NEW YORK — It doesn’t count as more than a tie in the standings, but David Quinn and his bunch might be feeling as if they were winners in this one.
Trailing by two goals after two periods, the No. 11 Boston University men’s hockey team rallied for three goals in the third period to finish with a 3-3 draw against No. 16 Cornell University at Red Hot Hockey.
The Terriers (7-4-3, 3-2-2 Hockey East) did win in a subsequent shootout after a scoreless overtime, and thus won the Kelley-Harkness Trophy for the second consecutive time. BU remains unbeaten in the biannual game with Cornell (6-1-2) at Madison Square Garden with a 3-0-2 record.
We’ll take a look at what went right and wrong for BU in this Manhattan edition of Pluses and Minuses.
Greer and Greenway break out
Sophomore forward A.J. Greer hadn’t scored a goal in a game in seven months. Freshman winger Jordan Greenway was scoreless with BU before Saturday night.
Both came through for for the Terriers on the big stage.
Greer and Greenway scored their first goals of the season in a frantic three-goal third period, helping BU earn a point for the eighth time in nine games.
Exiting after the first period of a Nov. 14 game against No. 1 Providence College, sophomore forward Nikolas Olsson sat out the last four games with what the team called an upper-body injury.
He returned to the lineup Saturday and made an impact with the third line, especially in the third period.
Olsson skated along the right-wing boards and made a crisp pass to center ice that helped set up Bobo Carpenter‘s goal at 5:36 of the third. The goal started a swing of momentum in BU’s favor, as the Terriers scored three minutes later on Greer’s goal, one that was also set up by Olsson.
The third line, as a whole, totaled five points and nine shots on goal during Saturday night’s contest.
“I think it’s a collective effort,” Greer said of his line. “The defensemen moved the puck up quick, and the first couple of shifts, we thought we held our stick too tight so we were kind of nervous, but then as the game went on we started working down low and just doing our job and using the back of the net.
“We got bodies out front, and they rewarded us in the third period. Those goals were big.”
Moving in right direction
It’s been a long stretch of tough games in November for BU, which has now played a top-20 opponent in three consecutive weekends. The Terriers came away with five points in those five games, earning one win and three ties in the process.
Though he would’ve liked to see his team take more wins out of these recent games, Quinn said after Saturday’s tie that he is pleased with where the team is headed as it moves to the second half of the year.
“I like where we’re going,” Quinn said. “I like the direction we’re going. Obviously we still have to get better, we have to get off to better starts. Though like I said, statistically, we didn’t score a goal, but I thought we were playing well.”
They didn’t win this time, but the Terriers still haven’t lost a Red Hot Hockey game since its inception in 2007.
BU has earned eight of 10 possible points in the five games played against Cornell, and has now won the Kelley-Harkness Trophy both times since it was created in 2013.
A 20 percent success rate on the power play is usually about average, and that holds true for the Terriers, who are sixth in Hockey East in that category.
Average, however, hasn’t been good enough, and Quinn acknowledged this postgame.
“Our power play was disappointing, weren’t able to capitalize in overtime,” Quinn said. “Statistically our power play looks okay, but we’ve really got to get better on the power play. I think we’re just a little bit too slow, too methodical, we’re stick handling too much, and there’s just too much thinking going on out there.”
BU went 0-for-4 with the extra man against Cornell, but did garner 14 shots on goal. But the problem wasn’t getting the puck to the net, it was about finishing, or lack thereof.
There were power-play opportunities for BU in the second period after each Big Red goal, but neither were converted. The same went for the man advantages in the third period and overtime.
It wasn’t as if BU was completely outplayed in the first period, but the game just felt slow, and the Terriers never really got in a rhythm in the first 20 minutes.
BU did actually lead in shots at 10-9 after one, but there were few high-percentage opportunities. The same could be said for the initial minutes of the second, where Cornell broke through with two goals.
Tonight’s beginning could’ve had to do with nerves, as Quinn admitted even he was battling with “heart palpitations” on the bench.
“I thought early on, they were controlling the play for the first 10 minutes,” Quinn said, “and then I thought we started getting our legs under us a little bit and started playing much better, playing the way we need to play if we’re going to have success.”
Andrew Battifarano also helped write this but we can’t do co-bylines on the blog. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
A midseason Tuesday night game against an Atlantic Hockey Association opponent might, in the big picture of an entire schedule, be one of those games that you could see as a possible letdown.
Sandwiched in between two weekends that involve No. 12 University of Michigan and Red Hot Hockey, Tuesday night could have been a game the No. 11 Boston University men’s hockey team might have overlooked.
But this was not the case for the Terriers (7-4-2, 3-2-2 Hockey East), who defeated Bentley University, 3-0, on Tuesday night at Agganis Arena.
From start to finish, BU controlled the pace of play. The Terriers got an early goal from senior assistant captain Danny O’Regan and never let up from there.
There was a lot to like in this rebound win for BU, so we’ll breakdown what exactly went right, and wrong, in this weeknight edition of Pluses and Minuses.
Mike Moran and the fourth line
If you take one quick glance at Tuesday’s scoresheet, you won’t find any of the fourth-line skaters at the top of it for being involved in any goals. So why are we including them as a plus?
They didn’t record any points, but the entire fourth line had a consistent effort all three periods that shouldn’t go unrecognized.
Moran had a season-high six shots on goal, which all seemed to be in and around the net. He had golden opportunities in the first and third periods, but was robbed by Bentley (5-5-1) goaltender Gabe Antoni each time. He put his head back in frustration after a missed chance of the third, but not all hope was lost for Moran, as he was recognized as the No. 2 star of the game.
As for junior winger Tommy Kelley and sophomore forward Chase Phelps, they recorded a combined three shots, but also made smart chip passes into the zone and pressed hard on the forecheck.
“That line played very well,” Quinn said. “All three of those guys were impactful. Mike probably had his best game of the year. I liked the way he was skating, and he had a nose for the net. Tommy Kelley had a really great night too. I was really happy with his night. Obviously he’s been in a tough situation, but to get a chance and take advantage of it, I’m happy for him.”
The senior goaltender hadn’t played in nearly a month, as Quinn continued to ride sophomore goalie Connor LaCouvee over the last seven games. But Maguire got the chance to play against Bentley and made the most of it.
It wasn’t as if Bentley peppered him from all angles of the ice, but Maguire was solid when he had to be, finishing the evening with 15 saves and a shutout. His moment of the quiet night came in the third period when he robbed freshman Alexy Solovyev of a would-be goal when he stopped the puck with a combination of his stick and right arm.
It was the fifth shutout of Maguire’s college career and first since March 15, 2013 when he blanked Merrimack College in the Hockey East quarterfinals.
“That’s not an easy game to play,” Quinn said. “And he looked good. He looked good. The few times he was tested, I mean, he made an unbelievable save at one point with his stick, reaching back.”
After a pretty awful showing against Michigan, at least in terms of putting in a “full 60” effort, the Terriers managed to come back together and put forth a consistent effort.
In the two games against Michigan, BU totaled 52 shots on goal for the weekend. Against the Falcons, they almost matched that total, with 47 in the game. And in general, BU controlled possession, made better passes and was overall a whole lot less sloppy.
Quinn credited his team’s leaders with helping to energize the team, despite the short turnaround.
“I thought our captains did a great job of pulling our guys together after a disappointing loss,” Quinn said. “Not only the fact that we lost, but how we lost, and how lethargic we looked and slow we looked over the weekend, but to bounce back and be mentally engaged and focused … [we were] thorough and control the pace of play.”
Quinn said there were only about five or six minutes at the beginning of the third period against Bentley where BU might not have played at the same standard of intensity, but overall, it was a lot more consistently pressing from start to finish than either of the Michigan games.
We made a cool video
We haven’t plugged this on the blog yet, so we figured: Why not now?
A few weeks ago we came up with the idea to have some of the hockey players design hand turkeys as part of a small Thanksgiving feature, and it turned out to be absolutely hilarious and awesome to see which players were capable of anything artistic. You can see the end results in the gallery here.
And our new pals Claudia DeTrempe and Matt Guthrie helped construct a video of the whole process, which you can watch here:
We’re really scraping from the bottom of the barrel on this one. Other than the aforementioned five or six less-intense minutes, and maybe a mild criticism of the quality of the shots BU took as the game progressed, there’s really not much to criticize when BU out-attempts its opposition 82-35.
If anything major can be criticized, it could be that frankly, this game was, well, boring. It wasn’t anything unexpected, given that it was a. a Tuesday-night matchup b. two days before Thanksgiving c. against a non-conference, non-marquee opponent. But with just 3,475 fans in attendance, the building completely lacked energy. That’s not the lowest attendance at Agganis this season, as that distinction belongs to the University of Denver game on Halloween, where just 3,084 people showed up. But at least that game had a back-and-forth energy, and the building had something to get excited and invested in.
Tonight, Agganis was quiet from start to finish. Again, nothing unexpected, and a win is a win. But this was one of the harder games for fans — and us — to stay engaged in, I think it’s fair to say.
There were more than 40 minutes of sloppy play for the No. 10 Boston University men’s hockey team on Saturday.
Unlike Friday’s comeback win that saw the Terriers (6-4-2, 3-2-2 Hockey East) struggle for two periods before breaking out in the third and defeating the No. 12 University of Michigan, BU couldn’t put together a comparable final frame effort in game two.
Instead, the Terriers labored through almost all 60 minutes and fell by a score of 4-2 to the Wolverines (6-2-1), earning a split on the weekend.
“The good news is we did get a win this weekend, so it’s not like we got swept, but the game doesn’t lie to you, and it just didn’t feel great this weekend, even though we did win a game,” said head coach David Quinn.
There wasn’t a ton to like about this one, but here’s a look at BU’s pluses and minuses from the loss.
Since a lot of the things that went wrong for BU are hard to really talk about completely separate from one another, I’m just going to give this a go in one big chunk.
Slow starts and taking a step back
Quinn stressed on Friday that he was happy with the progress his team has made in the past three weeks and how it’s performed, staying out of the loss column for six straight games. And while the Terriers were able to put their all into the third period during the first game of the weekend and pull out a win, they still looked unlike themselves in five of six total periods.
“They [Michigan] were the better team over the weekend, without question,” he said Saturday. “It’s disappointing because I really feel over the past three weekends, we’ve really done a good job getting better and doing the things we have to do to have success, and we obviously took a big step back this weekend.”
BU was slow, sluggish and playing without energy in two straight games, and Quinn said he takes a lot of responsibility for that. Good players didn’t play well, and when that happens, he said, as a coach you ask yourself what happened.
Michigan was quicker, more physical, playing at a higher pace and winning most one-on-one battles throughout the game, Quinn said.
“You can X and O people all you want, but this game is forever a game of one-on-one,” he continued. “I know people don’t like to talk about that, but you’ve got to win your one-on-one battles in all three zones. And they would get the puck in their own end, and it would be the same guy cruising through our zone uncontested. And you just can’t play hockey like that.”
He also noted that the team wasn’t as physical in open ice as it might have needed to be in order to succeed. Hockey, as a game, gets more physical along the boards and then less so as the puck travels through open ice. When the Terriers are physical, Quinn said, and challenge opponents everywhere on the ice, they’re a lot more effective.
“If you can have a football mentality, and I certainly don’t mean tackling, but I mean, taking pride in not allowing a guy to gain ice, you’re going to have a much better chance to have success,” Quinn said. “And we just didn’t have that. And you need to be moving your legs to do that, and you need to have a willingness to be physical. And we just didn’t have a lot of that this weekend.”
Senior forward Matt Lane, in line with Quinn’s assessment of the team, said BU could have been sharper in certain facets of the game, like passing.
“You see some passes in guys’ feet, or just missed passes, whether they’re soft, or too hard,” he said. “We know we’re a skilled team, and we know that’s a part of our game. We can definitely be sharper.”
While Michigan is strong and gave the Terriers trouble, it’s still on them to take responsibility for failing to generate offense, Lane said. BU was out-attempted 63-55, a margin of eight shot attempts, but only got 21 of those on goal compared to the Wolverines’ 38.
“We missed too many nets, we didn’t get enough traffic in front, and that leads to less zone time,” Lane said. “Just a combination of those things leads to a lack of shots, a lack of scoring chances, things that we’ve done so well over the last few weeks just seemed to disappear tonight. That’s on us.
“We can’t afford to play 20-minute games in this league, especially against a good team like Michigan,” he added. “And just it’s tough to see that back-to-back nights. We’ve got to turn the page.”
Still, Quinn is confident the team will be able to get back to doing what it had been until this weekend.
“I have a lot of faith in this group,” he said. “I have a lot of faith in our seniors, and like I said, it feels worse than it is, because we lost in the fashion that we lost, but we just split with Michigan. And probably didn’t play great. But we’ve got to get back in the saddle and get ready to play a really important game on Tuesday.”
Toward the end of the third period, BU had a scare when senior captain Matt Grzelcyk tried to check a Wolverine into the endboards and fell to his knees. He couldn’t get up without assistance and was helped off the ice and down the tunnel.
The blue liner returned from his offseason knee surgery recovery just two weeks ago on Nov. 6 when the Terriers hosted Northeastern University. It looked like the team might have lost its captain again, but following the game, Quinn said the knee Grzelcyk injured on Saturday, his left, was not the same one that he had the surgery on over the summer and that it wasn’t an ACL injury. In fact, the medical staff told him they thought he might be able to play Tuesday when Bentley University comes to Agganis Arena.
“We’re very optimistic that he actually might be able to play Tuesday,” Quinn said.
The offense as a whole did not have a particularly memorable game, but Lane was able to net one of BU’s two goals on the night. He drove to the cage with the puck with 2:23 to play in the second period and slipped it between netminder Steve Racine’s legs, putting the Terriers on the board.
Luckily for the Terriers, they have a chance to get back to playing the type of hockey they built on in recent weeks. Lane said the next couple of days will be spent thinking about what the team has to do to win. He said BU will have to “come out of the gates flying and play a full 60-minute game.”
“We’re going to take care of ourselves,” he added. “We’re all in good shape. And to be honest, it’s an advantage. We don’t gotta sit with this for long, we get another game in a couple days, hopefully get another win there, and move forward.”