By Meredith Perri/DFP Staff
Boston University men’s hockey coach David Quinn has said for weeks now that, with the exception of one poor game, his team has deserved to win.
With all that on its shoulders, plus a senior night celebration, the retiring of Jack Parker’s number and the suspension of numerous players for violating a team rule, BU snapped a nine-game winless streak Friday evening.
Here’s a closer look at what went right, and really the only thing that went wrong, for the Terriers during their 4-1 win over Northeastern University.
25 seconds in the first
Coming into Friday night’s game, the Terriers had not scored since the first period of their tilt with the University of New Hampshire on Feb. 17. In that three-game stretch, BU was also shut out back-to-back times for the first time in 72 years, and, since both of those shutouts came at the hands of the University of Notre Dame, shutout by the same team for the first time in program history.
So, when Kevin Duane fired a shot off a defenseman and into the net with just over nine minutes remaining in the first, he didn’t just give the Terriers a 1-0 lead; he also ended the longest scoreless streak in BU history – 183 minutes and 19 seconds.
This time it took just 25 seconds for BU to find the back of the net again as sophomore wing Danny O’Regan put his 10th of the season by Northeastern netminder Clay Witt to give BU a 2-0 lead it would hold for the rest of the period.
The 25-second spree was just the second time this season BU had scored two goals in the first.
“It gave us some energy,” Quinn said. “You need some puck luck in this game. We won a national championship with some puck luck, let’s not kid ourselves here. This is a sport where the thing isn’t round and you can’t predict which way it bounces. So it’s nice to get a bounce in your favor every now and then.”
A shorthanded, empty net goal
The Terriers lead the nation in shorthanded goals allowed with 11. (One of those came during last night’s game, but we’ll get to that later). They have also given up 11 empty net goals.
With less than three minutes left in the game, and with BU holding a 3-1 lead, Northeastern went on the power play and pulled Witt to make it a 6-on-4 advantage. Roughly 20 seconds into the penalty kill, sophomore defenseman Ahti Oksanen flung the puck from almost behind the Terrier’s own goal toward the other side of the ice.
The goal was the first shorthanded tally of the season for the Terriers and, compared to the 11 they have given up, just the third empty netter of the year as well.
Jack Parker and the seniors
From the fans holding up dozens of signs for senior captain Garrett Noonan to Parker and his family standing at center ice watching his banner drop down from the rafters, a lot of love filled Agganis Arena Friday evening. While those two events were not the only reasons why the Terriers played well, they did seem to give the players a jolt on the ice.
“I know what Coach Parker means to all of those players,” Quinn said. “He coached them all – well most of them, and if he didn’t coach them, he recruited the freshman class – so there’s certainly a connection there. And there will be a connection with Jack for every player that moves forward and comes through this program. He’s so symbolic of this program.”
The power play
Even during this stretch of time where the team has played better without winning any games, they have struggled to convert on power-play opportunities. That continued against Northeastern when BU had just over 10 minutes of time with the man advantage and managed to give up a goal instead of score one.
Northeastern notched its only goal of the game during the middle of the second frame when wing Braden Pimm turned the puck over near center ice, then broke away from the pack. He then deked out BU sophomore netminder Sean Maguire to put the Huskies on the board.
As was mentioned earlier, the goal contributed to the Terriers’ 11 shorthanded goals allowed this season – the most in the nation.