UPDATED: BU wins game, loses Cason Hohmann vs. North Dakota

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff 

The Boston University men’s hockey team played its best game in weeks Friday night, but what it lost — Cason Hohmann — might be more significant than a single win.

The junior forward went down with a shoulder injury midway through the first period and did not return, putting a damper on the 3-1 win over No. 14/15 University of North Dakota at Agganis Arena.

BU coach David Quinn said Hohmann is out indefinitely and offered nothing in terms of a timetable or official diagnosis.

“He’s going to be out for a while, unfortunately. … We’ll have a better idea next week,” Quinn said, adding that Hohmann has been battling the shoulder issue much of the season. “We had talked going into this game how this may be a reoccurring problem with him. And sure enough, before the first period ends, he gets hit pretty good and the thing pops out and he’s done for the night.”

The Terriers (6-6, 2-3 Hockey East), however, adjusted on the fly and managed just fine. Freshman Nick Roberto replaced Hohmann as the first-line right wing, and freshman Tommy Kelley moved from the fourth line to the second to play with junior Evan Rodrigues and freshman Robbie Baillargeon.

Quinn said he liked what he saw from the youngsters, and Hohmann’s absence presents yet another chance for BU’s rookies to answer the door.

Opportunity is knocking.

“We’re so young up front, and you lose a guy who’s proven he can be a scorer at this level, it makes it difficult,” Quinn said. “But in the short period of time that he was gone for the two and a half periods, we responded well. Time will tell. It’s easier to do something for a short period of time.

“I actually mentioned to somebody during the week … Roberto, [Matt] Lane, [Danny] O’Regan sounds like a good line to me as well. Because of unfortunately what happened to Cason, all of a sudden there they are halfway through the first period. … It certainly looked good for the two and a half periods they played together.”

Part of the reason the Terriers kept North Dakota (4-6-1) at bay for the duration of the tilt was sophomore Matt O’Connor, who made 37 saves while allowing a single goal — off the stick of UND sophomore Rocco Grimaldi late in the third — for the second time in a week.

Quinn decided to stray from his two-goalie rotation for the first time in a month, and the decision paid off immensely.

O’Connor impressed enough to earn his third straight start, which will come Saturday against North Dakota.

“Their goalie was hot,” Grimaldi said. “Give credit to that guy. He definitely stole a game there.”

Added O’Connor: “After that goal I’m still hungry for another game. Obviously I wanted a shutout. … Your skills just kind of stay higher up [when you start regularly]. I think obviously, Kieran Millan is a perfect example, being able to just maintain consistent play. Being in the net just allows you that time to just get used to and acclimated to the game situation. As much as you have a game situation in practice, it is never the same as the game”

Despite missing the final two-plus periods, Hohmann managed to leave his mark in the time that he was on the ice.

He earned the Terriers’ first goal at the 9:14 mark in the opening frame. Sophomore wing Lane fed Hohmann, who skated down the left side and shot from the dot, sneaking the puck between the nearside pipe and netminder Clarke Saunders’ stick.

“He shot the puck. Look what happened. He shot the puck and it ends up in the net,” Quinn said. “It was a great play by Matt [Lane]. He obviously read the situation, their deep pitches, he protects the puck a little bit, finds a hole, gets it by them and away we go two-on-one.”

Senior captain Garrett Noonan earned the secondary assist on Hohmann’s tally, then the primary one when O’Regan scored at 17:15. Noonan held the puck in the right circle, deked around one North Dakota player then lost the puck as he entered the slot. O’Regan was there, however, to finish the chance at the crease on the power play.

Officials reviewed the sequence, in which the puck barely crossed the line.

North Dakota held BU scoreless in the second — uncharacteristic for the Terriers, who entered the game having scored about two-thirds of their goals in the middle frame — but the home team found the back of the net again in the third.

At 4:59 and with BU again with a man-advantage, sophomore defenseman Matt Grzelcyk’s shot from the point bounced off of Saunders’ pad. Freshman wing Kevin Duane was there to put the rebound in a mostly open net.

“Two power-play goals out of seven. … I’ll take that all day long,” Quinn said.

Live blog: Matt O’Connor gets second straight start as BU hosts North Dakota

Time/location (TV): 7:30 pm., Agganis Arena (NBCSN)

BU lines:
Matt Lane – Danny O’Regan – Cason Hohmann
Evan Rodrigues – Robbie Baillargeon – Nick Roberto
Mike Moran – Dillon Lawrence – Kevin Duane
Tommy Kelley – T.J. Ryan – Jake Moscatel

Ahti Oksanen – Garrett Noonan
Matt Grzelcyk – Dalton MacAfee
Doyle Somerby – Patrick MacGregor

Matt O’Connor
Sean Maguire
Anthony Moccia

North Dakota lines:
Bryn Chyzyk – Drake Caggiula – Rocco Grimaldi
Wade Murphy – Luke Johnson – Michael Parks
Mitch MacMillan – Adam Tambellini – Connor Gaarder
Gage Ausmus – Stephane Pattyn – Andrew Panzarella

Dillon Simpson – Jordan Schmaltz
Nick Mattson – Paul LaDue
Keaton Thompson – Troy Stecher

Clarke Saunders
Zane Gothberg

Referees: Tim Benedetto, Geoffrey Miller
Assistant referees: Chris Aughe, Chris Millea

Live Blog:

From the FreeP: BU men’s hockey to face No. 15 North Dakota in weekend games

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

There are around 1,700 miles between Boston and Grand Forks, N.D. However, the distance will not be an issue for the Boston University men’s hockey team, as No. 15 University of North Dakota has made the trip to the East Coast in a two-game matchup of perennial national powerhouses Friday and Saturday evening.

The Terriers (5-6, 2-3 Hockey East) are coming off their first win in their last four games, as they topped the University of Connecticut 4-1 at Agganis Arena. The win was a nice change for BU, which had been outscored 15-2 over the previous three games entering last Sunday’s win.

“I like the fact that we didn’t seem to take them lightly,” BU coach David Quinn said about his team’s win over UConn. “We came ready to play, which certainly speaks to our senior leadership.”