Albie O’Connell’s Terriers came away from their first Hockey East tilt of the season probably thinking they deserved better than what they got; a 3-3 draw with UMass Lowell. BU held a 3-0 lead midway through the second period before allowing the Riverhawks to claw back into the game and ultimately earn a point. Here are my three takeaways from the game, and of course, all opinions are my own.
1. Patrick Harper is silencing his doubters
The senior assistant captain certainly faced no shortage of question marks heading into this season. Harper set the world on fire his freshman season with 37 points (13g, 24a) in 38 games, but an injury-riddled sophomore year coupled with an up-and-down junior season left many wondering whether or not he could find the same form he exhibited his rookie season. So far, Harper has had a statement performance on the ice in 2019-20, and tonight he finished off two nifty plays to pot his third and fourth goals of the season. A 2016 fifth-rounder (138th overall) to Nashville, Harper has seven points in just four games and has argubaly been the Terriers’ best forward so far.
2. Sam Tucker looked much improved
The graduate transfer came up with 25 saves in Friday night’s effort. Although UML hung three on him in relatively short order, Tucker seemed to pass the eye test tonight as there really was not much he could have done on the goals that were allowed, whether it was a close-range bomb , flukey deflections, or bouncing pucks in tight. After a bit of a rocky start to his season, allowing seven goals on 33 shots in his first two starts, this performance was definitely a step in the right direction for the goaltender, who showed up for BU when the team need him most, coming up with a massive save on Carl Berglund in overtime to keep the game going.
3. Letting opponents back into games is becoming a serious problem
Last weekend, the Terriers tied Northern Michigan in the first game of the two-game set by a final score of 4-4 after leading 4-1 before the third period. The following night, BU jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, taking all the momentum before NMU came right back with a 2-1 lead – that game would end as a 4-3 loss for the Terriers. Friday night’s tilt followed a concerning trend of BU being unable to hold a lead. O’Connell’s group was having their way with the Riverhawks before UML scored three unanswered tallies to tie things up. Granted, two of the goals were somewhat flukey, but as previously stated, but the Terriers are going to need to buck this trend soon.