Three Takeaways from Saturday’s loss to Cornell at Red Hot Hockey

Case McCarthy and Alex Brink warm up before Saturday’s game. Photo by Brady Gardner.

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.

13 thoughts on “Three Takeaways from Saturday’s loss to Cornell at Red Hot Hockey”

  1. Nice job here, Brady. I agree almost 100 %. Let’s face it, this is a “bridge” year for the team. We should be looking toward next year and what players will stay and go. That said to me it does not look good. With Farrance and Zegras gone we will have giant gaps to fill and those now on the squad can not take their place at all. The incoming group I don’t think is that good. The whole way we recruit must be changed. Need older players to compete. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is a definition of insanity. Are we all crazy ? Maybe. You know we have been making these same comments for quite a while now.!!!!

    • SoCC. I mainly agree except your point about next season. How can you consider guys like Commesso, Peterson, Skoog and Tuch as “not that good”?

    • Yes SOCC, it does seem like the same problems keep resurfacing. I do think they’re heading the right direction in terms of keeping guys around for 3-4 years instead of 1-2 years. It will take a few years for it to take shape, but currently, I see all the freshmen aside from Zegras, Phillips and Mastrosimone as guys who could potentially stay for three years at least. It’s frustrating to go through bridge years, but it seems like there is direction, which is good.

  2. Brady good points especially getting to the net for rebounds I think we were better then games past but not good enough. Our break out and transition through neutral zone was good. I have said it many times you need to have patience with this team. We are a work in progress. For the most part everyone on this blog has been positive this year now as we face the iron and struggle you hear the season is over it’s not over we need to keep moving forward. I like the make up of our team and as you know I never get off the bu train regardless of there record. We are going to be a competitive team to play against. It’s of very little consolation but we just played against the best team in the country and gave them a game we are right there just have to keep getting better . Go bu

  3. Son of cezar I just saw your post How can you be certain we loose both those guys. I think Ferrance was Nhl ready last year and I never hold it against a kid who is offered his dream to leave but I don’t know he’s leaving. Ferrance could possibly be captain of this team next year and zegras in my opinion does not look Nhl ready it’s not a knock on him I can definitely see why he’s a number 9 overall pick but his game needs to mature a bit. I have doubts he will leave for AHL when he can mature here. All this aside we can still win this year and then worry about next year . Coach and I have stated that the recruiting has changed and we are getting more kids to stay longer. Keep the faith bu will be fine.🐾

  4. Brady, “ but goals from the dirty areas will win games” – spot on, as was all of your analysis of last night’s game. But for a ten minute disturbance in the force, we were equal to the task against an excellent team, with both size and speed. One thought regarding future recruiting strategies – size matters. PSD

    • Not even ten minutes, PSD, 20 seconds! They were right there all game, but couldn’t break through. Size does matter, and it seems like their recruiting has reflected that on the defensive side, but maybe not so much on offense just yet.

  5. If your title is “defenseman” and you don’t keep your feet moving to maintain your body position between the opposing attackers and your goal, its like saying “sorry goalie, your turn (again) to compensate for me.”

    Defense is discipline and toughness. There’s no glory on defense, until you’re raising a title trophy.

    • I’m with you. The offensive production from d-men is great of course, but the priority is protecting Tucker and preventing goals. They did that well for stretches last night but lost focus just long enough for Cornell to capitalize.

      • Ironically, barring a the occasional moment when he shows *too much* composure with the puck in the d-zone, Farrance is easily the best d-zone defender they have. Preds will be eager to sign in ‘20.

    • He’s still with the team Dan, he just wasn’t dressed because they only dress two goalies for away games, and they wanted Lynch to have the opportunity to suit up as a senior.

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