Pluses and Minuses: Four unanswered give Terriers big win over Friars

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

David Quinn put it simply: The No. 19 Boston University men’s hockey team’s 4-3 win over No. 3 Providence College on Friday was a tale of two games.

After the first “game,” i.e. the first period, the Terriers trailed 3-0 and looked like the team that was manhandled last weekend. But by the final buzzer at Agganis Arena they turned it around completely, using four goals in fewer than 20 minutes of game time to catapult themselves to a win.

Here’s a look at what the Terriers (4-3, 2-0 Hockey East) did well against the Friars (4-1-1, 0-1 Hockey East).

Pluses 

Danny O’Regan gets a pair
The sophomore forward, who owned just one goal three weekends into the season, found the back of the net twice — once to tie the game, once to win it.

The first was the prettiest the Terriers have put together all season, a give and go between O’Regan and freshman forward Robbie Baillargeon right up the middle of Providence’s defensive zone. The second came when O’Regan put away a rebound from Baillargeon’s initial shot.

“It felt great,” O’Regan said of the first. “It was a great play by Robbie and it was kind of hard work paying off so it felt great.”

It is also worth noting that those two goals came from BU’s “new” top line. Quinn swapped the wings — Baillargeon played the right, junior Evan Rodrigues the left — and the tweak was successful.

Matt O’Connor recovers
The first period wasn’t pretty for the Friday night starter in net — three goals on 19 shots, a far cry from two goals on 42 shots against the University of Michigan last week.

Part of that disparity was part of the Terriers’ general lack of energy, with the third goal in particular the result of a tough, one-on-goalie situation.

But O’Connor bounced back to stop the next 18 shots the rest of the way, including stopping dangerous PC center Ross Mauermann. With O’Connor’s momentum shifting right, Mauermann deflected a shot to the left, but the netminder used his length to swiftly recover and get a piece of puck, keeping it out of the goal.

O’Connor was solid, but not otherwordly. Sophomore Sean Maguire will likely get the start in Providence Saturday.

Lack of penalties
Whatever Quinn told the team after the first period, during which BU took two penalties in the first three minutes (see more below), must have worked. They didn’t send a man to the box for the final 40 minutes, much to Quinn’s delight.

“It was huge,” Quinn said. “We have a goal of four or less and we took two and we gave ourselves a chance to win tonight.”

Working the game plan
PC goalie Jon Gillies, the reigning Hockey East rookie of the year and a second-team All-American, entered the contest with .950 save percentage and 1.71 save percentage. Quinn’s tactic: just get pucks to the net.

For more on how the Terriers did exactly that, read Kevin Dillon’s article here.

Minuses

First period
Everything that went wrong for the Terriers can pretty much be lumped into that 20-minute span, during which they revisited all of their mistakes from last weekend’s two-game stint in Michigan: turnovers, poor faceoff results, trouble breaking out of the neutral zone, bad penalties — and badly timed penalties — and giving up too many shots.

The most blatant turnover belonged to senior captain Garrett Noonan in the neutral zone and immediately led to PC’s third goal, Brandon Tanev unassisted. BU finished 5-19 on draws after the first, and although it didn’t get much better (23-45 was the final), it did not significantly hamper the Terriers offensively.

The first-period penalties were perhaps the most reminiscent aspect of last weekend. BU had a power play less than a minute into the contest, but 16 seconds later Rodrigues was called for interference. Freshman center Nick Roberto tripped a Friar in the offensive zone one and a half minutes later and sat the rest of the period as a result.

Pluses and Minuses: BU finishes out first weekend on road with loss to Michigan State

By Meredith Perri/DFP Staff
EAST LANSING, Mich. – For the first time this season, No. 13/14 Boston University men’s hockey coach David Quinn felt as though his team took a step back. The Terriers, who fell to Michigan State University Saturday evening 3-1, finished off their first away weekend of the season with a pair of losses after holding a 1-0 lead for the majority of the game.
Minuses
Team’s readiness to play
At a very basic level, Saturday’s game against Michigan State carried some similarities to Friday’s game against the University of Michigan. Both involved BU taking a 1-0 lead late in the first period and, ultimately, giving it up in the second half of the third. Quinn, however, was quick to say that the game against the Spartans was different since it showed a Terrier squad that did not expect much from its competition coming into the game.
“Today [Michigan State] played like a team that was 0-3 and was looking for a win,” Quinn said. “We played like a team that was 3-2 and thought it was going to be easy tonight. And they were the much better team tonight. That’s all there is to it.”
Penalties
Quinn had one word to sum up his thoughts on the amount of penalties the Terriers took not just Saturday night, but on the weekend – ridiculous.
BU had seven penalties during the tilt with the Spartans. Even though the Terriers were perfect on the penalty kill, Quinn said it took the legs away from a team that already started off the game “standing in quick sand.”
According to Quinn, even though he’s benched players for racking up too many penalty minutes, he wants to see more “drastic” improvements.
The trouble with faceoffs
BU really struggled at the dot in the game,with Michigan State holding the faceoff advantage 36-20. None of the BU players who took faceoffs had a successful night. In fact, the only BU player to have better than a .500 average on the draw was senior captain Garrett Noonan, who went 1-0. Sophomore center Danny O’Regan, who took the most faceoffs of the game with 25, went 9-16.
“Oh, we got killed,” Quinn said. “That’s not being ready to play. Faceoffs are a huge sign of your team’s readiness, and we lost faceoffs … As the puck was about to hit the ice, [Michigan State] was already moving and we were flat footed.”
Pluses
Matt Lane
While the sophomore had the Terriers’ lone goal tonight, he also had some other good scoring opportunities. Lane, who gave BU a 1-0 lead with 48 seconds left in the first frame, was the only Terrier to finish the night with a positive plus-minus rating. Furthermore, the right winger out of Rochester, N.Y., had multiple shorthanded chances during the second period when BU had four penalties.
Goaltending
Just like his classmate Matt O’Connor on Friday, sophomore Sean Maguire had a strong night in goal against Michigan State. The Powell River, British Columbia, native had 30 saves on the night – 11 of which came with the Terriers on the penalty kill.
When asked what he would say to both O’Connor and Maguire after a weekend where they both kept BU in their respective games, senior captain Garrett Noonan said, “sorry.”
“Both of them played unbelievable back-to-back nights,” Noonan said. “When you don’t get the win for them it’s tough. They played hard for us all night, and we give up two goals back-to-back nights. It’s tough. We have got to get back to work Friday night [against Providence College] and try to earn them a victory.”
Quinn also made said that without the strong goaltending he was not sure where the Terriers would be right now.
Traveling Terriers
More than 20 members of the Dog Pound drove to Michigan this weekend, marking the first time that Quinn saw the Terrier fanbase travel to watch BU play and, at times, out-cheer the home school’s student sections.
“It’s awesome,” Quinn said. “I just wish we were able to reward them for their support.”
Noonan also showed his appreciation for the fans.
“It’s pretty tremendous that they come all the way out for us like that and support us like that, Noonan said. “They mean a ton to us, and I know we will need them Friday night.”

Pluses and Minuses: Penalties, turnovers doom Terriers in loss at Michigan

By Kevin Dillon/DFP Staff

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The No. 13/14 Boston University men’s hockey team fell at the hands of No. 4 University of Michigan, 2-1, at Yost Ice Arena Friday night. Here is a look at some of the pluses and minuses for the Terriers in their second loss of the season.


Minuses

Team discipline dooms Terriers from start
BU has made a habit of spending time in the penalty box this season, a place that they found themselves a lot again Friday night at Michigan.

It started in the first period, when the Terriers took three penalties in the first 12 minutes of the game and allowed nine power play shots. One of the penalties was a too many men on the ice penalty, which is the second one BU has taken in as many games.

Besides a penalty shot induced by a hook from sophomore forward Mike Moran, the other four minor penalties were taken by four different defensemen. Senior captain Patrick MacGregor, who was benched for the first period because of the penalties he had taken in recent games, and freshman Dalton MacAfee were the only two defensemen that did not take a penalty in the game.

One reason the penalties were so necessary was because Michigan was passing the puck so well and had chances to get open looks at sophomore goaltender Matt O’Connor. Three of the four penalties were tripping penalties while the other was an interference call, all of which were to stop the fast-paced Michigan offense from getting past them.

“It’s the theme of our year so far,” said BU coach David Quinn. “It’s just ridiculous.”

Even with the Terriers struggling to stay out of the box Friday night, penalty trouble has not been as much of a problem for BU as it has been for several other teams in Hockey East. BU is eighth in the league with 12 penalty minutes per game, 10.6 minutes per game behind league leader Northeastern University (22.6).

Sloppy puck-possession play leaves Terriers without offense
Quinn has stressed all season the importance of his team making the smart, five-foot pass instead of a long stretch pass through the neutral zone looking for a big play. However, the Terriers found themselves looking for longer passes again Friday night, and it fell right into the hands of the Wolverines defense that was waiting for them.

Several Terriers tried to squeeze longer passes through a suffocating Michigan defense, in turn creating offensive opportunities for the opponent instead of their own team. Quinn also pointed out BU’s struggles with passing on the initial rush as a reason his team did not possess the puck for much of the game.

“Coming down on a 2-on-2 or a 3-on-3 in tight areas with high-risk plays and boom, they turn it over and they go the other way,” Quinn said. “Against this team that is the last way you want to play. You can’t play that way. We did it all night long. … That’s the frustrating part.

“Decision making is a big part of this game. You’ve got to make good decisions, and when we had it we didn’t make great decisions.”

Pluses


Robbie Baillargeon finds the back of the net again

Freshman winger Robbie Baillargeon scored his first collegiate goal last Saturday against Wisconsin, and now he is on a bit of a streak. With less than two minutes remaining in the first period — a period in which the Terriers were outshot 14-6 — Baillargeon rifled a wrist shot over Michigan goalie Zach Nagelvoort’s shoulder while falling backward.

Quinn showed his confidence in Baillargeon’s abilities early when he put him on the first line with sophomore center Danny O’Regan and junior winger Evan Rodrigues, but decided a move to a line with sophomore winger Matt Lane and junior center Cason Hohmann would suit his skills better. Since joining that second line, Baillargeon has two goals and two assists and has been arguably the Terriers’ best forward.

“He’s got great skills,” Quinn said of his top-scoring freshman. “He’s a really good player. He’s going to produce a lot of offense for us.”

Matt O’Connor stands tall
The top Terrier on the night by a long shot was O’Connor, who made 42 saves in a losing effort. O’Connor was stellar on the penalty kill and 5-on-5, and made several key saves that required him to move post to post to kick the puck aside.

For more on O’Connor’s night, click here.

Pluses and Minuses: Few bright spots in loss to RPI

Note: “Pluses and Minuses” is a new feature replacing what is normally called “Three Up, Three Down.” The idea is the same — to highlight certain areas, good and bad, of the Terriers’ game — but without the number constraints.

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

It had to happen eventually, right?

The No. 15 Boston University men’s hockey team lost its first game of the season at Agganis Arena Saturday night, a 3-1 decision to No. 17 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

RPI (2-1) took it to the Terriers (2-1, 1-0 Hockey East) early, and coach David Quinn’s crew never fully recovered. Here’s a look at what went right and what went wrong for BU:

Minuses

1:32 in the first period 
Well, approximately. The Engineers came out of the gates flying, and the Terriers took longer than they would’ve liked to respond. It resulted in two goals — and an interference penalty on freshman defenseman T.J. Ryan — in a span of just 1:32. The second goal came 12 seconds into the power play.

RPI netted its first goal at the 3:25 mark, the result of digging at the net, and the beginning of a trend that lasted most of the night. BU reacted by being on its heels even more.

The Terriers got sharper in the second half of the first frame, but had nothing to show for it going into the dressing room.

“For some reason, we got off to a slow start and we suffered the consequences,” Quinn said. “The first period, they were walking out of their end, and we didn’t establish any forecheck. I didn’t think there was any anticipation in our game. I thought we were puck watching, which makes it difficult to anticipate plays.”

Ryan Haggerty’s second goal 
Quinn broke it down simply: Early in the third, the Terriers didn’t make the easy, five-foot pass to break out of the zone. Instead, they opted to send it all the way to the other end for an icing. The result was a faceoff in BU’s defensive zone, off of which Haggerty beat sophomore goalie Sean Maguire.

“The guys were anxious to get the third period going because of the way the second period went,” Quinn said. “But I thought that third goal really deflated us.”

That tally, combined with a pair of penalties (Matt Grzelcyk for hooking and Brendan Collier for interference), put BU “behind the eight-ball,” as Quinn termed it, when BU needed to get it going the most.

Sean Maguire 
On a day when he had a chance to put something of a stranglehold on the starting goalie position — Quinn said Thursday Maguire could get both games this weekend if he performed well Friday — the netminder didn’t exactly make the most of his opportunity.

While Maguire wasn’t terrible, he wasn’t his sharpest, either. Quinn mentioned the second goal in particular — a clean shot from the point through Maguire’s five-hole — as one the goalie likely wanted back.

“I could tell he was a little frustrated with that,” Quinn said before deflecting attention away from Maguire.

“Hey, again, we scored one goal tonight. We have got to generate more offense, and that is certainly something that we have to be conscious of.”

Quinn did not say which goalie, Maguire or sophomore Matt O’Connor, will get the nod Saturday vs. Wisconsin.

Pluses 

Kevin Duane 
Last weekend, the freshman wing recorded his first point in his first game. Friday night, he netted his first collegiate goal.

Sophomore defenseman Ahti Oksanen threaded a pretty pass right up the middle to Duane, who was behind the last Rensselaer defender. He beat RPI netminder Scott Diebold, who made 31 saves, by deflecting it off of his shoulder.

After the goal, Duane started to see more ice time, including some action on the power play late in the third.

“I was happy to see Kevin get rewarded because I thought he had a good night on Saturday against Holy Cross as well,” Quinn said. “The reason I played him as much as I did was because he was playing well.”

At the time, the goal in the last minute of the second period gave BU momentum heading into the final 20 minutes. That leverage evaporated when Rensselaer made it 3-1 just 48 seconds into the last frame.

Coincidentally, Duane and Haggerty grew up about 20 minutes from each other in Connecticut.

The third line

Quinn dropped sophomore wing Sam Kurker from the second line to the third, meaning he played with two of his former high school foes, freshmen Collier and Nick Roberto.

Although the trio didn’t find themselves on the scoresheet at night’s end, it did not take long for them to develop an effective chemistry. Collier, Roberto and Kurker had a particularly effective stretch toward the end of the second period when they generated several chances the shift before Duane found the back of the net.