In an overall commanding performance on Saturday night at Agganis Arena, the No. 11 Boston University men’s hockey team defeated its conference foe in the University of Maine.
The Terriers (13-7-4, 7-4-3 Hockey East) earned their second series sweep of the season in a 6-1 win over the Black Bears (5-15-6, 2-8-2 Hockey East) after besting them the night prior as well.
“I thought that we really came to play for six periods this weekend,” said BU head coach David Quinn. “We were skating, we were pressuring the puck, and had an urgency to our game. The thing we’re trying to do is make teams earn ice. And I thought we did a pretty good job of that this weekend.”
Here’s a look at what we thought went right and wrong in this edition of pluses and minuses.
Since he was moved back to his natural position of center, freshman forward Bobo Carpenter has definitely shown improvement in terms of production and comfortability on the ice. Andrew has more about this in his sider from tonight.
Six full periods
With some wins this season coming from one or two dominant periods in a game as opposed to a game-long effort, making sure BU is giving its all for the entirety of a contest has become more and more of a focus. As Quinn and his players put it, the Terriers made a conscious attempt to put together two full 60-minute efforts on the weekend.
“We kept our heads in the game,” Carpenter said. “We definitely focused down, and we wanted to play 60 minutes both games, and we didn’t want to let them take control of the game at any part of the weekend.”
While a 5-2 win on Friday and a 6-1 victory on Saturday don’t indicate any sort of lack of control on the Terriers’ part, there was definitely a larger divergence in the latter game of the series. Statistically, where BU and Maine were mostly even on the stat sheet aside from actual goals put in the net, Saturday showed a clearer distinction in all facets. However, senior assistant captain Matt Lane said the team didn’t sense much of a difference from night to night.
“Yesterday’s game we kind of, we felt the same way,” he said. “Both games we skated, both games we were physical. Unfortunately they capitalized on a couple power-play goals [on Friday], not that our penalty kill was too bad, they were opportunistic. But like I said, for the most part, six periods, we felt that we were fast, we felt that we were physical, and that’s why we controlled both games, all six periods.”
Carpenter mentioned that the more hostile atmosphere in Alfond Arena made it difficult for the Terriers, but they were able to hunker down and stay focused and get the win. On Saturday at Agganis, where those in the stands were a little more supportive, “it made it a little bit easier to calm the nerves down” as well.
Lane added that, at this point in the season in the Hockey East standings, “it’s time to buckle down” and “string together some wins.” The Terriers know what they’re capable of, he said, and felt they weren’t meeting their standards so they turned the focus to themselves and not the team they are playing against. With a critical eye on its own game, then, BU was able to play “maybe the first weekend” of six full periods start to finish.
This winger has a first name, it’s O-s-k-a-r
OK, horrible subheading aside, freshman forward Oskar Andrén, while hardly looking out of place in his first couple games, has showcased his skills more and more each time he’s on the ice. On Saturday, the winger had a pair of assists (his first collegiate points), recorded a shot on goal and took part in special teams play, too.
“He’s played very well,” Quinn said. “For a guy to come in here less than a month ago and have the impact that he’s had on our lineup, and I was really happy to see him get rewarded on the scoresheet tonight. He’s a really smart player. Works hard, smart, good vision, he’s really made an impact for us.”
The de facto game-winning goal in Saturday’s game was scored by junior defenseman Doyle Somerby. It wasn’t a blast from the point with a screen in front like a lot of blue liner goals are. Instead, Somerby stole the puck from defenseman Sam Becker behind the Maine goal line and tucked it wraparound style through goaltender Rob McGovern’s five hole for his fourth goal of the season.
“In general and all year, Doyle’s been a little more aggressive,” Lane said. “In the past he’s been more defensive, and this year he’s stepped up. He’s trusting his legs more, and you can kind of tell like that, he just had it in his gut that he was going to win that battle and take it to the net.
“Those are the kind of things that we need as a team, and it’s great to see Doyle getting some goals this year.”
I mean…it snowed? No, in all seriousness, there was very little to dislike about BU’s performance on Saturday.
The Terriers limited Maine to just 23 shots while taking 37 of their own, were perfect on the penalty kill, allowed just one goal, held a 35-20 advantage in faceoffs and did damage on the power play. They looked poised and in control throughout and netted five-plus goals for the fourth time in six games.
They’re not giving me a whole lot to pick at today.