BU adds forward Oskar Andren for 2nd half of season

It appears the Boston University men’s hockey team has worked quickly to fill the recent hole left on the team’s roster.

Oskar Andren, a 20-year-old forward playing in the NAHL, has announced his commitment to play at BU, starting in the second semester of this season.

Andren’s announcement comes one day after a source confirmed with The Daily Free Press that sophomore forward A.J. Greer has left BU for the QMJHL.

A native of Danderyd, Sweden, Andren has played his last two seasons with the Lone Star Brahmas. He had 47 points (18 goals, 29 assists) in 51 games last season, and has 22 points in 28 games this year, which is tops on the team.

Andren is the first commitment from an NAHL player since Ryan Santana made his decision to come to Commonwealth Avenue in 2008-09.

The Lone Star coaching staff gave Andren praises in a statement published on the team’s website.

There’s a lot of good players in this league, and when you’re a top team, you’re going to lose players,” head coach Dan Wildfong added.  “That’s a good thing because they’re moving on to where they want to go.

Andren went through a lot and when the scholarship came, to reach that goal, we were all excited. We trusted him and believed in him and we’re proud of him.  He couldn’t have asked for a better school.

With Andren’s commitment, the Terriers get more offensive depth and their roster goes back up to 15 forwards and 26 total players for the second half of the season.

Confirmed: A.J. Greer departs BU for QMJHL opportunity

Despite conflicting rumors and reports earlier this week, sophomore forward A.J. Greer has departed Boston University and will play for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, a source confirmed with The Daily Free Press.

USCHO posted earlier Saturday that BU had confirmed his departure. Greer has also been removed from BU’s roster online.

Greer attended a Huskies game on Friday night and later wore the team’s jersey after the game.

Greer had four goals and eight assists in 55 games in his BU career.

The Joliette, Quebec native told La Frontière in Quebec the following (translated from French):

“It’s a great atmosphere. … The coaching staff and the team have helped me in my decision as is the fact that there is great chemistry here…

Anthony John Greer describes himself as a power forward. “I have the skills and am able to play on both sides of the rink. I’m always the guy who works harder and I’m a winner, “he assured.

He believes being able to help the Huskies. “I’ll have to adapt myself to the guys and the league, but I will not change my style of play,” he said.

Reports: A.J. Greer to depart BU, join QMJHL

Reports out of Quebec indicate that sophomore forward A.J. Greer will leave Boston University and join the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, as initially reported by Réseau des sports in Quebec. (Report is in French.) BU has not confirmed Greer’s departure.

Greer played 18 games for BU this season, tallying one goal and four assists in that time. Last season, he had seven points (three goals, four assists) in 41 games.

Francis Perron, a member of Rouyn-Noranda, tweeted a welcome to Greer:

UPDATE:

We’ll provide updates as they come, but as of right now this is all we know.

UPDATE, Friday at 9:45 p.m.:

That’s certainly him — we’ll keep digging, but this is the latest we’ve seen reported. Still no confirmation from BU, and he’s still listed on the roster.

Pluses and Minuses: Terriers use late comeback to tie Cornell at Red Hot Hockey

PHOTO BY JUDY COHEN/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
PHOTO BY JUDY COHEN/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

NEW YORK — It doesn’t count as more than a tie in the standings, but David Quinn and his bunch might be feeling as if they were winners in this one.

Trailing by two goals after two periods, the No. 11 Boston University men’s hockey team rallied for three goals in the third period to finish with a 3-3 draw against No. 16 Cornell University at Red Hot Hockey.

The Terriers (7-4-3, 3-2-2 Hockey East) did win in a subsequent shootout after a scoreless overtime, and thus won the Kelley-Harkness Trophy for the second consecutive time. BU remains unbeaten in the biannual game with Cornell (6-1-2) at Madison Square Garden with a 3-0-2 record.

We’ll take a look at what went right and wrong for BU in this Manhattan edition of Pluses and Minuses.

Pluses

Greer and Greenway break out

Sophomore forward A.J. Greer hadn’t scored a goal in a game in seven months. Freshman winger Jordan Greenway was scoreless with BU before Saturday night.

Both came through for for the Terriers on the big stage.

Greer and Greenway scored their first goals of the season in a frantic three-goal third period, helping BU earn a point for the eighth time in nine games.

Judy has more of a breakdown of their success in her sidebar.

Olsson returns, third line looks strong

Exiting after the first period of a Nov. 14 game against No. 1 Providence College, sophomore forward Nikolas Olsson sat out the last four games with what the team called an upper-body injury.

He returned to the lineup Saturday and made an impact with the third line, especially in the third period.

Olsson skated along the right-wing boards and made a crisp pass to center ice that helped set up Bobo Carpenter‘s goal at 5:36 of the third. The goal started a swing of momentum in BU’s favor, as the Terriers scored three minutes later on Greer’s goal, one that was also set up by Olsson.

The third line, as a whole, totaled five points and nine shots on goal during Saturday night’s contest.

“I think it’s a collective effort,” Greer said of his line. “The defensemen moved the puck up quick, and the first couple of shifts, we thought we held our stick too tight so we were kind of nervous, but then as the game went on we started working down low and just doing our job and using the back of the net.

“We got bodies out front, and they rewarded us in the third period. Those goals were big.”

Moving in right direction

It’s been a long stretch of tough games in November for BU, which has now played a top-20 opponent in three consecutive weekends. The Terriers came away with five points in those five games, earning one win and three ties in the process.

Though he would’ve liked to see his team take more wins out of these recent games, Quinn said after Saturday’s tie that he is pleased with where the team is headed as it moves to the second half of the year.

“I like where we’re going,” Quinn said. “I like the direction we’re going. Obviously we still have to get better, we have to get off to better starts. Though like I said, statistically, we didn’t score a goal, but I thought we were playing well.”

Still undefeated 

They didn’t win this time, but the Terriers still haven’t lost a Red Hot Hockey game since its inception in 2007.

BU has earned eight of 10 possible points in the five games played against Cornell, and has now won the Kelley-Harkness Trophy both times since it was created in 2013.

Minuses 

Power Play

A 20 percent success rate on the power play is usually about average, and that holds true for the Terriers, who are sixth in Hockey East in that category.

Average, however, hasn’t been good enough, and Quinn acknowledged this postgame.

“Our power play was disappointing, weren’t able to capitalize in overtime,” Quinn said. “Statistically our power play looks okay, but we’ve really got to get better on the power play. I think we’re just a little bit too slow, too methodical, we’re stick handling too much, and there’s just too much thinking going on out there.”

BU went 0-for-4 with the extra man against Cornell, but did garner 14 shots on goal. But the problem wasn’t getting the puck to the net, it was about finishing, or lack thereof.

There were power-play opportunities for BU  in the second period after each Big Red goal, but neither were converted. The same went for the man advantages in the third period and overtime.

Slow Start

It wasn’t as if BU was completely outplayed in the first period, but the game just felt slow, and the Terriers never really got in a rhythm in the first 20 minutes.

BU did actually lead in shots at 10-9 after one, but there were few high-percentage opportunities. The same could be said for the initial minutes of the second, where Cornell broke through with two goals.

Tonight’s beginning could’ve had to do with nerves, as Quinn admitted even he was battling with “heart palpitations” on the bench.

“I thought early on, they were controlling the play for the first 10 minutes,” Quinn said, “and then I thought we started getting our legs under us a little bit and started playing much better, playing the way we need to play if we’re going to have success.”

Best of 2014-15: Counting down the top 10 BU goals from the season

In our next segment for the “Best of 2014-15” BU hockey season recap, the Boston Hockey Blog decided to rank our top 10 favorite goals from the Terriers last year.

Check out our list below, and feel free to share your picks in the comments as well:

10. A.J. Greer vs. North Dakota (4/9/15)

Freshman winger A.J. Greer picked an awful good time to snag his third goal of the season, as his one-time blast helped keep the Terriers ahead against North Dakota in the Frozen Four semifinal game.

Greer helped BU reclaim a two-goal cushion after receiving a pass from freshman center Jack Eichel just past the UND blue line. Greer uncorked a blast that soared past the reach of North Dakota goaltender Zane McIntyre to help build the Terriers’ lead.

9. Jack Eichel vs. Maine (11/21/14)

 Eichel’s first of three overtime goals during the 2014-15 season sent Agganis Arena into a frenzy, as his power-play strike in overtime pushed the Terriers past the Black Bears and completed an impressive comeback win.

Freshman defenseman Brandon Fortunato left the puck behind the Terrier net, with Eichel then carrying the play all the way into Maine’s side of the ice. Eichel eluded one Maine skater before using another skater as a screen in front of Maine goaltender Sean Romeo. The young center then unleashed a wrister that sailed past Romeo’s left shoulder to give BU the 3-2 win.

8. Danny O’Regan vs. Providence (4/11/15)

Danny O’Regan’s backhand score against the Friars in the national championship game helped cap a two-goal outburst for the Terriers in just four seconds.

After junior forward Ahti Oksanen scored to tie the game at 1-1, Eichel secured the ensuing faceoff at center ice. Eichel pushed the puck into PC’s zone, casting it over to Danny O’Regan, who was about to be knocked down by a Providence skater. With just a split second to spare, O’Regan fired the shot past goalie Jon Gillies to make it a 2-1 game in favor of the Terriers at TD Garden.

7. Jack Eichel @ Wisconsin (1/10/15)

BU’s first line of Eichel, senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues and junior forward Danny O’Regan dominated the Badgers in this contest — with the trio combining for 10 points on the night.

However, Eichel’s first point of the game stands as the most impressive takeaway from BU’s 6-2 Madison massacre. The freshman skated from the left circle to the right circle, holding onto the puck until goalie Joel Rumpel fell down in the crease. With the net open, Eichel fired into the empty cage to tie the game at 1-1.

6. Evan Rodrigues @ Vermont (1/24/15)

In the midst of a crucial two-game road series against Vermont, Rodrigues put the Terriers up for good in the first tilt of the weekend with this impressive end-to-end goal.

The Etobicoke, Ontario native’s impressive goal gave the Terriers a 3-0 lead at the time, with BU eventually skating off the ice at Gutterson Fieldhouse with a 4-2 win in hand.

5. Danny O’Regan vs. Harvard (2/3/15)

Junior forward Danny O’Regan closed out the longest Beanpot game in tournament history with this quick shot.

With BU and Harvard knotted at 2-2 in double overtime, Rodrigues intercepted a pass in the Crimson’s zone before firing a centering pass to O’Regan, who fired the puck from the low slot past goalie Steve Michalek to give the Terriers the dramatic victory.

4. Jack Eichel vs. UMass Lowell (3/21/15)

Jack Eichel capped the Terriers’ Hockey East championship with this impressive breakaway goal against the River Hawks.

BU already had a reassuring 4-2 lead over Lowell in the conference title game with under six minute left on the clock, but Eichel’s second marker of the contest helped put the final nail in the coffin for UML.

After possessing the puck near the BU blue line, Eichel stepped on the gas, zipping past the Lowell defense all the way into the River Hawks’ side of the ice before sliding the disc through goalie Kevin Boyle’s five-hole to hand BU a late three-goal advantage.

3. Evan Rodrigues @ BC (11/7/14)

Rodrigues once again puts his stamp on our list with this nifty goal against the Eagles at Conte Forum.

Looking to erase a 1-0 BC lead, Rodrigues seized the puck, dangled around a multitude of Eagles and faked out goaltender Thatcher Demko before easily tucking the puck into the net by way of a backhand shot.

Rodrigues would finish the night with two goals, as the Terriers defeated their hated rivals by a score of 5-3.

2. Matt Grzelcyk vs. Northeastern (2/23/15)

BU captain Matt Grzelcyk might have had the Terriers’ only shot of overtime against Northeastern in the Beanpot title game, but he certainly made it count.

Not even a minute had passed in extra time before junior forward Ahti Oksanen corralled the puck along the boards and passing it over to Rodrigues. Rodrigues quickly dished the puck over to Grzelcyk, whose shot from beyond the left circle beat NU goalie Clay Witt and sent the scarlet and white skaters into a frenzy.

Grzelcyk’s overtime strike helped BU claim its 30th Beanpot and first title since 2009.

1. Evan Rodrigues vs. Minnesota Duluth (3/28/15)

The final submission on our list goes to the goal that helped carry the Terriers to the Frozen Four.

Facing off against the University of Minnesota Duluth in the NCAA Northeast Regional final, BU was staring at a 2-2 tie with just under three minutes left to play in the contest. With BU on the power play, Rodrigues gathered the puck, toe-dragged around a Duluth skater and then hesitated before firing the puck from the right circle.

The wrister sailed past Minnesota netminder Kasimir Kaskisuo to give BU the late lead. Ultimately, the Terriers would hold on for the 3-2 win and a trip back to TD Garden.

A Few Honorable Mentions:

Jack Eichel’s overtime strike against UMass Lowell (1/18/15)

Eichel’s shorthanded tally @ Northeastern (2/28/15)

Danny O’Regan’s mini-breakaway goal vs. UConn (11/8/14)

Evan Rodrigues’ golf swing against Minnesota Duluth (3/28/15)

Mike Moran’s batted-in rebound vs. UConn (11/8/14)

 

Pluses and Minuses: Terriers hang on, advance to national title game

Brandon Hickey. PHOTO BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Brandon Hickey. PHOTO BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Following his team’s 5-3 win over the University of North Dakota, Boston University men’s hockey head coach David Quinn was more than breathing a sigh of relief. With North Dakota making a last-minute surge, overtime looked like more of a reality with each passing second.

“Hopefully we’re going to learn some lessons tonight,” Quinn said. “We dodged some bullets, but we’re living another day.”

The Terriers (28-7-5) did indeed dodge some major bullets during that late stretch, which propelled BU to its first berth in the NCAA Tournament championship since 2009, and 11th overall.

Freshman center Jack Eichel finished with three points (two goals, one assist), including the all-important empty-net goal in the waning seconds of the game. But it wasn’t just Eichel, as some other unsung heroes came up huge.

Here’s a look at some of went right and wrong from the Frozen Four semifinal:

Pluses

Eichelmania rolls on

The North Chelmsford product pretty much has a permanent spot in this section of the blog, and for good reason. You don’t have the year he’s having and not get some positive recognition. Thursday night just added to what has been the best freshman season in Division I college hockey since Paul Kariya’s rookie campaign in 1992-93.

He scored BU’s first goal 4:59 into the game on a backhander down low and set up a game-changing goal (more on that a bit lower down) midway through the second period. But his goal with 18.5 seconds left in the third period from the defensive zone all but ended any chance of a North Dakota comeback.

According to Eichel, though, the credit for the goal shouldn’t go to him, but to the weathered playing surface.

“I just tried to put it on net. To be honest, I thought it was going wide,” Eichel said. “I think it hit a divot in the ice and rolled in. It was a lucky play but Grizzy [junior captain Matt Grzelyck] and [senior assistant captain Cason] Hohmann made a spectacular play in the corner to ice the game.”

Rut in the ice or not, Eichel had a goal and his 70th point in the season. That hasn’t been accomplished at BU since forward Shawn McEachern had 84 in the 1990-91 season.

A special year for the freshman has a chance to end with a championship and a Hobey Baker Award. There were obviously high expectations coming in, but it’s fair to say his performance probably has exceeded whatever people pegged him for at the beginning of the season.

Greer turns the tables

Without the play of junior goaltender Matt O’Connor and some help from the goal posts, North Dakota (29-10-3) could have very well scored three or four times in the second period.

For the first 10 minutes in the middle frame, the puck essentially never left the BU zone.  UND already had one goal in the period, and continued to search for one more. Momentum was swinging and it sure looked like someone was bound to score.

A goal was scored, but it wasn’t from North Dakota. It was from freshman forward A.J. Greer.

Off a bad UND change, Eichel jumped on the ice and passed the puck over to a wide-open Greer just to the right of the slot. Greer unleashed a powerful one-timer that snuck under goaltender Zane McIntyre’s pads for BU’s third goal. Instead of the game being tied, the Terriers went up by two. Talk about momentum swing.

“He works on his shot a lot, and I wasn’t surprised at all,” Eichel said of Greer. “He’s got a great one-timer. It was a big goal in the game. Gave us a little bit of cushion.”

Greer, who moved up to BU’s second line earlier in the postseason, scored his first goal in over three months. His play over the last few weeks, though, has been some of the best hockey he’s played since coming to BU. Sarah will have more on that in her sidebar.

An emphatic recovery 

The puck slid along the end boards and freshman defenseman Brandon Hickey went to try and coral it. As Hickey went to do this, he was slammed hard up against the wall by UND forward Tucker Poolman. Hickey was knocked down on the ice to both knees, clearly shaken up.

It took him awhile to gather himself, but he skated back to the BU bench. He wouldn’t stay put there for long, though. He made his next shift with BU’s second power-play unit, and boy did he make the most of it.

Standing at the left point, he ripped a one-timer off Hohmann’s feed to extend BU’s lead to two goals late in the first period. Give credit to not only his toughness, but the quick recovery to get back on the ice and contribute.

Uncharacteristic strong start 

How many times has the narrative been played out that BU starts slow but finishes strong? More times than one can count on one hand. But that wasn’t the story this game. Thursday, the Terriers looked ready to go from the outset and got a strong forecheck going in the first few shifts.

BU held an advantage in shots through the first 10 minutes (9-9 after 20), and eventually a 2-0 lead after the first 20 minutes.

“It was exciting to see the way we started playing at a pace and possessing the puck,” Quinn said on the first period. “And I think I looked up at one point, the shots were 7-0, seven minutes into the game.”

Minuses 

One that they’d like to have back

There would be no better way to take control of a game than on a power-play chance with a three-goal lead late in the third period. It was an ideal situation for BU, which looked like it had UND down and out. One fortuitous bounce later, though, and North Dakota was right back in the game.

O’Connor mishandled the puck behind his own net, and UND’s lone forechecker, Troy Stecher, tapped the puck into an open net at 12:10 of the third. The goal seemed to energize a seemingly downcast North Dakota team. BU was lucky enough to weather the storm that followed.

Penalty-kill issues

Getting into penalty trouble is never a good thing, and against a quality team like UND, it could very well change the outcome of a game. North Dakota seemingly had the puck deep each time it went to a power-play, which ended up leading to two goals and a 50-percent success rate.

Even when BU would find a way to clear the puck, there was little pressure at the defensive blue line to stop another entry into the zone.

Pluses and Minuses: BU claims 8th Hockey East title in program history

Matt O'Connor. PHOTO BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Matt O’Connor. PHOTO BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

For the way this past month has gone for the No. 3 Boston University men’s hockey team, two weeks without a championship trophy must’ve felt like an eternity. The Terriers made sure Saturday night that they wouldn’t go empty-handed.

BU (25-7-5) rolled to a decisive 5-3 win over the No. 12 University of Massachusetts Lowell, taking home the Hockey East championship at TD Garden. It’s the eighth time BU has accomplished this and first since 2009.

“I just couldn’t be happier for our players,” said head coach David Quinn. “Because I know what a special feeling this is. As great of players as these guys are, they’re unbelievable kids, they’re unbelievable people. And I can’t tell you how happy I am for them.”

Freshman center Jack Eichel led the way with three points (two goals, one assist) en route to being named Hockey East Tournament MVP.

Of course, not everything was coming up roses for the Terriers. We’ll take a look at the good and the bad in this edition of Pluses and Minuses.

Pluses

Eichel does it again

What more can be said about this freshman from North Chelmsford? Each time he steps on the ice, it seems like he finds a way to outdo himself. Saturday was much the same.

He used his speed and puck skills to either create or score three of BU’s five goals. His toe-dragging goal through the right circle at 15:02 in the first period was a thing of beauty.

Sarah will have much more to say on Eichel in her sidebar.

Making the most of the situation

There were two times in this game where Lowell (21-12-6) fell into bad defensive position and BU had great 2-on-1 opportunities. Both times ended with a BU celebration.

The first one, early in the second period, started with a strong defensive play by sophomore blueliner Doyle Somerby. He fed freshman winger A.J. Greer, who was on the rush with senior assistant captain Cason Hohmann. The senior held the puck for a few seconds until he got into the low portion of the right circle, then slid the puck through goaltender Kevin Boyle’s pads for a goal.

The score put the Terriers up by two, but the one that extended the lead to three goals might’ve even been better. With 45 seconds remaining in the second, freshman forward Nikolas Olsson capped off a brilliant goal.

Junior center Matt Lane started the play with a perfect outlet pass from the defensive-zone boards to center ice. Olsson picked up the puck and had junior captain Matt Grzelcyk to his right. He dished to Grzelyck, who in turn passed it back off Olsson’s stick for the goal. Boyle tried to follow the puck, but he had little chance to stop this one.

Grzelcyk’s streak continues

Speaking of BU’s junior captain, he’s been on quite the roll in the second half. He now has 16 points in his last 11 games, with three points in the championship win.

He started off the game with a power-play goal off a feed from Eichel at 13:08 in the first, his 10th goal of the year. What makes that goal total more impressive is the fact that he didn’t have any until 24 games into the season.

But is this offensive stretch all that important to Grzelcyk? Not really.

“It doesn’t mean much to me, it’s not something I pay attention to,” Grzelcyk said. “I think it’s just a product of playing with some great players and I think our team in general has really barreled down.”

Quinn attributes Grzelcyk’s play over the past two months to a combination of work ethic and ability.

“He just wants to be the best player he can possibly be, he’s incredibly competitive and tough,” Quinn said. “This kid practices like it’s a game, which is a hard thing for players his age to do. He sets the tone in practice, he works on his game, he’s coachable. He wants to be the best player he can be.”

Line change pays off for Greer

It’s hard to think that BU is experimenting at this point in the season, but that’s exactly what has happened.

Starting in Friday’s game, Greer moved up to the second line left wing position, while sophomore forward Robbie Baillargeon slipped to the third line. Greer, who’s been in and out of the lineup this season, has made the most of the move.

He had four shots on goal with two breakaways against the University of New Hampshire and added two more chances on net Saturday.

Greer finished with one point on the weekend, but his play, at least from just watching, was better than that. His combination of physical and skilled play was fun to watch.

O’Connor and Rodrigues get well-deserved honor

Neither senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues nor junior goaltender Matt O’Connor were named the conference first team. They can, however, take some consolation in the fact they were named to the Hockey East All-Tournament Team.

Rodrigues has been a helping hand on the offensive end through most of the season. He continued that trend in the postseason tournament, finishing with seven assists — a Hockey East Tournament record.

As Quinn noted Friday night, O’Connor essentially stole away multiple goals from UNH (19-19-2) in the first period. His presence was important, as a young defensive corps made uncharacteristic mistakes in front of him. Through the first three games of the tournament, he allowed just three combined goals.

He made some terrific saves Saturday night, including this fantastic glove stop in the second period.

“You win with everybody on the roster, you win with everybody within your program,” Quinn said. “I just couldn’t be happier for everybody associated with our team because after what we all went through last year, for people like Matt [Grzelcyk], and Cason, and E-Rod, and OC, and Laner, and all the guys that returned, they would not be denied.”

Minuses

Penalty hurts momentum
Lowell was letting the game slip away after Eichel’s goal late in the first period, and pendulum was swinging in BU’s favor. With one penalty, though, the complexion, at least early in the game, flipped.

Freshman defenseman John MacLeod, who had a good weekend, was called for an arguably questionable elbowing penalty with less than two minutes left in the first. Six seconds later, Lowell had a goal. Instead of being up by two, the Terriers held a one-goal lead heading to the first intermission. It’ll be tough to get away with that in the NCAA Tournament.

Pluses and Minuses: Freshmen key in draw with Union

In the No. 1 Boston University men’s hockey team’s first game in 15 days, the Terriers earned a 3-3 tie against the defending national champions, Union College, at Agganis Arena.

Senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues’ goal with just more than four minutes remaining in regulation salvaged the tie for the Terriers. His goal was one of many positives for BU on Saturday.

Here’s some more of what we liked — and didn’t like — in BU’s first game of 2015:

Pluses

Reinforcements back

Freshman forward Nikolas Olsson. PHOTO BY DANIEL GUAN/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Freshman forward Nikolas Olsson. PHOTO BY DANIEL GUAN/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

The Terriers returned two key players who had missed nearly two months to the lineup on Saturday, and both had a positive impact on the result.

Sophomore forward Robbie Baillargeon — BU’s leading scorer last season — saw his first playing time in nine games. He recorded two shots on goal.

“I thought Robbie did pretty well,” said BU coach David Quinn. “He hasn’t played in long time. He played a lot of minutes, probably too many minutes, but I thought Robbie did a good job.”

Freshman forward Nikolas Olsson, who had also missed nine games, tallied a goal and was a plus-1 on the evening.

“I took about two months off so that was pretty rough, but I just tried to stay positive and remind myself that I’d be back soon enough,” Olsson said. “I’ve been practicing hard. I’d been skating for a while, even though it was no-contact, so I tried to keep up to speed and make contributions once I got out, and I did.”

Skilled youth
BU played without freshman forward and leading scorer Jack Eichel, whom the coaches chose to bench after he competed for the United States in the IIHF World Junior Championships during winter break. But still, three freshmen made it on the score sheet Saturday: forward A.J. Greer, who had the game-opening goal, defenseman Brien Diffley, who added an assist, and Olsson.

Greer’s goal came off a rebound to open the scoring 5:47 into the game. It was his second goal of the season, and his first since BU’s 8-1 win over the University of Massachusetts on Oct. 10. Diffley’s fourth assist of the season came on Olsson’s goal — his third of the year — at the 13:42 mark of the 1st period.

Physical presence
Union presented a physical test to the Terriers, which BU matched with a consistent tough effort. The Terriers had a number of physical challenges along the boards — in turn, accumulating five penalties on the night, but Quinn said he was pleased with the effort.

“If we’re going to be able to have success moving forward, we need to be physical for 60 minutes, we can’t pick and choose our spots,” Quinn said. “I thought we were pretty consistent with our physical play tonight.”

Olsson’s return gave BU a boost physically, and he said he was happy to come in and get a few big hits.

“The first thing I thought about was going out and getting a hit,” Olsson said. “That’s how I kind of … get more mentally into it than you can get just by prepping yourself.

“I try to maintain a physical presence when I’m out there, and remind guys on the bench on our team that you can’t let up on a hit, just to finish guys and then try to incorporate that into my game in a big way.”

Quinn noted the significance of Olsson’s return to the lineup as pivotal to the Terriers’ physicality.

“He gives us a swagger,” Quinn said. “He’s got a physical presence out there. He’s a horse. He’s looking to hurt people and hit them, and he’s got skill. Once he gets out there right from the get go and makes a big hit in his first shift and everyone kind of follows his cue.”

Minuses

Cobwebs
As previously mentioned, it was the Terriers’ first game action in 15 days, and their first regular-season matchup in three weeks. Quinn mentioned before the game that he had some concerns about the team having a bit of dust, and said that he thought BU’s effort early was a bit shaky.

He did note, however, that BU was able to settle in, save for some rough play in the second frame.

“I thought in the second period, we completely got away from supporting the puck,” Quinn said. “I thought we cheated too much, our forwards were leaving our defenseman on an island, and it showed.”

Defensive miscues
The Terriers allowed three goals in a game for the first time since Nov. 25 — just one of three times this regular season they have given up three or more scores to an opponent.

Midway through the first period, with the game tied 1-1, freshman defenseman Brandon Fortunato trailed Union forward Daniel Ciampini on a breakaway attempt. He wrapped his stick around, but was unable to stop the attempt from reaching the back of the net.

BU also left a number of wide-open chances for the Dutchmen when junior goaltender Matt O’Connor couldn’t control a few rebounds, which at one point early in the game led to a goal for forward Spencer Foo.