By James Garrison
The No. 14 Boston University Men’s Hockey (19-12-3, 13-8-3 HE) took the ice for the final time in the regular season Saturday night against the Maine Black Bears (7-21-4, 5-17-2 HE) at Alfond Arena in Orono, Maine. The Terriers’ resurgent second half to their regular season came to a dismal end, as the Terriers dropped the contest, 8-1.
Coming off of a convincing win Friday night, the Terriers looked poised to march through the regular season finale. Nothing could have been farther from what happened, though. The Terriers suffered by far their worst loss of the season in terms of the score, the way the team looked, and the implications as it relates to the final Hockey East Standings.
The Black Bears scored four in the first period, two in the second, and two in the third to put up an eight-spot. The most goals given up by BU since December 3rd, 2010 in a 9-5 loss to Boston College.
“I think everything [went wrong], I think the way we prepped, our mentality”, said BU Head Coach Albie O’Connell post-game. “They wanted the game more than we did, and that was basically the difference.”
The game had a similar start to Friday night’s game, Maine coming out with a strong start. Coming off a 5-1 home-ice loss and it being the Black Bear’s senior night, a strong push was expected. Black Bears’ junior forward AJ Drobot started off the scoring at 8:03 in the first period.
“We tried to play an east-west game against a team who’s very competitive”, said O’Connell. “It’s just disappointing. I love this team, hated the way we played tonight, hated the way we competed, hated our mentality, our details. We were bad. It’s about as bad as we played all year and we picked a bad time to do it.”
The Black Bears proceeded to get three more past Terriers’ goaltender Drew Commesso in a 1:07 span with goals from Matthew Fawcett, Nolan Renwick, and Ben Poisson to end the night for Commesso. After stopping twenty-eight of twenty-nine shots Friday night and collecting his first win since returning from the Olympics, Commesso gave up four goals on fourteen shots in the first period.
Sophomore goaltender Vinny Duplessis would play final two periods in the hopes that it would provide a spark for the group going into the second period, the Terriers were unable to create much in terms of positive momentum for the remaining forty minutes. The Black Bears would add four more in the next two periods for a stellar sendoff for their seniors.
“Our goalies were kicking but they just weren’t pickin’ ‘em”, said O’Connell. “Our net front was one of the safest places you could be in Maine. Really, really soft.”
Of the few positives for the Terriers Saturday night, one came in the form of Wilmer Skoog continuing his scoring streak. Skoog scored his second lacrosse-style goal of the season and his third as a Terrier to cut the Black Bears’ lead to 6-1. Skoog had three goals and one assist on the weekend and has scored in his last four games.
The weekend split and the action all throughout Hockey East saw the Terriers finish fifth in Hockey East standings – avoiding a mid-week game but giving up home-ice in the quarterfinals next Saturday.
“We had an opportunity for home-ice and to move up the standings at this time of year, it’s just a real missed opportunity”, said O’Connell. “We didn’t shoot ourself in the foot ‘cause we put ourselves in a spot where we’re playing on Saturday and not Wednesday”.
The Terriers will look to reset have a quick reset, as they are set to take on the University of Connecticut Huskies down in Hartford next Saturday, with the time to be determined. As much as the team would like to quickly move past the loss, Coach O’Connell has things to take away from the loss.
“Obviously we’ve got to move past it but we have to watch how un-competitive we were and how un-competitive and lack of smarts we had, it was awful”, said O’Connell.
The Terriers have seen a second half resurgence that has seen them put themselves in a contenting position for the Hockey East Title and a potential bid in the NCAA Tournament. It is basically ‘win to stay alive’ now for the Terriers, who could have as many as seven more games, or as little as one more game.
“We’ve had a hell of a push, hell of a run here. There’s nothing to cry over, we’ve got to win a hockey game and try to extend our season, it is what it is.”