AMHERST — On Friday night, the No. 9 Boston University men’s hockey team took the ice at the Mullins Center three days before its upcoming Beanpot championship game.
But before the Terriers (16-7-4, 9-4-3 Hockey East) could shift their focus to No. 4 Boston College, they had to face the University of Massachusetts Amherst in an important league game.
BU scored four goals in the first period en route to an eventual 6-3 win over the Minutemen (7-17-4, 2-12-4 Hockey East), extending BU’s winning streak to five games.
“I liked our focus, I thought we were ready from the drop of the puck,” said BU head coach David Quinn. “I thought we kind of let the score and situation maybe at times dictate our commitment and our honest effort, but I thought we responded when we needed to.”
Here’s what we liked in the Terriers’ win.
BU’s fourth line of sophomore winger Chase Phelps, senior center Mike Moran and junior forward Tommy Kelley accounted for two of the Terriers’ six goals and four of their 15 points on the evening. Andrew has more about the trio’s success in his sider.
It’s been a trend for the Terriers this year, especially as of late, but BU got goals from all throughout the lineup on Friday night. Three of four lines registered markers and at least one player on each d-pair had a point as well.
“It’s nice when you spread it around …” Quinn said. “Any time you can do that, you get a better chance to win. You don’t want to be a one-line team, and we’re certainly not that right now, so it’s nice to get contributions from those guys and, again, if you’re gonna go places, you need depth and you need everybody contributing, and we certainly did that tonight.”
In his third multi-point game this season, freshman wing Jordan Greenway found the back of the net twice for his third and fourth goals of the year. Greenway now has at least one point in four of his past five games and has posted a 2-5—7 scoring line in that time.
“Obviously it’s a nice feeling,” he said of his two-goal effort. “I really worked on scoring in practice this week, but I just worked hard down low and it just paid off.”
Greenway added that his two senior linemates, assistant captain Matt Lane and forward Ahti Oksanen, have taught him “little things” that they’ve learned in their time at BU.
“They always tell me to have more of a shooting mentality,” he said. “…It’s just been a great time with those two line mates. They’ve really helped me out a lot.”
Freshman winger Oskar Andrén was rewarded for his increasingly good play on Friday night in the form of his first collegiate goal and what would be the game-winning tally. Andrén ripped the puck in the slot and roofed it over goalie Nic Renyard to put BU up 4-1 at the end of the first period.
“It’s nice to see him get rewarded with a goal,” Quinn said.
Sarah and Andrew weren’t late
While I wasn’t late to the game at Mullins Center last season (I actually made it in time for warmups!), Sarah, Andrew and our old pal Conor Ryan were kept from Amherst by some pretty heavy Columbus Day traffic. This year, however, we all got there on time and had a blast, woo!
The penalty kill was not a bright point in BU’s game Friday, but it wasn’t necessarily as bad as the stat sheet said either. UMass scored two of its three goals on the power play even though the Minutemen “didn’t really have much going on that,” according to Quinn, and the coach added he “didn’t think [BU was] as bad as giving up two out of three opportunities reflects.”
He said maybe being on the Olympic-sized ice had something to do with it, but affirmed that it’s something the Terriers need to work on and that it’s seemed that “when [they’re] off, [they’re] off.”
“I didn’t think we cleared pucks the way we need to, just not really paying attention, systematically just understanding what our responsibilities are,” Quinn said. “We got a little bit sloppy, roaming around a little bit too much, not stopping and starting. We’ve got to work on that.”
The goal that shouldn’t have been
As mentioned before, UMass was pretty prolific on the power play Friday, scoring its first two goals of the game on the man advantage. The opening marker for the Minutemen, however, probably shouldn’t have counted.
About seven minutes into the first period, with bodies in front, senior goaltender Sean Maguire looked to have successfully saved and held onto the puck and so the officials blew the whistle, signaling that play was dead. However, forward Ray Pigozzi finished off the play and put the puck in the back of the net, which prompted the refs to call it a goal. After reviewing the play, the officiating crew determined it was a good goal, despite having blown the whistle prior to it being scored.
“I mean, it should not have been a goal,” Quinn said. “The whistle was blown, everybody in the building knew it.”
It tends to happen when teams are facing a large deficit, but as the game progressed, it appeared that the Minutemen began to drive play a bit more than the Terriers did. After outshooting UMass 14-6 in the first period, BU was outshot for the remaining 40 minutes by a 27-20 margin. Total shot attempts were relatively even for the final two periods, with the Terriers holding a slight 43-41 advantage, but Quinn said they “tailed off a little bit.”
“Lost a little bit of focus, but attribute some of that to the way UMass played,” he said. “They never quit, tough when you’re down 3-0 then 4-1 after one, but they kept coming at us.”
“I thought we had a chance to put them away a few times and we just didn’t do it,” he added. “We let them hang around.”