In the seventh edition of Red Hot Hockey at Madison Square Garden, the Boston University men’s hockey team was bested by No. 2 Cornell University 2-0 on Saturday night.
“Sometimes you lose and you feel like you’ve really lost. We felt like … we can take a lot out of how we played,” said BU head coach Albie O’Connell.
After BU (4-6-5, 3-4-4 Hockey East) doubled Cornell (9-0, 6-0 ECAC) in shots on goal 10-5 in the opening 20 minutes, the Big Red broke through 7:39 into the second period.
On the rush, sophomore forward Michael Regush benefitted from a fortuitous bounce on a rebound created by senior defenseman Yanni Kaldis.
Cornell doubled its lead just 20 seconds later when junior forward Brendan Locke ripped in a close-range feed from freshman forward Ben Berard.
“We just had a little bit of a mental lapse and lacked physicality in two situations,” said O’Connell.
The Terriers threatened for spurts both before and after the pair of Big Red tallies, but for the second consecutive game, BU could not break through.
“We’re not that far off,” said O’Connell. “We’ve got to be a little hungrier to get in front of the cage and … bang home a rebound goal, get a couple dirty goals.”
Cornell was backstopped by 28 saves from junior goaltender Matthew Galajda, whose finest stops came against a pair of high-quality chances for BU graduate forward Alex Brink.
“I felt like their goaltender made some key saves in some big moments,” said BU senior forward Patrick Curry.
The Terriers didn’t register a shot on goal for more than eight minutes to begin the final frame, and by the time they pulled graduate goaltender Sam Tucker, it was too little too late.
“All it takes for that team is to get a one- or two-goal lead and then they can kind of sit on it,” said Curry.
With the 2-0 score line holding to the final buzzer, Cornell hoisted the Kelley-Harkness Cup for the second time in program history, defending their 2017 Red Hot Hockey title.
“They play for each other and they play for our university, and that’s nice to see,” said Cornell head coach Mike Schafer of his players.
Despite the Terriers going two games without a goal for the first time in more than a year, Coach O’Connell believes his men are headed in the right direction.
“I thought we made good strides as a team,” the second-year BU boss said. ”The way we played tonight versus a really good team in that setting is a real positive.”
For Captain Curry, the exciting opportunity to play at Madison Square Garden was not forgotten in the loss.
“It’s always a great experience when you can play in this type of arena and this type of stage,” he said.
BU will take on another ECAC foe on Tuesday night when they host the No. 6/9 Harvard University Crimson.