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).
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.
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.
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.