HARTFORD, Connecticut — No. 8 Boston University fell to the University of Connecticut in a rough 5-2 loss at the XL Center on Tuesday evening.
“I certainly thought they were ready to go from the get go,” BU head coach David Quinn said in reference to UConn in his press conference following the game, before admitting that his team didn’t have the same sense of energy until the third period.
Usually for these posts, we introduce them by saying something to the extent of “here’s some of what we liked, and what we didn’t like.” This time around, though, there wasn’t really much of anything we liked. Nonetheless, we proceed:
Urgency and maturity
Immaturity has been an issue this season, and Quinn said it plagued BU again on Tuesday. With two goals allowed and three penalties committed in the second period, the Terriers found themselves in a 3-1 hole and unable to escape.
Quinn also noted that BU’s inability to block shots on Tuesday contributed to its downfall.
“One of the things I thought we did a great job of on Saturday night was blocking shots,and tonight we let everything get through us,” Quinn said. “We didn’t win battles at the net front, and that was the story of the game. Right now we’re just playing an immature game.”
While BU became more aggressive in the third period, outshooting UConn 15-7 in the frame, it was too little, too late — by the time the score was 3-1, the momentum had already swung in the Huskies’ favor.
“You can’t wait till you’re down 3-1 and play with an urgency,” Quinn said.
“The key to the game is we couldn’t make it 3-2 and we had plenty of chances to early on in the third,” Quinn added. “But, like I said, we’re playing with more urgency and they’re playing a bit more conservative and they waited to get on the power play and they burned us.”
Both senior assistant captain Danny O’Regan and freshman forward Ryan Cloonan had shots ring off the post in Tuesday’s game. Senior forward Ahti Oksanen, who led the team in goals last season, has yet to buy a goal four games into the season.
In Saturday’s win over the Huskies, Oksanen’s shots found multiple posts. Despite four shots on goal on Tuesday, he still couldn’t make it happen in the second matchup against UConn.
“I hope it’s bad luck,” Quinn said. “It’d be more alarming if he [Oksanen] wasn’t getting chances. He had plenty of chances again tonight, and I know it’s weighing on him, but we’re four games into it. There’s a lot of hockey to be played.”
The story of the night, as Quinn said following the game, was BU’s failure on the penalty kill. Jon Sigal, who’ll be covering the team next year, filled in for Andrew tonight, and has a whole bunch about the special teams in his sider.
We at the Boston Hockey Blog try and be mostly neutral, but can’t help but be somewhat bitter when someone mixes up the name of our university. Thumbs down on our end to the PA guy for calling a BU penalty tonight a “penalty on Boston College.”
BU, at the very least, got 38 shots on goal in the matchup. UConn goalie Rob Nichols, however, saved 36 of those. Junior forward Robbie Baillargeon led the team with six shots on net — equal to his season total in shots. As mentioned earlier, Oksanen had four shots on goal, while his linemate O’Regan had five shots on goal. Even the fourth line, featuring sophomore Chase Phelps, senior Mike Moran and sophomore Nikolas Olsson, combined for eight shots on goal.
But much like Quinn said about Oksanen specifically, it’d be a larger concern for BU if it wasn’t getting opportunities at all.
We here at the BHB are big fans of “Brass Bonanza,” which plays every time UConn scores a goal. So we got to hear that five times, at least.