The Terriers scored seven goals in their home-opening series, but could not overcome the Northern Michigan Wildcats. Falling to a 1-1-1 record, BU will need to make some adjustments before they enter Hockey East play against UMass Lowell and UNH this weekend. Before we move on to these upcoming tilts, here are a few points of note that I spotted during Saturday’s series finale. Of course, all opinions are my own.
Cockerill’s absence meant more than losing a scorer
Logan Cockerill was all over the place in Friday’s home opener, and had a handful of really good chances on that BU second line. On Saturday, a fairly lackluster first period was all we would see from the assistant captain, who missed the rest of the game due to injury – some fans said a slash caused his absence, but I didn’t see it myself. Regardless, the Terriers just didn’t seem the same after the junior forward exited – maybe it had something to do with being forced to shuffle the lines among a young roster that is still relatively new to each other? That’s just a guess, but when the BU left wingers had to fill in for Cockerill, the waves of attack just didn’t seem to have the same chemistry or punch. Let’s hope Cockerill is back this weekend to get the offense clicking again.
Bad penalties caught up to BU
Coach O’Connell said it after both games this past weekend – penalties ruined BU in this series. It felt like every time the Terriers were getting something going or needed a boost, they would take a penalty. One infraction that stands out to me is Alex Brink’s five-minute major and game misconduct in the third period, jumping straight off the bench to go run over a Wildcat in the neutral zone for no real reason. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to see the aggression and competitive edge that Brink and BU play with, but when it’s taken over line, it does more harm than good. O’Connell and Captain Curry noted that the penalty kill hasn’t been good enough, but when they’re thrust into service so much, maybe the players in the box deserve more blame than the kill unit.
Ups and downs for Purpura in season debut
After Sam Tucker looked average at best on Friday night, Vinnie Purpura got the nod to backstop BU in game two. Now, I’m actually a big Purpura proponent – you know that Geico commercial with the walrus in goal? At 6’6″, Purpura is that walrus in goal. He may have given up a couple soft ones in the first period, but Purpura got back to his strengths in the second, using his size to make some point-blank saves look effortless. There wasn’t much he could do about the third period goals, so let’s focus on the first 40 minutes: if Purpura can play the way he did in the second, he could be the answer in net for BU. That’s a tall ask, but least he showed he deserves a shot at the starting role. A timeshare in the BU crease still seems like the best way forward for now.
Those are the three biggest takeaways I noticed from the press box, but I’m sure you saw some other things in Saturday’s game that are worth bringing up. Let us hear your thoughts in the comments below!