BU finished the first half in style, knocking off then-No. 8/12 Northeastern 6-3 at Agganis Arena on Saturday night. Here is my weekly column about the state of BU men’s hockey, and as always, all opinions are my own.
Elation for the Terriers
Brian Kelley, who is about as close to the team as you can get, said after the victory over Northeastern that the BU locker room was as loud as he remembered in a long time. I didn’t hear it myself, but I’m not surprised. It was a statement win to end a statement week against two Boston rivals, and the postgame pictures showed just how much it meant to the Terriers. They certainly ended the first half with a bang.
The offense would not be beat
We’ve seen stretches of games this season where the Terriers would fall quiet and surrender a series of goals without much of an answer. Northeastern gave BU every reason to cave in after starting the second period with two goals in 15 seconds, but this time, the Terriers responded. They came back from trailing twice within a span of four minutes, and buried the Huskies later in the frame. On Saturday, the BU offense was the best on the ice.
Team defense closed the door
Aside from the breakdowns that allowed Northeastern to temporarily lead twice in the second period, the BU defense was air-tight against about as talented an attack as they’ve seen this season. Sam Tucker didn’t face nearly as many one-on-one chances as he has in the past, and there were far fewer goalmouth scrambles. The Terriers frustrated the Huskies all night, punctuated by Matt Quercia’s late steal and score against Tyler Madden to seal the win.
BU needed that undefeated rivalry week
It would have been hard for even the most positive BU fan (you know who you are…) to predict 11 goals and two wins in a week against top-ten teams that they have struggled against in recent history. BU did it, though, and the consecutive shutouts now feel like a distant memory instead of the start of a downward spiral. The Terriers needed to bounce back, they did, and I think everyone feels a little differently about this team because of it.
Will BU carry the momentum into 2020?
It’s just BU’s luck that when they get the most momentum they’ve had all semester, they now have to wait three weeks before their next game. Perhaps ending the first half on a positive note will make practices more enjoyable and upbeat, but it’s important to remember that keeping the mood light can only do so much to keep a team in game condition. Will the Terriers be able to stay sharp and continue their hot streak when they return?
Who are these Christmas additions?
Last week, Coach O’Connell teased that BU might have a couple Christmas additions lined up for this holiday break. Obviously we will be actively searching for details here, but I’m interested to see who the Terriers are looking to bring in. Last season we saw Vinnie Purpura join the goaltender ranks halfway through the season, so will these reinforcements be freshman depth pieces like he proved to be, or will they emerge as real game-changers?
How will the WJC call-up impact Zegras and Mastrosimone?
The Terriers often have players invited to the World Junior Championships, so losing a couple guys for a few weeks isn’t anything new. What I’m excited to see is whether or not these young Terriers can grow through this international experience. Last season, we saw Joel Farabee produce for his country at this tournament, and catch fire in his return to BU. Will Trevor Zegras and Robert Mastrosimone do the same?
BU will return to action on December 29 in a friendly against Concordia at Walter Brown Arena. The Boston Hockey Blog will continue its columns and coverage over the holiday break, so stay active on this site to make sure you don’t miss any of our latest content.