The Boston University men’s hockey team was beaten by No. 2 Cornell 2-0 at Red Hot Hockey on Saturday night. Here are my three takeaways immediately following the game. All opinions are my own.
The BU offense needs to get back to basics
With the way the Terrier attack came out of the gates this season, it would have been impossible to guess that they’d go seven consecutive periods without a goal. Yet, here we are with another goalless effort despite a competitive shots-on-goal total. To me, BU’s struggles seem to stem from a recent lack of urgency and killer-instinct in the attacking zone. Both the power play and full-strength lines have begun to settle for long-range looks, and that’s not enough to beat goaltenders at this level. The flashy snipes may be more attractive, but goals from the dirty areas will win games, and it seems like that is what Coach O’Connell is trying to preach to this young, talented team.
Defensive lapses left Tucker out to dry
Overall, the Terriers were strong in the defensive end, especially against one of the top offenses in the nation with Cornell. However, against a team with the ability of the Big Red, letting your guard down for a split-second can prove costly, and that’s what we saw on Saturday night. Within 20 seconds of each other, we saw a weak-side attacker go uncovered, and a shooter in close range go unchallenged enough to get off a solid shot. Both tallies could have been avoided with improved positioning and instincts from the Terriers, and perhaps those qualities are two of the central learning points for this young group of BU d-men as they go forward in their development as a defensive unit.
BU put up a fight under the bright lights
My first two takeaways were rather negative, but like Coach O’Connell said after the game, there were positives to take from this game. The biggest plus in my mind was BU’s ability to stick with one of the nation’s best squads for 60 minutes on the biggest stage they’ve played on so far this season. The goals didn’t come, but BU didn’t let up, and with a couple bounces, it could have been a very different outcome. I was especially impressed with how strong BU started, keeping in mind how many players were likely playing in front of a sold-out NHL arena for the first time. BU played hard on the big stage, and that bodes well for similar competitions (cough cough, Beanpot) down the road.
BU will return to Boston for a rivalry game with No. 6/9 Harvard at Agganis Arena on Tuesday night.