Pluses and Minuses: Terriers ‘lethargic’ in loss to Michigan

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Senior forward Matt Lane. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

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.

Minuses

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.”

Offense, or lack thereof

For a more detailed look at the specifics of BU’s offensive struggles, check out Sarah’s sider.

Pluses

Not the same knee, not an ACL

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.

 Matt Lane

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.

Quick turnaround

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.”

55 thoughts on “Pluses and Minuses: Terriers ‘lethargic’ in loss to Michigan”

  1. It’s a common trend dumb awful penalties at the wrong time today example come out flying great first shift energy level is up Greer another stupid unnecessary penalty kill that of and take another one so 6 mins into the game u killing 4 min of penalty and never got the game back. .. McAvoy sitting for a long time in the 2nd period is good but there is alot more kids who need to relax on the bench a lil… let’s go terriers

  2. I’m very concerned about the revival of last year’s trend to be MIA offensively in the first period. We got away with it last season … mainly due to Eichel and a few others.

  3. We got badly put played in 5 out of 6 periods this weekend. I am not saying there is shame in splitting with a talented Michigan team, but the way we played was disturbing. On some levels, I would rather play great and lose, than play lackluster and split. there is more hope long term with the former

    Is our third line the most inept in college hockey. Ballageron (still recovering from mono?), Carpenter (rather have his sister) and Greer (mr penalty)…. pathetic. I know they scored a goal on friday. What I am taking about is shift in and shift out, they generate little to no offense. i know the same could be said with other lines, but to me they are the worst. Maybe it is time for Quinnie to tinker with the lines, cuz this aint working

    the bright light for me is lacouvee. and somerby other than that first one on friday night, the goalie played great. i am starting to feel more confident about him between the pipes. i think somerby and mccloud are our best defensive pairing

    big trap game on tuesday… before thanksgiving, a team from the atlantic hockey league, and cornell on sat in the big apple has all the makings of an upset. especially with this offensively challenged team.

  4. If we lost to Cornell, that would not be an upset. They are ranked higher in the PWR. I am very happy with LaCouvee and very pissed about our tendency to draw unnecessary penalties (especially given our problems with killing penalties).

  5. Congratulations to Coach Quinn for being honest in his press conference and blaming himself for the less than stellar team performance for five out of six periods this past weekend. If this is the last appearance in Boston as Michigan Coach of Gordan ” Red ” Berenson I would like to acknowledge his amazing hockey career as both player and coach. A true legend and ambassador of the game, the master had his team put on a clinic in skating, shooting and all around physical toughness. Perhaps our coach should take some notes on how to prepare a team to be mentally ready to play games. Also a refresher course in team discipline and mental toughness. Anybody else sick and tired of the same stupid penalties game after game with apparently no repercussions. Let’s hope they wake up for the revenge game against Bently this Tuesday before thinking about playing a highly ranked Cornell team.

    • PS: you don’t hope they “wake up before the revenge game” because there is nothing that would make you happier than to see them lose and come on here and gloat! What a shame!

  6. WOW what a shock Larry shows up spewing the negative and only complimenting in his snide ways. Where have YOU been during the wins and ties? Your comments are filled with nothing but personal hatred towards this BU program for whatever your reasons. I’m sure you’d LOVE to scream how much you despise Quinn and I’m assuming it will come at some point. Talk about disrespect?? You ooze it sir. And quite frankly its getting sickening. Your comments are nothing shy of derogatory and incompetent. Seems the more you mock Quinn and the program, the more it shows you have zero hockey knowledge. Always quick to compliment the opponent or the past coaches and just as quick to mock the current program. Michigan put on a clinic?? LOL that’s why they let such a crappy coach and team come out and take the game away from them in less than 5 minutes? Where is your criticism for Coach Berenson for that? You are not a fan so I’m not sure why you come on here. At least the others that criticize know what they are talking about. You just make yourself sound bitter. YES, I am a great fan of this team AND this coach! I think he’s doing an amazing job getting true hockey talent back to BU and will continue to do so. I’ll stick to ignoring your senseless ridicule and stick to listening to past players and colleagues that praise this coaching staff since they actually know what they are talking about. Adios Larry. Not listening to you any more lalalalalalalalala I cant hear you.

  7. You are a clueless, ignorant and disrespectful individual. I was praising yor buddy for being honest and realistic about his teams efforts this weekend.I am entitled to my opinion and perspective. I met Red Berenson when he coached the St. Louis Blues and he was a true gentleman. After our meeting, I have always been a fan. My comments regarding your coach was from his press conference after the game. He looked very upset and confused. I actually felt bad for him. I do believe he could learn a lot from Red. I was more than happy with the split but I am concerned with the lethargic effort and continued undisplined play . If you think they played well or competitive with the exception of 10 minutes on Friday than perhaps you are the one who does not understand the game. Also, who can celebrate a tie? The last time l looked Providence was still undefeated.

    • Right back at you. Rude, ignorant and zero hockey knowledge. Yeah pc is undefeated….chose 6 unranked teams to start their season. A win is a win regardless of how you get it. pc knows that better than anyone as ” national champs”. You’d rather eat dirt than praise this program, as I’ve yet to read anything positive that isn’t immediately followed by a snide negative comment. Funny.how you have such respect for all these upstanding gentlemen yet you have nothing in common with them. You keep calling me disrespectful because i dont agree with anything you say it seems. Its not disrespect its called different opinions. I just SMH at how critical you are as a supposed Fan. It was beyond irritating but i just have to laugh bc i get it now, i know! And LMAO “quinn wannabe”…wth does that even mean?? Uff

    • Larry,what exactly is it you dislike so much about Coach Quinn? Hockey East Coach of the Year,New England Coach of the Year,and 2nd In National Coach of the Year,all under his belt in just 2 seasons.Your name only appears on this blog to spew your Venom,and dilike of the current Coach.IS it his hair?His good looks?His gregarious personality?His tan?His golf game?Or all of the above?Grumpy old man,very pathetic and sad….

  8. Wrong again Quinn wannabe. Losing to Bently two years ago was embarrassing enough. I honestly don’t want a repeat performance.

  9. You are the one who began unwarranted attacks and personal insults because I have a different point of view then you. Also you made assumptions concerning me that are not true . You do know me but but continue the same tired rhetoric. Constructive criticism regarding the program does not mean I do not support the team . If you think everything is great with the teams performance so far then we agree to disagree.

    • Nobody’s in trouble! Just trying to keep it a comfortable place for everyone. It’s ok for people to be frustrated/angry with the team and criticize it, as long as people are trying to avoid being angry with each other.

      • Sarah,can you honestly say that this gentleman,Larry,only appears on the blog with nothing but negative comments about the Coach and program?But,at every opportunity praises opponents,and the opposing coach.

  10. Maybe its the 4pm starts. It takes the fans more time to get into the flow of the game and maybe the team follows. How about putting Greer and Olsson back with Lane. As Greer and Olsson were more productive last year. Vinnie is right lines 2/3/4 need changing.

    • Vincent is right in that the other forward lines may need a shake-up, but I think we’re now seeing the lack of depth at forward hurting this team.

      The current 1st line would be even more effective if there was secondary scoring. Lane’s line has gone cold of late and when 3 of the team’s expected offensive contributors (Baillargeon, Greer, Greenway) have a combined 3 goals between them in the first 12 games, that’s problematic. As a result, it’s put players who are secondary contributors on offense (i.e. Lane, Cloonan) into a much bigger role offensively.

      There’s no doubt not having Letunov is hurting the team right now. And who knows how someone like Piccinich would have improved and become a regular contributor if he hadn’t left.

  11. the personal attacks between the two of you is over the top but whatever, i get a chuckle out of the rhetoric

    but i do support larry’s comment that ” Constructive criticism regarding the program does not mean I do not support the team” in my previous blog, i reamed the third line. but that does not mean i do not support the team. quinn has gotten some great recruits and i am very happy he is the coach. BUT, he also has recruited some questionable players – phelps, greer, carpenter, maybe greenway (he needs to score). i know that recruiting like drafting is not an exact science but i want to see him recruit top flight forwards as well. keller and bellows are not here yet

    now perhaps some of you disagree with the players i picked for criticism and maybe down the line they will evolve, but as of today, i do not think they are very good

    peace

    • I disagree w/ you on Phelps, as I think he’s in the right role for the team as a defensive-minded forward. I agree on the other forwards you mentioned.

      Greer hasn’t made the improvement offensively that was expected. He still seems raw and a bit slow in reacting to that aspect of the game. He is the youngest Sophomore forward in college hockey and I think patience is required for someone like him. Hopefully we’ll see his offensive capabilities develop this season and blossom going forward.

      I think Carpenter has “it”, but seems to be playing tentatively at times and without the confidence he needs to assert himself at this level. I recall in the Northeastern series he could’ve easily had 3 goals that weekend w/ the grade-A chances he didn’t convert.

      With Greenway, he’s probably better suited to a 3rd/4th line role right now. I think he has huge upside, but like Greer he’s very raw in certain aspects of the game. He doesn’t skate quite as well as I recall seeing when he played for the US U-18s. I also haven’t seen him consistently get into high-traffic areas where he can use his size and strength to his advantage. He also needs to shoot the puck more and like Carpenter, play w/ more confidence and assertiveness.

  12. Greer and Olsen were productive last year? 6-7 points makes you productive over 45 games? Dump + chase won’t get it done. I don’t see anyone creating plays other than O’Regan.

  13. Sorry, Glen but I have to defend unwarranted personal attacks and incorrect assumptions that are simply not true. I do understand that certain individuals will not like my perspective and that is there right and I have no issue with opposing view points.

  14. The 4pm starts did not seem to bother Michigan. I do agree that the strat time makes no sense. I have not found one season ticket holder who likes it!

  15. Greer should have been benched Saturday for the stupid penalty he took after B.U. took the lead on Friday. Obviously learned nothing and took another dumb penalty on Saturday that directly led to the first Michigan goal!

  16. The problem was the first line, with the exception of 10 minutes in the third period on Friday, were badly outplayed and dominated by Michigan’s first line the entire weekend.

  17. Would like to see the older guys like Roberto and Kelly out there over 5 or 6 guys. They are both 21-22 years old, good skill and strength compared to 18 year old guys. Saw both in the pro league (AHL + NHL) this summer a few times making plays all over the ice. 2-3 years makes a big difference in college hockey.

  18. friend,

    i will give it to you on phelps as far as being a solid 4th line guy. however, coming in, i heard he was a pretty good scorer at st mary’s shattuck so i guess i expected more from him.

    as far as the other guys, i know we need patience, but given our offensive limitations, it is hard. we need those guys to light the lamp. also, these freshmen have not hit the proverbial wall yet which generally comes in january as blasé mcdonald once said, “that is when the men’s league starts”…

    also, earlier in the year, some people i know kept screaming for diffley to play forward. while agree kelly and lawrence are not d1 players, making the transition from D to F is not as easy as some people think. i understand that going from F to D is much tougher (rausch, vuori), but diffley needs time to figure the position out. i like the fact that if we are shorthanded via penalties that he can take a shift on D to kill it off

    when does roberto come out of the witness protection program? not saying he is the second coming of jesus, but his energy could help. like to see him teamed with cloonan

    tuesday’s game is huge. bentley has a forward who is the second leading active career total goal scorer behind vecey of harvard. and if he play like we did against michigan, i shutter to think. bentley is playing with house money

  19. Vincent, do not be surprised if Nick is let out of the witness protection program sooner rather than later. Rumor is that he may play as early as tomorrow. He would certainly fit on the second or third line . I more disappointed with the leadership of the upperclassmen than the freshman. No reason not to be focused both mentally and physically to play Michigan. Team was already embarrassed by Bentley two years ago so I would expect them to be ready to play hard and fast on Tuesday.

  20. larry

    i agree, they should have been more ready to play michigan. at this point, i can not tell if it is mental or a mediocrity of talent with this team. i am hedging towards the latter. that is why i said this summer (and some attacked me) that DQ has his coaching work cut out for him this year. he did not inherit the dysfunctional team of two years ago, but he also does not have eichel and E Rod to bail the team out

    also, how about the time they lost to holy cross? i only say to make the point that they better come ready to play 60 minutes or they are gonna lose. they don’t have the superior talent to just turn it on when thy want

    meanwhile it sickens me when i look at the record of the team up the street. and please don’t tell me they haven’t played anyone

    and what’s up with lighting up the Pru in maroon and gold on sat? gag

  21. I also have taken my share of verbal abuse for a different perspective so I am honored to join you. I believe B.U. had a top five recruiting class this year even without Max L. I agree with a lot of your thoughts except I think it is a team communication issue and questionable leadership from the returning players.The team has to play with more passion, avoid poor penalties and demonstrate discipline for 60 minutes. In my mind it has nothing to do with talent.

  22. Sorry Sarah to put your an uncomfortable position but I have to defend myself from verbal attacks that have nothing to do with the performance of the hockey team. Did you attend the coaches press conference after Saturdays game ? Coach Quinn seemed to be extremely upset and brutally honest about the teams efforts. I never remember him being so unhappy or disappointed after a regular season loss.

    • I was indeed there. He’s not a person to get too upset in a media setting, so it was a bit surprising. But I do respect that he shifted the blame to himself instead of on the players. Classy move, in my opinion.

  23. I don’t know why the team has no drive of late. Quinn is a great coach but maybe, and I say this from his body language at games, he could be more “active” on the bench like Parker was when he was young. As a former coach I know such emotion can transfer to the team. But it might be that we just don’t have the team we thought we would have. Greer a disappointment for sure. Time will tell and teams change as we know. Don’t give up. This weekend should see how we are after such a downer weekend. As I have watched past teams at the new arena they never seem to play well at home like they did at Walter Brown. This may be due to the fact that they have things a bit too easy at the new place.

  24. Mcguire in net…. risky call. I hope that does not mean they think they can waltz through

    Roberto back will help

    No Gryz for this game

    • According to what Coach Quinn told Andrew today, Roberto will not be ready for tomorrow’s game. Unless he changes his mind in the next 24 hours, doesn’t look like we’ll see him yet.

  25. We have defensive depth and should be fine. It’s much more important that #5 heal completely. BTW, it was after that Bentley game on 12-14-13 that I realized we were in deep … you-know-what … for the season. This year, much better talent and overall depth.

    • Not clear. We can’t get any confirmation of what he did — and don’t want to encourage/perpetuate any rumors — so therefore, it’s hard to say what exactly it’ll take for him to meet Quinn’s standards. We’ll keep pressing, but it’s been kept really under wraps thus far.

  26. Wow what a difference a weeknd makes last weeknd vs Providence we didn’t hear 1 word and no critics they have a bad weekend where they “won” 1 and lost 1 yes I know how they lost etc but all u guys come here and bash Greer Greenway etc that’s some bullshit u all should know every game is different so they had a below par weekend so What!! Michigan was the faster better team all weekend yes I know does that make them better? ?? Absolutely not just look at last year final game we were clearly the better team my point is game to game it’s changes and these kids still learning look at the pros look great 1 game crappy the the next … I just shake my head how bad u guys talk about this team and call yourselves true fans….pathetic! !!! I can’t wait for Ny!!! I would love to see some of u guys at a the pre game rally in Msg…. Go terriers. …

    • THUMBS UP Big Roy!!!!! I don’t get how people on here act like they have some sort of stake in this team. For the love of God these are college kids! People on here pick them apart, along with the coaching staff like they are losing paychecks because they make mistakes or god forbid lose a game. Its crazy!! No doubt people will disagree but some of the comments made on here are so arrogant. As if any of us could do better. When you make a comment like no excuse for crappy play…really? No excuse? How about they are HUMAN and no one plays 100% perfect every night! Look at the Patriots last night….U-G-L-Y!! But they won so does it really matter? Nope a win is a win. I think I read a comment like I’d rather lose and play a great game than tie and play crappy….really? Well I’ll take the point thank you very much! Anyway, GO BU!!!

      • A much better effort , Cornell maybe the best opponent B.U. faced to date. So the team has to be focused and disciplined. A B.U. scholarship is $66,000 a year so I do hold athletes accountable for their effort. I do not think that is an unreasonable.

  27. Thank you for answering my question. I thought it was refreshing that he was so honest instead of the usual coaches rhetoric and I agree with his comments.

  28. Sorry son of CC not great coach yet, no excuse for the lethargic and undisciplined play least week against a highly ranked opponent that seldom visits Boston.

  29. Mcguire had a terrific freshman season and deserves another opportunity. If the team is focused and plays with an edge they will win. If not well remember two years ago.

  30. Sorry big Roy but I thought B.U. tied Providence last week. I find it difficult to celebrate a tie. Perhaps I am mistaken, but I believe Providence has not lost a game since last March including unfortunately the last game which deservedly made them National Champions. Also B.U. has played a few poor games this season which is reflected in their four loses and mediocre record of 6-4-2. Giving constructive criticism makes me no less of a fan then one who has blind loyalty to the team. Hopefully they are ready to play tonight.

  31. Thanks Sarah. I understand your situation. Anyway, here’s hoping that Max has his best game of the year tonight … and that our favorite goal song is heard early and often! 😉

  32. what’s with this crap that if you criticize a player, coach, or the performance of the team, you are not a true fan? i hope DQ is criticizing the players and his staff; otherwise we are in for a long year

    i have issues with these blind pollyannas who, under the guise of being a true fan, think everything is wonderful. the same crap happened with Parker. was he a highly successful coach? yes. But did he and his team have flaws, especially post 2009, MOST DEFINITELY. but heaven forbid anyone say anything negative about him. if they do, they are accused of heresy and disloyalty or worse… being an infiltrator from BC. Listen up, bloggers!!! this is not Isis or the Taliban. it is ok to disagree/ criticize, especially on a public democratic forum as this one

    Go terriers and God Bless America

  33. Amen, Vincent I could not have worded it better. Since when has a differing opinion, or constructive criticism meant you did not support the program or were not a fan. I used to always tell Coach Parker that win or tie I was behind him. Especially after that horrible effort this past weekend, where the coach took blame for the lethargic play. I do give them credit for stealing game but any fan who is remotely pleased with the teams effort is living in a fantasy land.

  34. Good discussion. I don’t agree that losing Max Letunov made no difference. He has 14 points already with a mediocre team like UCONN. The kid is clearly very talented. Fourteen points would mean at least a couple of more wins for this year’s BU team. He would also have made others around him better players. I’m not blaming anyone for the fact he is at UCONN. The admissions office has to do what it does. But you cannot say that it made no difference.

  35. Losing Letenov was huge .

    I like the shift of carpenter to center. he was much more active, but once again, this was bentley and they sucked

    Somerby continues to shine

  36. Max L would be on the first or second line and add balance to the scoring. Unfortunately except for JFK , there is no other freshman who can match his goal scoring ability.

  37. B.U. Hockey 7, Thank you for the cheap shots during the holiday season. I missed you insults. I have know ax to grind with your beloved coach. I have a different perspective of the team that you oppose. Constructive criticism of the team doesn’t mean I am not a fan or don’t support the team. I believe in commenting on reality and not fantasy. In that regard I thought they played well against Bentley and stated that on the blog. I am surprised you didn’t read that comment but instead continued your verbal nonsense against me.

  38. B.U. Hockey 7, praising opposing players and coaches is called good sportsmanship. Perhaps you have never heard of it.

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