Pluses and Minuses: Terriers shut out in loss to No. 10 Notre Dame to close out regular season

Charlie McAvoy. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DFP FILE PHOTO
Charlie McAvoy. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DFP FILE PHOTO

SOUTH BEND, Indiana — Golden chances were there for the No. 9 Boston University men’s hockey team, but as head coach David Quinn put it, his team could not take advantage of a single one.

Call it poor luck or having the challenge of going against a sharp goaltender, either way BU (19-10-5, 12-6-4 Hockey East) could not pull this one out Saturday night, falling to No. 10 University of Notre Dame, 1-0.

Senior goaltender Sean Maguire kept BU in it for most of the night, but his opposer, sophomore Cal Petersen, made 39 saves to preserve the Notre Dame (19-8-7, 15-5-2 Hockey East) shutout.

Freshman Dylan Malmquist provided the only offense needed with a power-play goal at the 11:47 mark of the second period.

BU’s loss, in conjunction with No. 11 University of Massachusetts Lowell’s win over No. 2 Boston College, means the Terriers slipped to the No. 5 seed in Hockey East, so there will be no first-round bye in the cards.

We’ll take a look at the bad and the good in our breakdown from Compton Family Ice Arena:

Minuses 

Opportunity knocks, no answer 

BU had the chance to clinch the third or fourth seeds in the conference playoffs under a few scenarios, the easiest of them being a win or tie against the Fighting Irish.

But, as I’m sure you’ve read up to this point, BU did neither of those in its regular-season finale. Instead of getting a first-round bye and home ice in the quarterfinals, the Terriers will play host in the first round and have to travel to a road site in the quarterfinals, if they advance out of the opening series.

The silver lining in this? BU will host 12th-seeded University of Massachusetts Amherst, a team BU has defeated four times in as many games the last two seasons, outscoring the Minutemen (8-22-4, 2-16-4 Hockey East) by a combined score of 30-11.

“Obviously you’re hoping to get a point tonight, allow yourself to get a bye, but didn’t happen and, as a I told our guys, ‘You’re hockey players, you get to play more hockey,'” Quinn said. “That’s how you got to look at it. Right? Obviously lick our wounds from tonight, they can feel sorry for themselves for the next 24 hours, but you get to play more hockey. That’s how you got to look at it.

“It’s an opportunity to get better, it’s playoff time, it’s the best time of year.”

Sarah takes a look at the playoffs in her sidebar.

Can’t get it by Cal

Before Saturday, Petersen had 15 games this season in which he stopped at least 30 shots. Make that 16 now.

Whether it was the glove, pads or blocker, Petersen made some terrific saves all night, and Friday for that matter, too.

At times, BU was hemmed in its own zone and couldn’t get any offense going toward net, but especially toward the end of the game, the shots came in and Petersen was there for each one.

“It’s frustrating, I thought we had some good chances,” said senior assistant captain Matt Lane, who registered one shot on net. “I thought at times we could have challenged a little more, but he’s a great goaltender and he was on his game tonight.”

Power play ineffective

This has been a recurring theme in this section of our articles, so we’ll try and keep this part brief.

At times in this game during BU’s power play, it was difficult to even see that the Terriers even had an extra man on the ice. There were a lot of passes in the neutral zone (sloppy ones at that) and not a whole lot of shooting on net. All three man advantages came in the second period, and at least on the first one, BU did next to nothing.

On those three power plays, BU totaled four shots, and it wasn’t as if Petersen was pressured in any of these particular instances.

More than one thing attributed to the lack of success, Quinn said.

“Just, we lost a lot of battles,” Quinn said. “Sometimes what can happen on a power play is you lose sight of the fact that you’ve got to play hockey within a power play. Go here, do this, do that, and you’ve got to play hockey within the power play and I think when we’re not effective on our power play, we don’t play hockey within our power play. We go to our spots.

“I just thought we lost some one-on-one battles, I thought we were a little inept coming up ice, and it cost you.”

Pluses 

Maguire hangs in, shots come late 

BU’s senior goaltender didn’t face a tremendous number of shots through two periods (13), but he saw a lot of action his way in the early stages of the third.

Notre Dame pressed for a game-breaking goal, but Maguire hung in there, making 15 saves on 15 chances. Quinn said Maguire did all of the things he’s been doing all season to be successful in this one.

And while the Terriers could not make their final push come to fruition, it wasn’t for a lack of effort. There was almost nothing going on in the Fighting Irish zone in the opening minutes of the third, but around the halfway point, BU made a rush to get the score even. BU had 13 shots and goal and attempted 24, including one in which senior assistant captain Danny O’Regan was denied on in the final five minutes.

McAvoy’s big hit 

Freshman defenseman Charlie McAvoy has been on the top pair for most of this season, bringing an offensive element to the game any time he’s on the ice.

But tonight, we’ll give him a plus for the crushing hit he put on forward Connor Hurley late in the first period.

That’s an impressive use of the body that we haven’t seen all that often from the freshman.

Live blog: No. 9 BU vs. No. 10 Notre Dame

Friday recap
Friday sidebar on fourth line/depth
Friday pluses and minuses

Series Preview

BU lines:
Jordan Greenway-Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson-Danny O’Regan
Ahti Oksanen-Matt Lane-Ryan Cloonan
Oskar Andrén-Bobo Carpenter-Robbie Baillargeon
Chase Phelps-Mike Moran-Tommy Kelley

Matt Grzelcyk-Charlie McAvoy
Brandon Hickey-Brandon Fortunato
Doyle Somerby-Brien Diffley

Sean Maguire
Connor LaCouvee

Notre Dame lines:
Thomas DiPauli-Steven Fogarty-Sam Herr
Mario Lucia-Connor Hurley-Anders Bjork
Dylan Malmquist-Jake Evans-Andrew Oglevie
Dawson Cook-Jack Jenkins-Ben Ostlie

Dennis Gilbert-Justin Wade
Luke Ripley-Andy Ryan
Bobby Nardella-Jordan Gross

Chad Katunar
Nick Stasack
Cal Petersen

Officials:
Terrance Murphy
Peter Schlittenhardt
Brent Gawlik
Robby Shintani

Live Blog BU at Notre Dame (02-27-2016)
 

Pluses and Minuses: No. 9 Terriers earn ‘true team win’ in victory over No. 10 Notre Dame

MBM_8647
Senior assistant captain Danny O’Regan. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DFP FILE PHOTO

SOUTH BEND, Indiana — In the penultimate game of its regular season, the No. 9 Boston University men’s hockey team made what’s to come a little bit easier on itself.

The Terriers (19-9-5, 12-5-4 Hockey East) defeated the No. 10 University of Notre Dame by a score of 3-2 in an important conference matchup to help decide where they will officially fall in the standings.

They played well in what would be described by BU head coach David Quinn as a playoff atmosphere, and we thought so, too.

Here’s what we liked and didn’t like in the victory:

Pluses

Depth and the fourth line

BU’s second goal of the evening was scored by senior forward Mike Moran, who was back to centering the fourth line as junior forward Robbie Baillargeon returned to the lineup after missing last weekend’s slate with the University of New Hampshire. Moran and his wingers, sophomore Chase Phelps and junior Tommy Kelley, provided an energetic and physical presence on the ice.

Andrew has more about this in his sider.

True team win

In his postgame press conference, Quinn praised the way the win on Friday seemed to come from the top of the lineup all the way through the bottom. He said it was like a postseason hockey game in a lot of ways, and that the Terriers’ effort was that of a “true team win.”

“I thought our goalie was really good. I thought our forwards to our first line to our fourth line played well. Our D played well. And just really proud of our guys,” he said. “To come in to this building and beat a very good hockey team, well-coached, they’ve got a lot of good players there. It takes all 20 guys pulling in the right direction. I thought we had that tonight.”

Quinn added that this is the time of year when the little things really start to matter. Not that they don’t early in the year, he clarified, but they tend to mean more now.

“Just really proud of our guys,” he said. “They really answered the bell.”

Much of that had to do with the way the Terriers defended throughout the game. Neither of the Irish’s goals came at 5-on-5, and Quinn attributed that to the way BU played its opponent.

“I thought we did a really good job of closing on them down low, we were really conscious of our body positioning, keeping our body between the net and offensive player,” he said. “We were quick, our second defender did a good job getting to their second guy, supporting the play, and I thought we were consistent with that.

“There weren’t a lot of times we didn’t do that and against that team we’d better to that because they’ve got a lot of big, strong forwards,” Quinn continued. “They’re elusive down low, and I thought we did a really good job defending.”

Sean Maguire

It seems like putting senior netminder Sean Maguire in the pluses category has become an almost weekly occurrence, but he came up big for the team again on Friday. Maguire recorded 33 saves on 35 shots and was named first star of the game, bumping his season save percentage up a couple points from .925 to .927.

“He made some big saves …” Quinn said. “He missed an awful lot of hockey last year, and he didn’t play at all and got off to a bit of a slow start, but he’s been a rock back there since early December. And if you’re going to have a chance in our sport you’d better have a goalie, and we have a goalie.”

At 5-on-5, Maguire was perfect, as the two goals he allowed during the evening came at 5-on-4 and 6-on-5. And even with Notre Dame’s extra skater on the ice, the goaltender recorded five saves on six Irish power-play shots and fended off all but one chance during the 2:28 goalie Cal Petersen was pulled at the end of the game.

That shot, however, was put in the back of the net a bit at the fault of Maguire, who had flung the puck down the ice at the empty net for what we assume was an attempt at a goalie goal (which would have been awesome), but it missed and wound up being an icing. The faceoff came back to BU’s end, and the Irish benefited from a rebound and bodies in front to pull within one.

From there, though, and aside from the other goal Notre Dame scored, Maguire’s positioning and play  acted as a brick wall for BU.

Playoff positioning

With the Terriers’ win on Friday, things have obviously become more clear when it comes to the conference playoff picture. BU is capable of clinching a top-four seed in the Hockey East tournament and a first round bye in the following ways (also thank you Hockey East for providing this):

1. BU gets the No. 3 seed with a win on Saturday
2. BU gets the No. 4 seed with a tie on Saturday
3. BU gets the No. 4 seed with a loss AND the University of Massachusetts Lowell loss or tie to Boston College on Saturday
4. BU gets the No. 5 seed with a loss AND a UMass Lowell win over BC on Saturday

Seniors

Senior forward Ahti Oksanen and Moran both notched goals in the win Friday, and senior assistant captain Danny O’Regan also registered a pair of assists for four of nine BU points in the game coming from the senior class.

Updated point total for the Terriers: 113-193—306
Updated point total for the seniors: 56-70—126

Enough said.

First win at Compton Family Ice Arena

Just a quick fun fact, but Friday’s win marked the Terriers’ first against the Irish since Oct. 10, 2010, and, subsequently, their first victory at the Compton Family Ice Arena, which opened in Oct. 2011.

Danny O’Regan

Another little tidbit for ya is that with his two assists on Friday night, O’Regan now has 148 career points in 148 career games. Aside from that making him a career point per game player, it also means he has the most career points since Chris Drury had 214 from 1994-98.

Minuses

Late-period penalties

BU ended both the first and second periods on the penalty kill Friday night, which is less than ideal for sure, especially since the Terriers gave up a goal at the end of the first. This hasn’t really been an issue during the rest of the season, so I’m being a little nitpicky since it’s not a trend, but naturally it’s something BU doesn’t want to and probably won’t continue.

Power play

I know, I know, it got a goal, but the power play did not look great in its one chance on the ice Friday. BU had trouble with its breakout and could not enter the zone cleanly while operating with the man advantage. It really took until Oksanen’s tally for the unit to generate much of anything at all. Still, a goal’s a goal, and the Terriers now have four markers on their last 11 power plays.

Live blog: No. 9 BU at No. 10 Notre Dame

Series Preview

TV: NBC Sports Network

BU lines:
Jordan Greenway-Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson-Danny O’Regan
Ahti Oksanen-Matt Lane-Ryan Cloonan
Oskar Andrén-Bobo Carpenter-Robbie Baillargeon
Chase Phelps-Mike Moran-Tommy Kelley

Matt Grzelcyk-Charlie McAvoy
Brandon Hickey-Brandon Fortunato
Doyle Somerby-Brien Diffley

Sean Maguire
Connor LaCouvee

Notre Dame lines:
Sam Herr-Jake Evans-Mario Lucia
Thomas DiPauli-Connor Hurley-Anders Bjork
Dylan Malmqist-Steven Fogarty-Jack Jenkins
Joe Wegwerth-Dawson Cook-Andrew Oglevie

Luke Ripley-Andy Ryan
Dennis Gilbert-Justin Wade
Bobby Nardella-Jordan Gross

Chad Katunar
Nick Stasack
Cal Petersen

Officials:
Terrance Murphy
Peter Schlittenhardt
Brent Gawlik
Robbie Shintani

Live Blog BU at Notre Dame (02-26-2016)
 

Boston Hockey Pod: UNH weekend recap, home ice fishing

Hey everyone!

We’re back with another episode of the podcast. This week we discuss BU’s weekend split with the University of New Hampshire and the complicated Hockey East playoff seeding again.

Of course, we also talk about the UNH fan trying to throw the fish on the ice at the Whittemore Center.

Feel free to let us know what you think in the comments below!

Pluses and Minuses: Seniors, defense shine in victory over UNH

In the final home game of the regular season, the No. 9 Boston University men’s hockey team kept afloat in Hockey East play, holding off the University of New Hampshire for a 3-2 win on Saturday at Agganis Arena.

Freshman defenseman Shane Switzer. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DFP STAFF
Freshman defenseman Shane Switzer. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DFP STAFF

The victory, which came after a 3-3 tie on Friday up in Durham, pushed BU (18-9-5, 11-5-4 Hockey East) into a tie for fourth place with the No. 11 University of Massachusetts Lowell. Both teams have two games remaining next weekend.

In the meantime, here’s what we loved about Saturday’s game, and also what we didn’t love as much:

Pluses

Seniors
On a night in which they were recognized in a pregame Senior Night ceremony, those same seniors took charge of the offense. Judy has more about the ceremony and the seniors’ contributions in her sidebar.

Keeping Kelleher and Poturalski quiet
UNH (10-16-6, 4-10-6 Hockey East) boasts two of the biggest scoring threats in the nation — forwards Andrew Poturalski and Tyler Kelleher. Poturalski ranks second in the country with 48 points this season, while Kelleher isn’t far behind, sitting at sixth with 42 points.

BU managed to hold the talented duo to just one point this weekend: an assist to Poturalski during Friday’s game.

“I thought we were physical on them, I thought we took away time and space,” said BU head coach David Quinn. “You have to do that with everybody, but particularly guys with that skillset. … But there’s good players in this league and they’re two of the better ones, that’s for sure.”

#SwitzerIsFree?
Plenty of BU fans have been on the #FreeSwitzer bandwagon for quite some time now, and, at least myself included, we’ve been behind freshman defenseman Shane Switzer getting more playing time this season.

With sophomore defenseman Brandon Hickey going down with injury Friday night, the coaching staff opted to play Switzer on defense for Saturday’s game. Quinn noted that Switzer has “earned the opportunity to play” — and he certainly showed how much he’s earned that opportunity.

In his first game in more than two months — his last appearance was on Dec. 12 against then-No. 2 Quinnipiac University — Switzer made an immediate impact in both zones, recording his first collegiate point on a smart pass to senior assistant captain Danny O’Regan to help BU go up 2-0 in the first period.

Switzer also found himself back on a 2-on-1, on which sophomore goaltender Connor LaCouvee made what was advertised at Agganis Arena the “save of the game” – but LaCouvee gave all of the credit to Switzer.

“I didn’t really do too much on that,” LaCouvee said. “I think Switzer actually got back and kind of stick-lifted the guy at the last second there so he didn’t really get too much on it. So kudos to Switz.”

Overall, Switzer was adequately physical and smart with the puck. He even earned some time on the power play. He wasn’t flawless — UNH forward Tyler Kelleher took advantage of a mishandle by Switzer which led to a breakaway and nearly a goal early in the game — but given that it was only his sixth appearance of the year and his first since December, it’s probably fair to say some rust came into play. But he more than made up for it with his play over the course of the game, and made a strong case to remain in the lineup going forward.

“I think he did a lot of good things,” Quinn said. “He made a great play on our second goal, and made some good plays. So we’ve liked what we’ve seen out of him. He’s a good player.”

LaCouvee
On that same note of “rust” — while senior goaltender Sean Maguire has missed the past two games with a broken finger, LaCouvee has stepped in and been solid over his past two starts. After starting 12 of the first 17 games of the season, his first start since the New Year came

While LaCouvee is determined to be ready to play at a moment’s notice, he admitted after Saturday’s game it wasn’t easy at first.

“Yeah, it kinda sucked for a good portion of three weeks or so, but then I was just kinda like, ‘Hey, you know what, no sense kinda being a moody little kid, might as well just work hard here and support the team,’” LaCouvee said. “And Magsy’s playing unreal, so keep supporting him.’”

But LaCouvee came in this weekend and kept BU in the game, making 19 saves in each game.

On a similar note, we do love any chance we get to talk to LaCouvee at a presser — he really brings a great, as he would say, “atmo” to the room, and we can always count on him for a good laugh.

Minuses

Too conservative
Quinn admitted that during the third period, the team had the improper approach. He said that he told the team to be more defense-focused, which may have turned out to be a mistake.

“I thought I took a cautious approach for the third period, and you have to play hockey. You have to play to win,” Quinn said. “Maybe I created a little bit of a defensive mindset, and you can’t do that. You’ve got to go play hockey. And lesson learned, for sure, from my end a bit. I told them that’ll never happen again.”

Power play
Hard to be too picky since the team did get two power-play goals, but Quinn expressed some unhappiness with the team’s performance on the power play in terms of the number of shorthanded chances the team gave up.

“Our power play has to become more responsible,” Quinn said. “It’s something that we have to clean up if we’re going to have success moving forward. And we just, we got two power-play goals, but we need to be better. We absolutely need to be better. And it’s just, it’s just way, way too slow. We get it, we hang onto it, we hang on to it, and we just have to correct it. We have too many good players out there to approach it that way.”

Fortunato
We didn’t see exactly when he got benched, but sophomore defenseman Brandon Fortunato didn’t play a good deal of the third period from what we saw. He wasn’t particularly sharp all night — we were initially skeptical about him pairing with fellow sophomore Brien Diffley, but Diffley emerged as the better, stronger player on the evening.

Fortunato was irresponsible with the puck in his own zone, and had trouble managing the gap. We didn’t see what the final straw was that had him sitting the rest of the game. But since he’s not the most physical of players, he has to rely more heavily on skill and offense to stand out — which has been quite lacking the past several games. Though he had an assist Saturday, that’s just one of two points in his past nine games.

Particularly with the coaches seeming to have Switzer in the mix, too, this is not a good time for Fortunato to lack any sort of production if he expects to stay in the lineup. If he’s not bringing a refined game on a consistent basis, there are many more viable options on the blue line.