses
BU — a team that entered the game giving up an average of just 2.15 goals per game — allowed UNH to tie the game at three goals apiece, less than three minutes after the Terriers had taken a 3-1 lead.

“I just thought were, in particular in the first two periods, irresponsible with the puck and really weren’t committed to playing defense,” Quinn said. “It became a little bit of a track meet, exchanging chances, and that’s certainly not how we want to play. I thought we did a much better job in the third period of being responsible.”

How did they make that adjustment? Simplicity.

“You just try to simplify everything,” Hickey said. “Bear down the D zone, make sure you’re clearing guys out in front of the net. We’re just trying to get back to simple hockey. Just relax and go out and play our game because we know if we play our game and shut everyone down, we have our opportunities to capitalize as well.”

Streak comes to an end
It’s pretty hard to criticize a guy who just got 27 points in 11 games, but it was still a bit disappointing to see senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues’ point streak end on Friday. He had four shots on goal against UNH, but none could cross the goal line. All good things must come to an end, I suppose.