Odds and Ends: Prepping for the Frozen Four

Happy Frozen Four, everybody! Here are some stories from us and from around the internet to distract you from any impending nerves for tonight:

-Conor and Andrew’s game preview.

-Conor and I wrote a feature on BU’s four freshman defensemen.

-Conor and I also did a Q&A with Ahti Oksanen and Matt O’Connor. We got a lot of laughs out of that one.

-From Andrew, a look back at BU’s history in the Frozen Four.

-Conor previewing Jack Eichel’s Hobey chances — that’ll be announced Friday night, and we’ll be at Matthews for the announcement.

-A story from our pals over in the news section of the FreeP, about ticket availability (or lack thereof) to students.

-Conor and I hopped on the FreeP’s new sports podcast to talk about the Frozen Four. We start talking about hockey around 6:00.

College Hockey News’ picks for who will advance and win the Frozen Four.

-Frozen Four preview from our pal Scott McLaughlin over at WEEI.

-The team had some fun at Media Day on Wednesday:

-In case you missed it, there’s a new video for Eichel, courtesy of BU Athletics:

-Good stuff from the Providence Journal’s Mark Divver on Providence head coach Nate Leaman.

TRANSCRIPT: BU coach David Quinn following 3-2 OT win over Yale

Opening Statement:

“What a hockey game. I’d like to congratulate Yale on a great season. It’s no mystery why they’re in this tournament. They play as hard as anyone we play against, they’ve got a great goalie. It really was everything that we thought it would be. We knew it would probably come down to a one-goal game — possibility of overtime.

I think this game, in a lot of ways, was a microcosm of our season. I thought we looked a little nervous early, give a lot of credit to Yale for the way we played early, I thought they were at their “A” game, they were just a half-a-step quicker, winning a lot of battles and then it was funny, once they went up 1-0, I thought we just started playing better. It was almost like the pressure was off. We’re a lot more comfortable being down then we are ahead for some reason and I just thought after that, we started playing,

I thought for the most part, early in the game, I thought our defense were backing off quite a bit, they weren’t involved in the offense. We were turning pucks over — again, give Yale a lot of credit, they’ve got great sticks, they’re quick on loose pucks — but I really liked after we went down 1-0, I thought we started playing. It was almost like, it was a little bit of a relief, the pressure is off for some strange reason, don’t ask me why, and after that, I thought we played the way we needed to play.

In the second period, we didn’t have a shot in between the hash marks, and you’re not beating anybody, let alone Yale, if you’re gonna play that way. I thought in the last three or four minutes, we did a good job in the second period, then in the third period, I thought we did all the things we needed to do. I thought we did the things we did against Merrimack and Lowell and we got rewarded for it.

To get the goal in the fashion that we did — our D got involved offensively, Somerby makes a great play on the overtime goal, pinches in, keeps the puck alive — Jack backs him up, Evan and Danny get to the net front, Jack gets a puck to the net and Danny gets a rebound overtime goal and we’ve seen that movie before.

Just an unbelievable game. Again, a microcosm of our season in many ways. We’re just fortunate and excited about playing again tomorrow night.”

On a night where one of your freshmen might have had a little nerves, how important was it to have guys like Rodrigues, O’Regan and Grzelcyk have such good nights and be such integral parts of the win?

“Well, that’s always important. That’s what kind of gets lost in the success we’ve had this season. As Evan alluded to, we are the youngest team in college hockey. Again, because of our record, I think people at times can loose sight of that, but one of the reasons we’ve been able to overcome our slow starts, why we’ve had great third periods, why we’ve had the season we’ve had, is because of our leadership. And I’m not just talking about four seniors, I mean, our juniors, our sophomores have assumed a leadership and its kind of got contagious throughout the roster. It’s just, we never think we’re out of it. … It was eerie the way the feeling kinda changed on the bench when we went down 1-0. Everybody seemed to be a little bit looser and we started to do the things we needed to do if we’re gonna generate offense and have some of the success we’ve had through the season. Without question those guys are pivotal to our success. They really set the tone for our season, They embraced a big freshman class and I’ve said this before — we are a true team — and that certainly plays a large part to how our retuning players accepted the freshmen.”

What does it say about your team that you didn’t let Yale’s comeback offerings deflate them?

 “You know, at this time of year, you’re not gonna spend 60 minutes in the offensive zone. You’re playing good hockey teams and you’re gonna have to weather a storm, you’re gonna have to fight through a difficult shift. I thought we did a good job of that. Obviously our power play goes 0-for-7, that hasn’t happened very often this year. Give them a lot of credit, I thought they did a great job killing penalties, their goalie obviously was a big part of that, they do a great job with their sticks. They make your earn every inch of ice, but again, no matter what the hump is, we’ve seemed to overcome it so far this year. We’re prob going to have a few bumps in the road in tomorrow’s game no matter who our opponent is. That’s the way it’s gonna be from here on in and in college hockey, that’s usually the way it is night in and night out.”

See any similarities to 2009 team?

“Well, we’re similar in that we’re playing to get to the Frozen Four, but I think our teams are different. That team had a big senior class. We weren’t relying on 8-10 freshmen a night. We knew the year before, we almost made the national tournament, we knew we had a good team. There was a lot of uncertainty going to this season. I think people are probably surprised, maybe not now, but as the season was unfolding, I think people might be surprised at the situation we’re in, because we’re picked to finish sixth in Hockey East and rightfully so after the year we had last year. A lot of people probably didn’t think we’d have a lot of success this season. Obviously, Jack brought a lot of attention and fanfare to us, but we had a lot of good returning players too. But to me, the biggest difference between this team and that team is that team had a lot more experience than this team. It was a little bit more of a veteran-laden team, where as this team, we rely on a lot of freshmen.”

What went through your mind when you saw that you had to play Yale?

“I said to this to the team — I’m sure it happens in all the other sports — you get your draw in the NCAA tournament and you think, ‘Oh god, why are we here? Why are we playing that team? We got screwed.’ Everybody says that. You’ve just gotta play. You’re in the national tournament, you’re playing good hockey teams. You can’t sit there and try to figure our why you’re playing who you’re playing and where you’re playing. You just gotta show up and play the hockey game.

I could hear some of the mumblings after the selection show, our guys are no different that everybody else. 18 year olds always think that someone is trying to screw them. Our guys are no different.”

What was Yale doing to stop you from getting zone time early on?

“Well, they were playing quicker than we were, they were more physical than we were and they were winning more battles. I know that may be simplistic, but that’s the truth. We looked nervous, it’s like Evan and Danny talked about, we are the youngest team in college hockey. I know we’ve been in some pressure situations throughout the last month, but never in a situation where if you lose, your season is over.

We played the Beanpot championship and that’s an exciting, pressure-filled game, but you know you’re gonna play another game. We played the Hockey East semifinals and finals, those are pressure situations, but you know you’re gonna play another game. This is a whole new ballgame. I think it really showed early and again, it says a n awful lot about a team when you can play as poorly as we did and again, I don’t want to discredit Yale. One of the reason we weren’t playing well is because they were playing well, but to be able to turn it on like we did says an awful lot about our mental toughness.”

Pluses and Minuses: O’Connor’s strong play in net helps Terriers advance to Hockey East title game

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

For the second time in three seasons, the Boston University men’s hockey team will play for the Hockey East championship.

Facing off against a red-hot University of New Hampshire squad that had won nine of its last 10 contests, the Terriers (24-7-5) ricocheted from yet another slow start to best the Wildcats (19-19-2), 4-1, Friday night at TD Garden.

The Terriers will have little time to rest following their victory, as they will face off against two-time defending conference champion University of Massachusetts Lowell Saturday night.

As with every hockey game, there were a good amount of positive and negative takeaways Friday night. Here they are.

Pluses:

O’Connor stabilizes Terriers in uneven first period

Fresh off of earning Hockey East Second Team All-Star honors Thursday night, junior goaltender Matt O’Connor lived up to newly awarded accolade against the Wildcats, standing tall in the Terrier crease to the tune of 32 saves — his highest save total since stopped 32 shots against the University of Vermont on Jan. 23.

The Toronto native especially came up big over the first 20 minutes of play, negating a multitude of sloppy plays from the blueliners in front of him by holding an opportunistic and aggressive Wildcat offense to just one goal.

A pivotal moment came in the closing minutes of the stanza, with UNH holding onto a 1-0 advantage. As the Wildcats vied for yet another tally, forward Andrew Poturalski fired a puck on net that a sprawling O’Connor deflected at the last second with his pads, keeping it a one-goal game. Less than 20 seconds later, the Terriers capitalized, with senior assistant captain Cason Hohmann lighting the lamp at 17:38 to knot the score at one goal apiece.

O’Connor is now 21-3-4 on the year with a 2.09 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage.

MacLeod impresses in return

Despite sitting out the past three games due to an upper-body injury, freshman defenseman John MacLeod failed to show any rust in his return to action Friday night.

The blueliner was steady out on the ice, tying defensive partner Matt Grzelcyk with a game-high plus-four rating on the night while also earning his seventh assist of the season on Hohmann’s first-period score.

The Tampa Bay Lightning prospect also paid dividends on defense, stopping a potential Wildcat goal in the third period. With the Terriers clinging to a 2-1 lead, sophomore defenseman Doyle Somerby sent a shot from the blue line that was blocked by a UNH skater, generating a breakaway opportunity for New Hampshire.

As the UNH skater coasted into the Terriers’ zone, MacLeod hustled back and swooped into the skater’s lane, disrupting his easy look on net.

Good timing from Chase Phelps

Freshman forward Chase Phelps picked an awful good time to score his second goal of the season.

With Friday’s match locked in a 1-1 draw, the Terriers’ fourth line buzzed around the UNH net, attempting to generate some semblance of an opportunity against New Hampshire goaltender Danny Tirone.

Junior forward Mike Moran coasted the puck along the end boards to sophomore forward Nick Roberto, who motioned from behind the UNH cage and put the puck on net. As the puck settled near the crease, Phelps quickly flipped it over Tirone, handing BU its first lead of the night.

It was the Shattuck St. Mary’s product’s first goal since Nov. 29 against Colgate University.

Eichel keeps doing Eichel things

While BU’s formidable first line was mostly held in check over the first 40 minutes of play, freshman center Jack Eichel could not be muted for long.

The young forward capped the Terriers’ scoring on the night with two goals in the final 10 minutes of play, both off of rebound offerings off the stick of senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues.

With his two strikes, Eichel has extended his point streak to 11 games, notching 23 points during that stretch. Now standing at 63 points on the season, Eichel needs just one more to stand as the second-highest scoring freshman in NCAA history.

Minuses:

New day at the garden, same slow start

For the third time this season, the Terriers dropped the puck at TD Garden. And for the third time in this arena, the Terriers underwhelmed with their performance in the first period.

BU appeared sluggish and indecisive both in terms of defense and offense over the first 20 minutes, with the Wildcats outshooting the Terriers by an 11-8 margin.

While it appeared that the Wildcats consistently outplayed their opponent throughout the period, O’Connor’s strong play and Hohmann’s goal were able to help the Terriers escape the stanza still locked in a 1-1 tie.

“After the first period we all knew we didn’t play well. I’m careful to say that, because I think a big part of that had to do with the way UNH was playing,” said BU coach David Quinn. “For us to come out of that period 1-1 I thought it bode well for us moving forward because I knew we couldn’t play much worse than that. Hopefully we get off to a better start tomorrow night because I don’t think we’re going to be able to get away with it with Lowell.”

Freshman blueliners struggle in opening frame

Throughout the first period of play Friday night, BU’s four freshman defensemen sure looked like … Well, freshmen.

A key factor in the team’s lackluster performance in opening frame can be attributed to a few choice plays from its rookie defensemen. In particular, Brandon Fortunato and Brandon Hickey coughed up a costly turnover in BU’s own zone, directly leading to a goal from UNH forward Tyler Kelleher at 14:34.

For more on the Terriers’ sluggish defensive play (and subsequent redemption), check out Andrew’s sider.

Live Blog: No. 4 BU vs. Northeastern

Time/Location: 7:30 p.m./Agganis Arena

BU Lines: 
Evan Rodrigues – Jack Eichel – Danny O’Regan
Ahti Oksanen – Robbie Baillargeon – Cason Hohmann
Nikolas Olsson – Matt Lane – Nick Roberto
Chase Phelps – Mike Moran – J.J. Piccinich

Matt Grzelcyk – John MacLeod
Brandon Hickey – Brandon Fortunato
Doyle Somerby – Brien Diffley

Matt O’Connor
Connor LaCouvee
Anthony Moccia

Northeastern:
Kevin Roy – Dalen Hedges – Mike McMurtry
Zach Aston-Reese – Mike Szmatula – Torin Snydeman
Nolan Stevens – John Stevens – Dylan Sikura
Mike Jamieson – Brendan Collier – Adam Reid

Dustin Darou – Matt Benning
Trevor Owens – Colton Saucerman
Dax Lauwers – Garret Cockerill

Clay Witt
Derrick Roy
Jake Theut

Officials: 
Scott Hansen
Tim Low
Brendan Kelleher
Matt Riegert

Live Blog BU vs. Northeastern (2-27-15)
 

Live Blog: No. 2/4 BU vs. Northeastern (Beanpot Final)

Time/Location: 7:30 p.m./TD Garden

Game Preview 

BU Lines: 
Evan Rodrigues – Jack Eichel – Danny O’Regan
Ahti Oksanen – Robbie Baillargeon – Cason Hohmann
Nikolas Olsson – Matt Lane – Nick Roberto
A.J. Greer – Mike Moran – Chase Phelps

Matt Grzelcyk – John MacLeod
Brandon Hickey – Brandon Fortunato
Doyle Somerby – Brien Diffley

Matt O’Connor
Connor LaCouvee
Anthony Moccia

Northeastern Lines: 
Kevin Roy – Dalen Hedges – Mike McMurtry
Zach Aston-Reese – Mike Szmatula – Torin Snydeman
Nolan Stevens – John Stevens – Dylan Sikura
Mike Jamieson – Brendan Collier – Adam Reid

Dustin Darou – Matt Benning
Trevor Owens – Colton Saucerman
Dax Lauwers – Garret Cockerill

Clay Witt
Derick Roy
Jake Theut

Officials:
Ryan Hersey
Cameron Voss
Marc Sullivan
Pat Turcotte

Live Blog BU vs. Northeastern (Beanpot Final)
 

Transcript: Senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues after loss to UNH

Did you guys think that you had a chance to come back entering the third? 

“Yeah, definitely. We’ve never given up all year long. I think the goalie was making a few good saves and we knew that If we got one, that more would come. I think that’s what happened, we just knew that we had to stick to the game plan and things would turn our way. Just too little, too late.”

How good was it to get back on the score sheet?

“Obviously, it’s nice. I mean, I’d rather take a win than points, but I’m not going to complain.”

Matt Grzelcyk has been on a pretty good streak the last couple games. What do you think has been different about his play, at least offensively?

“I think he’s just getting the bounces now. He’s been great for us all year, he’s been a great captain for us. I just think that at the beginning of the year, some of his shots were getting blocked, they were off the post — this and that — and I think things are just starting to go his way and it’s good to see.”

How much do you think last night’s game contributed to the slow start today?

“I think we were ready, we just didn’t execute. We had a good first couple shifts, they got the first one and then we kind of got away from our gameplan and didn’t work as hard as we wanted to and the results obviously showed. We took way too many penalties and I think they had two or three power play goals. It’s been a trend as of late and it’s something that we need to stop doing.”

Down 3-0, [Quinn] called a timeout and pulled [junior goaltender Matt O’Connor.] What was the message in that timeout?

“I think just to get back. We knew we were not playing the way we wanted to. It wasn’t O’Connor’s fault at all. I think it was one of those things where we needed to figure it out, get back to our gameplan and we just needed a fresh start. We obviously weren’t playing the way that we’re capable of and we just tried to shake things up.”

Live blog: No. 2/3 BU vs. No. 4/6 Harvard (Beanpot Semifinal)

Game Preview

Time/Location: 5:00 p.m./TD Garden

BU Lines: 
Evan Rodrigues – Jack Eichel – Danny O’Regan
Ahti Oksanen – Robbie Baillargeon – Cason Hohmann
Nikolas Olsson – Matt Lane – Nick Roberto
Chase Phelps – Mike Moran – J.J. Piccinich

Matt Grzelcyk – John MacLeod
Brandon Hickey – Brandon Fortunato
Doyle Somerby – Brien Diffley

Matt O’Connor
Connor LaCouvee
Anthony Moccia

Harvard Lines: 
Jimmy Vesey – Alexander Kerfoot – Kyle Criscuolo
Tommy O’Regan – Tyler Moy – Brian Hart
Seb Lloyd – Sean Malone – Jake Horton
Devin Tringale – Eddie Ellis – Phil Zielonka

Max Everson – Brayden Jaw
Victor Newell – Desmond Bergin
Wiley Sherman – Clay Anderson

Steve Michalek
Merrick Madsen
Peter Traber

Officials: 
Chip McDonald
Scott Whittemore
Stephen Drain
James Shattie

Live Blog BU vs. Harvard (Beanpot Semifinal) (2-3-15)
 

Rodrigues, strong blueliner play helps BU secure 4-point weekend over Catamounts

BURLINGTON, Vermont — Don’t call it a comeback. The Terriers have been there all season long.

Matt O'Connor. PHOTO BY ALEXANDRA WIMLEY/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Matt O’Connor. PHOTO BY ALEXANDRA WIMLEY/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Horrendous LL Cool J references aside, the No. 3 Boston University men’s hockey team was able to manufacture another impressive late-game turnaround Saturday night, besting No. 12 University of Vermont to earn a series sweep against its Hockey East foe.

Starting at a 1-0 defeat for most of the contest, the Terriers were able to net the equalizer by way of a tally from senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues with a little over two minutes remaining on the clock.

The Gutterson Fieldhouse crowd would ultimately vacate the rink on a sour note, as freshman center redirected a shot from Rodrigues past Catamounts’ netminder Steve Santaguida to hand the Terriers a vital four points for the weekend.

Here’s a look at what went right and wrong for BU on Saturday night up in The Green Mountain State.

Pluses

“Ice in our veins”

After BU’s 4-2 victory over Vermont Friday night — in which the Terriers held off a late-game UVM comeback to hold on for the two points — BU coach David Quinn admitted that his team “has a little ice in our veins” when it comes to late-game situations.

The Terriers exemplified that trend again Saturday night, albeit in a different fashion.

Instead of shutting down a third-period surge, the Terriers were the ones orchestrating it, as Rodrigues and Eichel’s goals in the third period and overtime, respectively, handed BU its third win a row.

For the ninth time this season, the Terriers faced a deficit in the third period and managed to come away with either a win or a tie.

For Quinn, the key to his team’s success in high-pressure scenarios lies in his players’ mutual respect and trust in one another.

“I think our guys have confidence, respectful confidence,” Quinn said. “And they just trust each other. They look around the locker room and I think they think every guy in there is pretty good. That’s where you get some confidence, not only within yourself but throughout the lineup.”

Defensemen

Just hours before the game, the Terriers blueliner corps was dealt a significant blow, as sophomore defenseman Doyle Somerby was suspended for one game by Hockey East after being called for an interference penalty during Friday’s match against UVM.

Despite only dressing five defenseman Saturday night, Quinn praised the play of his defensemen, who excelled at both limiting Vermont’s chances in front of BU netminder Matt O’Connor and moving the puck up the ice.

Junior captain Matt Grzelcyk in particular was impressive, as the Charlestown native was active on the backcheck, breaking up a UVM odd-man rush at one point while later poke checking the puck off the stick of Vermont winger Mario Puskarich on a prime scoring bid in the second period.

“I loved our D corps tonight, I thought they did a great job breaking the puck out,” Quinn said. “I thought the poise with the puck was a lot better than it was last night. I thought we defended well.

You beat a team on Friday, they’re a lot more desperate on Saturday and that’s what we were very happy with, with the first period because I thought weathered the storm a little bit and just really did a lot of good things. Our D corps was huge tonight.”

Red-hot Rodrigues

Once again, Rodrigues made his presence on the box score Saturday night, scoring his ninth goal of the season while later tallying the assist on Eichel’s overtime winner to tie him with linemate Danny O’Regan for second in conference scoring with 28 points in 23 games.

Rodrigues has registered a point in BU’s last eight games, compiling 15 points during that stretch.

For more on Rodrigues’ performance, check out Andrew’s sider.

OC

While Eichel and Rodrigues might have stolen most of the headlines following Saturday’s game, the play of O’Connor helped keep the Terriers within one goal throughout the contest.

After relinquishing a goal to Vermont captain Mike Paliotta with 18 minutes left on the clock in the second period, O’Connor did not let another puck enter BU netting, finishing with 31 saves en route to his 13th win of the season.

O’Connor is second in Hockey East in both goals-against average (1.91) and save percentage (.937).

Minuses

Penalties prove costly

While even Quinn admitted that the Terriers performed better in their second game of the weekend, the team was sullied by a few costly penalties.

The game was still locked in a 0-0 stalemate when freshman forward Nikolas Olsson was whistled for elbowing, handing Vermont its third power-play opportunity of the contest.

UVM’s extra-man unit would make Olsson and Terriers pay, as Paliotta fired a quick wrister from the top of the point, beating O’Connor glove side to put Vermont on the board at 2:00 in the second period.

Pluses and Minuses: Oksanen helps spur No. 2 BU’s comeback in draw against Wisconsin

Brandon Fortunato PHOTO BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Brandon Fortunato PHOTO BY MAYA DEVEREAUX/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

MADISON, Wisconsin — It seemed as if the No. 2 Boston University men’s hockey team’s 1,100-mile journey to the Midwest was pegged for a disheartening start.

With 58 minutes already expired on the clock Friday night, the Terriers (11-3-4, 7-1-2 Hockey East) stared at a two-goal deficit against the University of Wisconsin — a squad that had slumped its way to a 2-11-1 mark over the first 14 games of the 2014-15 campaign.

Thankfully for the Terriers, the final two minutes of play helped paint a different story.

Junior forward Ahti Oksanen found the back of the net twice in the closing minutes of the third period to rally the Terriers to a 3-3 draw against the Badgers in Madison, Wisconsin.

Here’s a quick look at what went right (and wrong) for David Quinn’s squad at the Kohl Center.

Pluses 

Ahti To The Rescue

 For most of Friday’s game, it was a performance to forget for Ahti Oksanen. A number of turnovers and poor play even led to Quinn slotting the Finnish forward down to the second line during portions of the final stanza.

The slow start served as a microcosm of the junior’s struggles as of late. After notching 11 points (eight goals, three assists) over his first 10 games of the season, the winger had failed to light the lamp — while only posting two assists — in the following six games leading into the Terriers’ match against Wisconsin.

All things aside, Oksanen ended up picking a good time to break out of his slump.

With BU tasked with eliminating a 3-1 Badgers lead in the final minutes of play, Oksanen struck first with 1:52 left in the third.

After collecting the puck, senior assistant captain Cason Hohmann sent the puck to a lurking Oksanen camped out in the right slot. The Kirkkonummi, Finland, native promptly tipped the puck past Wisconsin netminder Joel Rumpel to make it a 3-2 game.

With the clock dwindling down to three seconds, BU netted its equalizer — once again off of the stick of Oksanen.

In wake of a flurry of shots levied against Rumpel, the Terriers attempted one last frenzied strike from the blue line, with junior captain Matt Grzelcyk firing a rocket of a shot toward the tangled mass of skaters entrenched near the Badgers’ crease.

Fighting through a hodgepodge of hockey sticks and bodies, Oksanen managed to redirect the puck past Rumpel to force the game into overtime.

For Oksanen, his first tally ended up being the difference maker — giving the Terriers the added push that they needed to fight for a draw.

“We played terribly, so we needed people to step up, we could tie the game,” he said. “So we decided to give all we got and see what happens and today we got the two goals.”

Fortunato finds his mark

Lost in the midst of Oksanen’s late-game heroics was the offensive performance of freshman defenseman Brandon Fortunato, who helped BU get on the boardwith his first collegiate goal.

With the Terriers in the midst of a power-play opportunity, Fortunato gathered the puck at the blue line and sent a searing wrister into the Badgers’ netting at 7:53 in the first to push BU out to an early advantage.

“[Fortunato] was good, [Fortunato] obviously needs to shoot the puck more, he doesn’t have many shots on net,” Quinn said. “But, he got the puck and just got rid of it. And it was a great play on the power play.

“We tried to attack them down low and the puck came out high, they were converging down low and just one-timed it. Good to see that, good to see him get rewarded and get a goal. He’s going to be a great player for us.”

Minuses 

A goaltending gaffe

From looking at the box score, it looked like BU goaltender Matt O’Connor put his team in a good position to come away with a win.

The Toronto native turned aside all 16 shots sent against him over the opening 20 minutes of play, and steeled himself against multiple Badger breakaway opportunities.

However, a costly play outside of the crease almost proved to be the deciding factor in Friday’s game.

As the Terriers’ labored to cut into the Badger’s one-goal lead in the third period, forward Matt Ustanski managed to clear the puck out towards O’Connor.

The goaltender ventured out from between the pipes to play the puck, but his pass bounced off of freshman defenseman Brien Diffley and slowly coast into BU’s cage to give Wisconsin the easy insurance score.

“I didn’t even see what happened. I just saw that they dumped the puck in and I was grabbing a water bottle, and somehow suddenly everyone started celebrating,” Oksanen said. “I didn’t know what was going on. So of course it felt pretty bad to see on the screen what actually happened. That just happens and we just had to keep going on — not care about that.”

Shorthanded struggles

For the second straight game, the Terriers were forced to watch their opponent find the back of net while skating with a man down. After relinquishing a shorthanded goal to Union College on Jan. 3, BU was once again stung while on the man advantage Friday night.

Just 41 seconds into the second period, Wisconsin captain Brad Navin gathered the puck and skated into the Terriers’ zone. Navin maneuvered the puck towards trailing blueliner Kevin Schulze, who beat O’Connor by way of a backhand attempt to even the score at 1-1.

Fortunato’s extra-man tally might have been an encouraging sign to a BU power play that compiled a nine percent success rate (2-for-22) over its six games prior to Friday night, but surrendering two shorthanded goals in two games is an issue that will need to be addressed for the scarlet and white.

“60 minutes”

BU’s two-goal rally against Wisconsin might have ushered in shades of the Terriers’ miraculous comeback in the 2009 National Championship game, but for Quinn, the biggest takeaway was not his team’s play in the final two minutes. Rather, he was more concerned with the preceding 58 minutes.

“We need to play 60 minutes like we got the goalie pulled all the time,” Quinn said. “And that’s going to be our challenge tomorrow night.”