The Terriers are through their first weekend doubleheader of the season, and it didn’t exactly go according to plan. Here are my reactions from a hard-fought home-opening series for the Terriers. All opinions are my own.
The Agganis crowd was in midseason form
I asked what the fan turnout would be in my last edition of this column, and the Terrier fans responded in a big way. For an early-season non-conference set that didn’t hold a ton of significance in the long term, I was really impressed by the showing from Terrier Nation. The student section was packed both nights and the rest of the bowl filled in pretty well too, especially on the BU bench’s side. It was a strong start to 2019-20 for the fans: let’s just hope attendance doesn’t suffer from the disappointing results.
Offense leading the way
Coach O’Connell said it best: seven goals, four goals, and three goals should be more than enough to win three hockey games. Well, that didn’t happen, but let’s forget about the other end of the ice for a second (don’t worry, I’ll get to it). This offense is deep, explosive, and, for now anyway, consistent. The amount of chances the Terriers had, especially in the first game, was extremely encouraging. A lot of the team’s preseason confidence surrounded the defense, but three games in, I feel best about BU’s offense.
Don’t forget about defense, defense
I love this defense, I really do. Their skating and puck skills are undeniable, and in the offensive end, these blueliners have been an absolute weapon. The only problem with being so involved in the attack is that sometimes defensive responsibilities suffer because of it, and we saw that a few times last weekend. It’s all about finding that balance of focusing on the backend and fulfilling defensive duties, but still pushing forward when the opportunities are there. I’m confident this d-core can figure it out.
Goaltending concern grows
It figures that even when the offense is firing on all cylinders, the spotlight among the Terrier faithful is still fixed on the BU crease. Hey, I don’t blame them! Goaltending mistakes can allow goals which can be the difference in one-goal games. It’s a problem, but let’s take a step back. We’re only three games in. We don’t need to start searching for new transfers or commits. There is time to turn it around with the guys BU has. I just hope they figure it out soon, because the criticism will only grow stronger with time.
Can the goaltending get better? Please?
This question isn’t anything jaw-dropping, we’re all thinking it. Goaltending has far and away been the weakest point of BU’s game so far. The easiest way back into the win column will be improvements in the crease. Assuming BU stick with the timeshare in net, Tucker and Purpura will both get chances to redeem themselves this weekend. Let’s hope they can make the most of it.
Can the offense keep its pace?
When things go wrong in the defensive zone, the scorers have to pick up the slack, and so far the BU forward group has done a great job of that. The concern with relying on high-scoring production, however, is always whether or not it can be sustained. BU will face a red-hot goaltender in Tyler Wall at Lowell to kick off the weekend, so we’ll see if they can power their way past him.
Can BU start strong in Hockey East?
As part of their slow start last season, the Terriers dropped their first two Hockey East tilts by a combined score of 9-0. Not great. This weekend will see BU play their first two conference clashes of 2019-20, and I’m sure the returners still remember those lopsided losses a year ago. Two wins this weekend could be a statement that this team is a step ahead of where they were last fall.