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:
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.”
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.
— Six Second Sports (@sixsecsports) February 28, 2016
That’s an impressive use of the body that we haven’t seen all that often from the freshman.