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.
Just swap the goaltenders with NMU last weekend and BU wins both games easily. Head coach should have dealt with this problem over the summer. Without top flight goaltending the season gets out of hand quickly. They are a good young team don’t waste the season. Albie solve the problem that’s what your paid to do.
Good point Larry, haha. Gotta give it time!
Brady I think the kids will be ready come Friday . The captains and Upper class men will make sure of it. As the younger kids on the team continue to contribute the more confidence they can get. It’s clear from all the posts everyone has written we have all seen goaltending that is not very good. I can’t dispute this however as I mentioned in a previous thread I think in Tucker’s case the issue is positioning and can be corrected. As I have mentioned before I saw him play in Ireland last year and he was excellent. His numbers in his college play are more then decent they are good. In purpora case he let in two soft ones . I will say he played ok after the first two. Everyone knows vinnie is a sophomore but he is very new to college hockey. I’m hoping this weekend the goal keepers play well build confidence. If goaltending improves and the forwards get better every week. The defense keeps up there pace this team will be dangerous. I like the intensity this team plays with. I like this team the kids put a lot of work into being the best they can be. Go bu🐾
Thanks for focusing on the positives as always Colin. The potential is there, but the execution hasn’t been – this weekend will say a lot I think!
Hi Brady! As for the goaltending situation, can you do an interview with BU Goaltending Coach Eklund? Perhaps that might shed some light on our issues?
Good idea Glenn! I’ll see what I can do…
As to the “tending” situation: Time to think about getting that guy we have in the USHL in for the second semester. Don’t know if we have the “cap” room or not.
Looking for alternatives after 3 games? I say give them a month and a half. Not sure I can provide any additional insight into what you’re suggesting here…
Hi SoCC! I didn’t know we had a goaltender prospect in the USHL. Where did you hear that?
Aside from Commesso I meant.
Probably a little early to be pushing the panic button on the goalie situation. This is a bridge year to Commesso, and I think the coaches have the best players available for this season. According
to the rumor mill they made a run at Michael Lackey, but he opted for PC. Both of these guys should improve over the course of the semester. Even if they don’t reach Ottinger-like reliability, they should be able to get the job done.
Good analysis, and I agree. The good news is this team should have good enough skaters to cover for mediocrity in goal. Time will tell!