LOWELL — You’ve probably seen the score by now, but on Saturday night, the No. 7 Boston University men’s hockey team fell to the No. 11 University of Massachusetts Lowell by a score of 6-3 at the Tsongas Center.
It was not pretty. At all.
The Terriers (17-9-4, 10-5-3 Hockey East) made mistake after mistake, and the River Hawks (18-7-5, 11-5-4 Hockey East) made them pay for basically every one of them.
“Certainly disappointed with obviously the outcome and some of the reasons why we’re in the situation we’re in tonight …” said BU head coach David Quinn. “Disappointed in the outcome, disappointed in why we lost the way we did.”
Here’s what particularly caught our eye in the rout:
Teams and players are going to make mistakes during games. Obviously. No one plays a perfect game, but generally those mistakes don’t always find their way into the back of the net. On Saturday, Quinn said, that’s what it felt like happened.
The River Hawks struck first on defenseman Dylan Zink’s first of three goals on the night 11:26 into the first period, and the Terriers responded fairly quickly. Freshman center Bobo Carpenter knotted things up 1:36 later.
From there, though, it wasn’t so close.
The second goal?
“We give up a faceoff goal, completely blown coverage, as simple as coverage you can have in hockey,” Quinn said.
And the third?
“A horrible goalie-D exchange,” he said.
“A bad turnover.”
The fifth one?
“We blow coverage on a backcheck,” he said. “Looked like we got rattled after they made it four, we just completely abandoned our responsibilities on their fifth goal.”
And then the sixth was the fruits of a solid netfront, batted-out-of-midair tally from Lowell captain A.J. White.
Though the final result and score are definitely not ideal, Quinn noted they aren’t necessarily symptomatic of the overall defensive play.
“We hadn’t given up a lot of goals lately,” he said. “We’ve been playing some pretty good D zone, we did a good job last night, so I mean if this happens again I’ll be concerned, but we’ve done a pretty good job of moving past performances like this, so we’ll get back to work on Monday and anxious to play again on Friday.”
Andrew has an additional perspective on this in his sidebar.
Power play woes continue
It was another 0-fer night for BU’s power play as the Terriers failed to convert on a trio of opportunities with the man advantage Saturday night. While the team began the year with a relatively prolific power play, things have certainly dropped off in the last handful of games.
Since they went 3-for-6 on the power play during Jan. 15th’s loss to No. 3 Boston College, the Terriers are an anemic 3-for-30 with the man advantage over their last nine games. One of those goals came in the form of Friday’s overtime winner, but not much has been doing for BU.
The Terriers have been slow while operating in the attacking zone with the extra skater and aren’t doing enough to get the penalty killers out of sorts. Excessive stickhandling and messy entries have allowed opposing units to set up and adjust to each move BU makes, preventing the Terriers from getting anywhere close to capitalizing.
Quinn said he liked the way his squad continued to battle throughout the game, and an 87-46 shot attempt differential in favor of the Terriers certainly backs that up. However, Quinn made sure to mention that “it’s easy to battle when you’re down by three.”
Typically, teams that are trailing are going to play more aggressively because, well, they’re trying to score goals. On the other hand, a team with a fairly safe lead like Lowell’s four-goal edge, can afford to play more conservatively. The objective would be to maintain the lead, not necessarily to add another goal.
“I thought we played well as the game went on, but tough to gauge because, like I said, when it’s 5-2, they’re playing a little bit different,” Quinn said.
I’ll admit I’m kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel here, but I wanted to give credit to Ahti Oksanen, who had a pair of primary assists in BU’s loss Saturday. The two helpers served as the senior’s sixth multi-point game in the second half, and he is now tied for 20th in the country in scoring with 33 points.
Since the Terriers have returned from break, Oksanen has five goals and 12 assists for 17 points in a dozen games.