The Boston University Terriers (2-1-2, 1-0-1 HE) took down the University of New Hampshire Wildcats in a 3-0 win at Agganis Arena on Saturday night. Overall, it was a strong effort from Albie O’Connell’s group as line shuffling and a strong third period from UNH hampered the Terriers a little bit–you can check out Brady Gardner’s full recap. All in all, a good game from BU, here are my three takeaways–opinions are my own:
1. Sam Tucker is settling in
Tucker played his best game of the season on Saturday. Sure, the bar may not have been set very high to begin with after allowing seven goals on 33 shots through his first two starts of the year, but this was a a huge weekend for the graduate transfer. The Terrier goaltender followed up a solid outing on Friday night at Lowell, where he did not have much of a say in the three goals he gave up, with an extremely impressive 32-save shutout over the Wildcats. Tucker kept the Terriers alive in the third as UNH controlled play, highlighted by a diving save to keep the puck out on the rebound. On the weekend, Tucker made 57 saves on 60 total shots – “pretty, pretty, pretty good,” as Larry David would say. The former Yale netminder was phenomenal, to put it simply, so hopefully this bodes well for his long-term performance.
2. BU cannot afford to lose Patrick Harper long-term
Speaking of long-term, BU has to seriously hope Harper does not miss a ton of time. The senior assistant captain exited the game during the first period and did not return. It is unclear what the cause of the injury was, nor what exactly the injury is; however, BU did not look totally in sync in his absence, especially during the third period. O’Connell jumbled the lines plenty Saturday, which did not help much in the way of facilitating chemistry and helping the team establish a good flow later in the game. While Jamie Armstrong definitely was not bad filling in on the top line, he was not anything to write home about whatsoever. Patrick Curry and Trevor Zegras clearly missed their linemate, too.
3. The defense played its best game so far, even without Cam Crotty
The defense was definitely in for a tough test from the start of the game as Crotty missed the contest with an injury sustained during Friday’s matchup at Lowell. While Tucker’s play in net certainly helped make the d-core’s group a lot more easier, the backend did a good job suppressing high-danger chances, clearing traffic in front of their goaltender and limiting the effectiveness of UNH’s lethal power play unit. The only breakdown was a goal for UNH that was called back, but even then was it a flukey, broken play that somehow led to the Wildcats believing they had scored when the puck had never even crossed the line. Tucker made the big saves when needed, but the group in front of him easily put forth their best effort of the young season, too.