A fourth-round selection (113th overall) by the Penguins in the 2012 NHL Draft, Maguire ended his senior campaign with a .920 save percentage and 2.41 goals-against average. Maguire also earned the 2016 Beanpot MVP and Eberly Award for the top goaltender of the tournament in his final year on Commonwealth Avenue.
Maguire ended his BU career with a 29-29-2 record and .922 save percentage in three seasons.
He is the fourth player since the end of the season to sign a professional contract, joining Matt Grzelcyk, Danny O’Regan and Matt Lane.
But as some have mentioned in comment sections and on fan forums, it seems as if BU’s season began its downward spiral during and after the Beanpot final against Boston College. The team had just five wins in 12 games between the Beanpot and the final game of the season, with six losses and a tie mixed in.
Of course, we can’t really get into the heads of what was going on mentally during that span, but we can point to a few things in particular that we were able to see on the ice over the final weeks of the season that could possibly account for the slip-up.
Offense, defense or goaltending?
Twelve goals allowed in two games. That makes it hard to win at any level, especially in the NCAA against top teams like the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Denver.
And BU didn’t win either of those games, and none down the stretch in what became its final three games of the year. But who’s really at fault? Is it senior goaltender Sean Maguire, who didn’t look exactly like himself during the team’s postseason run? Based on a lot of the discussion on the live blogs here, some believe that to be the case.
But let’s set the record straight. Maguire was nowhere near as sharp as he had been earlier in the season during the past few games. For long stretches, like during the Beanpot, he was absolutely lockdown in the crease. He was far from it during the Hockey East Tournament and one game in St. Paul. But the onus should not fall squarely on his shoulders. Far from it, actually. Because without Maguire, BU maybe doesn’t even make it this far in the season.
Some soft goals were let in, yes, but Maguire’s defense in front of him was poor and did not play particularly well in its own zone. Especially against Denver, there were plenty of turnovers at the defensive blue line, and both he and sophomore Connor LaCouvee were hung out to dry multiple times.
This team’s defense was supposed to be the core, the big factor in why this year’s team would be in contention for another Frozen Four run. And, at times, the unit did play up to its potential. However, there were too many instances, like Saturday’s loss, where the D corps failed to show up.
Senior winger Ahti Oksanen said a lot of the talk and work in practice over the last two weeks was based on defensive zone coverage and just generally being more responsible with and without the puck. Maybe for the first 10 minutes of the game things looked better, but by the time BU failed to convert on its second power play of the first period, everything spiraled out of control.
The attention to detail and lack of control in the defensive zone allowed Denver to walk all over BU for most of the night. For the first time since Frozen Fenway in January 2014, BU gave up seven goals in one game. Defense clearly was an issue, but this argument almost becomes a moot point due to the fact the offense did next to nothing.
It wasn’t as if the offense just struggled against Denver, the issues seem to go all the way back to at least the Beanpot title game against Boston College. Consider this: BU played eight of its final 12 games against teams that made the NCAA Tournament (one of those games being in the tournament against Denver). And in those eight games, the Terriers recorded just 11 goals. That’s 1.375 goals per game against tournament-level teams. Three times in those eight games, BU was shut out. The team was not once held goal-less in its first 27 games of the season.
For a team that averaged 3.18 goals per game, and was one of the higher scoring teams in Hockey East for most of the season, the offense sputtered at a time when it was needed the most. It’s hard to have the conversation about bad defense when the offense could only muster so little. — Andrew Battifarano
Greenway move to the first line
It’s hard not to take notice, specifically, of the impact on the offense when freshman forward Jordan Greenway moved back to the first line after playing 15 games on the second line with seniors Matt Lane and Ahti Oksanen.
Greenway had seven points in his final nine games on the first line, but had 15 points in the 15 games he played alongside Lane and Oksanen.
Lane, meanwhile, had three points in the final nine games without Greenway on his line.
In the 15 games he played with Greenway on his line, he had 16 points.
Oksanen, with Greenway on his line, he had 20 points in 15 games. Without Greenway, he also had three points in his final nine games.
Furthermore, in the span that BU had that combination of players on the second line, the team had a 10-4-1 record, and averaged 3.8 goals per game. After moving Greenway, the team went 4-4-1 and averaged 2.22 goals per game.
That’s a small sample size, and obviously other factors come into play, but that’s still three one-point-per-game players when they play together, and with Greenway’s removal from that line, two of them became disappointingly unproductive as the year wound down. There was something about that line that worked, something that clicked — probably some of the best chemistry we saw from anyone this season — and it got taken apart. — SK
Lack of adjustments, lack of accountability
Save for Greenway’s move to the first line, and a brief stint from Bobo Carpenter on the second line, we seldom came to the rink this season and were shocked by any sort of move on the line charts. That goes for both forwards and defense. And there were plenty of arguments from fans about lack of depth, lack of options, but here’s the thing: The Terriers still had options. Not many, but options existed.
The most prominent example of this came on the defense, though. It was something I asked in January when we were at the University of Maine — was Quinn just going to keep rotating that sixth defenseman spot between Brien Diffley and John MacLeod? Was that a tangible solution going forward?
He said he didn’t look at it that way, and he said he’d reward whoever was playing best in practice. Yet that remained essentially the defensive situation — Diffley in sometimes, MacLeod when he wasn’t — for the remainder of the season, with the other five spots locked.
In games where he had his entire defense, all eight players, at his disposal — no injuries, suspensions or World Juniors appearances — the locked-in pairs of Matt Grzelcyk/Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Hickey/Brandon Fortunato never changed. Not once, until Saturday’s game, when he put MacLeod back with Grzelcyk.
We don’t see practice, but we see the lack of adjustments during game time — and that suggests a lack of accountability. A bad performance won’t put your spot in the lineup even remotely at stake, and it didn’t seem like players were forced to prove anything.
Something I don’t think I’ll be able to let go of about this season: The defense that was supposed to be one of the best in the nation, and ranked 30th in the nation after Saturday’s game. It regressed from last year, and didn’t do anything to get better as the season went on. I might be a bit more sympathetic if they’d tried to mix it up during the season and it still didn’t work. But that didn’t happen.
Here’s the bottom line — BU was riding a short bench, but not an empty one. And even if you want to argue that BU didn’t have any further options, there’s still a huge difference between not having enough bodies and not changing anything with those bodies at all. — SK
LOWELL — At the Tsongas Center on Saturday, things got bad quickly, and then they got even worse. The No. 8 Boston University men’s hockey team needed a win to advance in the Hockey East Tournament, after losing the first game of the best-of-three series on Friday to the No. 11 University of Massachusetts Lowell.
It was never really a contest. Lowell took a 3-0 lead by the end of the second period, and added two more goals in the final frame for a 5-0 final result, sweeping BU and ending the Terriers’ chances at a Hockey East Tournament run.
Boyle was good…but then there’s also BU’s offense
Credit to Lowell’s goaltender, Kevin Boyle, who secured a new school record for shutouts in a single season when he got his seventh of the year on Saturday.
Boyle attributed his teammates for blocking shots — BU had 70 shot attempts, but only 24 of them went on net, the lowest total for BU since a 4-2 loss to Michigan on Nov. 21. For the most part, save for “a pretty good flurry right before they made it 3-0” that BU head coach David Quinn noted, it never felt like BU was ever threatening.
Only one player had more than four shots — freshman forward Ryan Cloonan, who hasn’t had more than two shots on goal since January — and BU’s usual suspects shooting-wise, seniors Ahti Oksanen (one shot on goal Saturday), Danny O’Regan (three SOG) and Matt Lane (three SOG), were kept relatively quiet.
BU’s goaltending decision
After Lowell’s second goal, Quinn decided to pull starting goaltender Sean Maguire and replace him with sophomore Connor LaCouvee, which had all three of us sort of scratching our heads — and a lot of the BU fans near where we were sitting were scratching their heads, too.
Quinn referred to the decision as a “gut feeling.” While neither of the goals was exactly the most difficult test Maguire has had to face this year, it seemed a bit odd at the time. But it’s not like BU had any goals by the end of it, so it didn’t really matter by game’s end whether the goalies combined to give up only two goals or five goals.
And it’s not on us really to say whether Maguire would have given up the three subsequent goals that LaCouvee did once he took over, or if Maguire would have settled down after that. There’s no real reasonable way to predict that. But at the time, it was a questionable move, at least to me, that you’d pull the guy who’s been the one to overwhelmingly keep you in games all season long. 2-0 isn’t an insurmountable deficit to overcome — BU’s done it before — so it still seemed pretty premature, gut feeling or not.
The team mentality — missing?
Something the three of us have admired in our time covering college hockey is how well UMass Lowell always seems to do for having, relatively speaking, not a whole lot of “star power,” at least in the traditional sense.
And a pretty interesting point was brought up Saturday, so I think it’s worth discussing in terms of comparing BU to Lowell. Quinn noted that the River Hawks “may not have stars other than their goalie, but a lot of good players.” Which, if you’re looking at awards, recognition, et cetera, is true — just one of Lowell’s players is drafted, and he, Evan Campbell, a fifth-round draft pick by the Edmonton Oilers, hasn’t played since Feb. 12.
Otherwise, you’re looking at a team that has made the NCAA Tournament three times in the last four years — just barely missing out last season after losing the Hockey East Championship in 2015 — and Norm Bazin has a career 122-55-18 record through now his fifth season with the River Hawks.
Bazin seems to have it figured out. His teams play hard and earn every bit of success they’ve attained. They’ve built success over the years, without that “one guy” — save for goaltender Connor Hellebuyck a few years back and Boyle this year — leading the charge.
BU has good players, but they haven’t gotten the consistent, top-to-bottom effort that they need in order to succeed. O’Regan, Oksanen, Grzelcyk — all good players, obviously, but they’re not going to change the game for BU that a guy like Jack Eichel did.
And that’s what successful teams do — when they don’t have that star, they compensate for it with well-rounded, motivated, solid production from all four lines. While early in the year it seemed like the scoring might be spread out a bit for BU, that hasn’t been the case as of late. There are a few pretty good guys leading the way, but none that break through, and significantly more guys lower on the lines that have yet to step up.
You can have all the good players you can recruit — all the draft picks or projected picks, all the former national team players — but if that doesn’t translate to a full-team mentality, then it’s just meaningless talk. No one’s stepped up as a star to carry this team, and they haven’t played as enough of a team to compensate for that.
Another trophy out of reach
BU is, essentially, mathematically in the NCAA Tournament, per College Hockey News’s Pairwise Probability Matrix. So it’s not as if the loss Saturday was season-ending, but it’s certainly a gut punch to the extent that the Terriers don’t have a shot at some form of hardware, beyond an improbable run to the national title game.
Though, as Quinn pointed out in his presser, Providence got knocked out in the quarterfinals of last year’s Hockey East Tournament, and…well, we all know how that turned out. So theoretically, it’s not impossible for BU to pull off some sort of deep championship run.
But this entire weekend, nothing felt within BU’s reach. If you want to look back to the University of Massachusetts Amherst series, too, that wasn’t exactly pretty, either. This team, frankly, has done very little in recent weeks to instill much confidence going forward.
The decisive goal for Lowell (22-8-5) came off the stick of forward Adam Chapie, a power-play strike with 4:38 left in the final period.
Bounces one way or the other could have changed the outcome of this one, as things tend to happen in playoff games. Puck luck remained mostly on the side of Lowell on Friday, but we’ll explore the negatives and positives a little further in this Pluses and Minuses.
Special teams fail
It’s noted early in the piece, and for good reason, as the respective power plays were the difference. To briefly summarize, BU (21-11-5) went 0-for-2 with a man up, while the River Hawks did their part on the power play, finishing at a 50 percent clip (2-for-4).
“If you’re going to have a successful power play, you’ve got to be alert, you’ve got to be ready to do a few things,” Quinn said, “and both their goals, we just blew our responsibility.”
We could probably break this down for hours, but, in short, BU’s effort on special teams was just not good enough to win a hockey game, especially one of this magnitude.
Quinn said after the game that he liked the way his team played 5-on-5, and for the majority of the game, BU did indeed play well at even strength. One mishap in the neutral zone, however, proved costly halfway through the third period.
The Terriers pressed in Lowell’s end for most of the third, but the River Hawks took advantage with space in neutral ice, converting on forward Michael Louria’s goal at 11:35.
Louria got the puck through the neutral zone and into the high slot uninhibited, allowing him to wrist a shot in the low corner of the net, under senior goaltender Sean Maguire‘s blocker. Louria said his shot hit a stick in front of him, which helped him score, but any way you put it, a well-placed shot in open space is a tough matchup for any goaltender.
Chances pile up, results don’t
The shots were there but the goals were not. BU racked up 35 shots, including 18 in the final 20 minutes of play, as compared to Lowell’s game total of 19. BU outshot Lowell by six in the first, but skated to the dressing room in a scoreless tie, which Quinn noted was frustrating.
Yet, even as BU pressured goaltender Kevin Boyle in the final minutes, he continued to make all of the necessary stops to prevail in the series opener. In two of the three games that BU has faced Lowell this season, Boyle has limited the Terriers’ to three or fewer goals.
“Sometimes shots can be deceiving but we held a team to 19 shots and we get 35, you might think you’ve got a better chance to win” Quinn said. “But again, it comes back to special teams. And you can’t go 2-for-4 on the penalty kill.”
It could very well be a product of playing good defenses (and strong goaltenders), but BU has scored more than three goals in a game only twice since February, both against last-place University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Scoring three goals should be enough to win you most hockey games, but for a team that scored at a good pace in the first half, goals have been harder to come by over the last two months.
JFK — the good streak
In such a fickle game like hockey, scoring can come and go in bunches. Example — freshman center Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson.
BU’s first-line center proved early in the year to not only have adept passing skills, but he had some scoring touch, with seven goals through Jan. 22. But good streaks can lead to empty ones, and Forsbacka Karlsson felt that through much of February and into early March. The freshman had no goals and just five points in a 12-game stretch lasting from that Jan. 22 game through March 4.
Finally, in the second game of BU’s first-round series with UMass (8-24-4) he broke through with two goals. He continued that scoring against Lowell, tallying BU’s first of the night early in the second period, walking in from the left circle and beating Boyle five-hole on a quick wrister to open up the scoring at 6:22.
“Obviously when you’ve got your first-line center scoring goals, it’s certainly a great sign,” Quinn said. “He’s had a great year, and as we all know, sometimes scoring can be streaky, and he went through a stretch where he was a little bit snakebitten, but obviously two goals in the last game we played and a goal tonight — hopefully that trend continues.”
The silver lining
Moral victories mean almost nothing when it comes down to the postseason, but there is something that BU can at least take some solace in after Friday’s loss.
If there’s one thing Quinn’s bunch has done exceptionally well the past two seasons, it’s that it hasn’t lost two games in a row very often. In fact, since last year, the Terriers have only lost back-t0-back games just once, and that came early on in this campaign on Oct. 27 and 30 in games against the University of Connecticut and Merrimack College.
“It’s been a resilient group, we’re going to have to be very resilient tomorrow night, that’s for sure,” Quinn said. “I liked a lot of the things we did tonight, we’re just going to have to clean up obviously the penalty kill and a few other areas to create offense, we’ve got to go to the net more consistently.”
The University of Massachusetts Amherst gave the No. 9 Boston University men’s hockey team quite the challenge in the first game of the Hockey East Tournament, pushing BU into an overtime contest. Ultimately, though, the Terriers earned a 2-1 victory to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series at Agganis Arena on Friday night.
There were a couple things we didn’t like, but a whole, whole, whole lot of things we really, really, really didn’t like. Here’s just a sampling:
Maguire in OT
After immediately feeling like Carpenter was the only good thing about BU in Friday’s game, I decided that was an unfair sentiment toward senior goaltender Sean Maguire, who had some mindblowing saves in overtime — including one on a delayed penalty where he dove in front of a wide-open net and made a blocker save to keep the score knotted.
“I thought the game was over,” said BU coach David Quinn. “He makes a phenomenal save to allow us to regroup.”
Twenty-eight saves on 29 shots isn’t too shabby of a night, either. His save percentage on the year is now at .930 and his goals-against average sits at 2.09.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how lightly the Terriers were taking UMass entering this game, considering they’d beaten them by scores of 7-2 and 6-3 already this season.
You could point to the fact that it’s a playoff game, a fresh start, where UMass has nothing to lose. But BU showed next to no urgency through the first two periods — looking like, quite possibly, they have have underestimated just how hard the Minutemen would come out in this game.
Here’s what Quinn had to say:
“Well, they’re 18-to-22-year-olds, and you beat a team 7-2 and 6-3 and there’s 700 people in the building,” Quinn said. “I without question thought that human nature was a factor in the first two periods from our end of it.
“That being said, I thought they played very well. They played hard, they were physical, they blocked a ton of shots, so I don’t want to discredit the way UMass played.”
Here’s Carpenter’s take:
“I don’t think so, I just think it’s playoff hockey,” he said. “And everyone’s got a chip on their shoulder to get the championship. I think the rest of the games are going to be the same way, everyone’s going to give it their best so they don’t end their season early.”
And here’s senior forward Ahti Oksanen’s take:
“That’s what coach told us too, just that obviously we really destroyed them the first two games,” Oksanen said. “So it might’ve been that we started a little slow and thought that would be just an easy game for us, but obviously that wasn’t the truth.”
Couldn’t solve Renyard — or get a rebound
While Maguire had a good night, UMass goalie Nic Renyard’s was even better. He had a career-best 46 saves in the game, and BU couldn’t figure out how to get past him, save for some great play by Carpenter.
That being said, Renyard left plenty of rebounds up for grabs in the slot, however, and BU couldn’t seem to capitalize, as nobody was ever in the right position. Forty-eight shots on goal is an impressive number, but there were even more chances there that the Terriers couldn’t seem to grasp.
BU had three total shots on three power plays.
That really says it all, but Oksanen had more to say about what’s going wrong on the power play, which hasn’t been right for quite some time. They’ve gotten just one power-play goal in seven attempts over the past three games.
“That’s a good question, if we know what we’re doing wrong, we would change it right away,” Oksanen said. “But … I guess we’re a little much in so-called ‘power-play mode,’ just not playing normal hockey. We have our setup, and we just stand there, and not really do anything. We just need to play simple hockey and get the puck in.”
Basically — too much passing, not enough shooting.
Quinn exaggerated a bit when he said that there were only 700 people in the building, but just 1,752 fans showed up to Agganis Arena on Friday night, which, according to BU Sports Information Director Brian Kelley, is the lowest total in building history for a men’s hockey game.
That can probably be partially attributed to the fact that spring break is underway for BU students. Regardless, though, even though it’s UMass and only a first-round matchup — yikes. This weekend’s the last time BU will play at home this year, so just a bit unfortunate.
Last home game with the three of us
Andrew’s headed off for spring vacation, so he’ll miss tomorrow’s game — thus making Friday night the last time all three of us will cover a game together at Agganis Arena. We’ll have our friend Nick Frazier helping us out tomorrow, but regardless, sad to see our last time together at a place with many, many good memories.
Senior goaltender Sean Maguire kept BU in it for most of the night, but his opposer, sophomore Cal Petersen, made 39 saves to preserve the Notre Dame (19-8-7, 15-5-2 Hockey East) shutout.
Freshman Dylan Malmquist provided the only offense needed with a power-play goal at the 11:47 mark of the second period.
BU’s loss, in conjunction with No. 11 University of Massachusetts Lowell’s win over No. 2 Boston College, means the Terriers slipped to the No. 5 seed in Hockey East, so there will be no first-round bye in the cards.
We’ll take a look at the bad and the good in our breakdown from Compton Family Ice Arena:
Opportunity knocks, no answer
BU had the chance to clinch the third or fourth seeds in the conference playoffs under a few scenarios, the easiest of them being a win or tie against the Fighting Irish.
But, as I’m sure you’ve read up to this point, BU did neither of those in its regular-season finale. Instead of getting a first-round bye and home ice in the quarterfinals, the Terriers will play host in the first round and have to travel to a road site in the quarterfinals, if they advance out of the opening series.
The silver lining in this? BU will host 12th-seeded University of Massachusetts Amherst, a team BU has defeated four times in as many games the last two seasons, outscoring the Minutemen (8-22-4, 2-16-4 Hockey East) by a combined score of 30-11.
“Obviously you’re hoping to get a point tonight, allow yourself to get a bye, but didn’t happen and, as a I told our guys, ‘You’re hockey players, you get to play more hockey,'” Quinn said. “That’s how you got to look at it. Right? Obviously lick our wounds from tonight, they can feel sorry for themselves for the next 24 hours, but you get to play more hockey. That’s how you got to look at it.
“It’s an opportunity to get better, it’s playoff time, it’s the best time of year.”
Before Saturday, Petersen had 15 games this season in which he stopped at least 30 shots. Make that 16 now.
Whether it was the glove, pads or blocker, Petersen made some terrific saves all night, and Friday for that matter, too.
At times, BU was hemmed in its own zone and couldn’t get any offense going toward net, but especially toward the end of the game, the shots came in and Petersen was there for each one.
“It’s frustrating, I thought we had some good chances,” said senior assistant captain Matt Lane, who registered one shot on net. “I thought at times we could have challenged a little more, but he’s a great goaltender and he was on his game tonight.”
Power play ineffective
This has been a recurring theme in this section of our articles, so we’ll try and keep this part brief.
At times in this game during BU’s power play, it was difficult to even see that the Terriers even had an extra man on the ice. There were a lot of passes in the neutral zone (sloppy ones at that) and not a whole lot of shooting on net. All three man advantages came in the second period, and at least on the first one, BU did next to nothing.
On those three power plays, BU totaled four shots, and it wasn’t as if Petersen was pressured in any of these particular instances.
More than one thing attributed to the lack of success, Quinn said.
“Just, we lost a lot of battles,” Quinn said. “Sometimes what can happen on a power play is you lose sight of the fact that you’ve got to play hockey within a power play. Go here, do this, do that, and you’ve got to play hockey within the power play and I think when we’re not effective on our power play, we don’t play hockey within our power play. We go to our spots.
“I just thought we lost some one-on-one battles, I thought we were a little inept coming up ice, and it cost you.”
Maguire hangs in, shots come late
BU’s senior goaltender didn’t face a tremendous number of shots through two periods (13), but he saw a lot of action his way in the early stages of the third.
Notre Dame pressed for a game-breaking goal, but Maguire hung in there, making 15 saves on 15 chances. Quinn said Maguire did all of the things he’s been doing all season to be successful in this one.
And while the Terriers could not make their final push come to fruition, it wasn’t for a lack of effort. There was almost nothing going on in the Fighting Irish zone in the opening minutes of the third, but around the halfway point, BU made a rush to get the score even. BU had 13 shots and goal and attempted 24, including one in which senior assistant captain Danny O’Regan was denied on in the final five minutes.
McAvoy’s big hit
Freshman defenseman Charlie McAvoy has been on the top pair for most of this season, bringing an offensive element to the game any time he’s on the ice.
But tonight, we’ll give him a plus for the crushing hit he put on forward Connor Hurley late in the first period.
They played well in what would be described by BU head coach David Quinn as a playoff atmosphere, and we thought so, too.
Here’s what we liked and didn’t like in the victory:
Depth and the fourth line
BU’s second goal of the evening was scored by senior forward Mike Moran, who was back to centering the fourth line as junior forward Robbie Baillargeon returned to the lineup after missing last weekend’s slate with the University of New Hampshire. Moran and his wingers, sophomore Chase Phelps and junior Tommy Kelley, provided an energetic and physical presence on the ice.
In his postgame press conference, Quinn praised the way the win on Friday seemed to come from the top of the lineup all the way through the bottom. He said it was like a postseason hockey game in a lot of ways, and that the Terriers’ effort was that of a “true team win.”
“I thought our goalie was really good. I thought our forwards to our first line to our fourth line played well. Our D played well. And just really proud of our guys,” he said. “To come in to this building and beat a very good hockey team, well-coached, they’ve got a lot of good players there. It takes all 20 guys pulling in the right direction. I thought we had that tonight.”
Quinn added that this is the time of year when the little things really start to matter. Not that they don’t early in the year, he clarified, but they tend to mean more now.
“Just really proud of our guys,” he said. “They really answered the bell.”
Much of that had to do with the way the Terriers defended throughout the game. Neither of the Irish’s goals came at 5-on-5, and Quinn attributed that to the way BU played its opponent.
“I thought we did a really good job of closing on them down low, we were really conscious of our body positioning, keeping our body between the net and offensive player,” he said. “We were quick, our second defender did a good job getting to their second guy, supporting the play, and I thought we were consistent with that.
“There weren’t a lot of times we didn’t do that and against that team we’d better to that because they’ve got a lot of big, strong forwards,” Quinn continued. “They’re elusive down low, and I thought we did a really good job defending.”
It seems like putting senior netminder Sean Maguire in the pluses category has become an almost weekly occurrence, but he came up big for the team again on Friday. Maguire recorded 33 saves on 35 shots and was named first star of the game, bumping his season save percentage up a couple points from .925 to .927.
“He made some big saves …” Quinn said. “He missed an awful lot of hockey last year, and he didn’t play at all and got off to a bit of a slow start, but he’s been a rock back there since early December. And if you’re going to have a chance in our sport you’d better have a goalie, and we have a goalie.”
At 5-on-5, Maguire was perfect, as the two goals he allowed during the evening came at 5-on-4 and 6-on-5. And even with Notre Dame’s extra skater on the ice, the goaltender recorded five saves on six Irish power-play shots and fended off all but one chance during the 2:28 goalie Cal Petersen was pulled at the end of the game.
That shot, however, was put in the back of the net a bit at the fault of Maguire, who had flung the puck down the ice at the empty net for what we assume was an attempt at a goalie goal (which would have been awesome), but it missed and wound up being an icing. The faceoff came back to BU’s end, and the Irish benefited from a rebound and bodies in front to pull within one.
From there, though, and aside from the other goal Notre Dame scored, Maguire’s positioning and play acted as a brick wall for BU.
With the Terriers’ win on Friday, things have obviously become more clear when it comes to the conference playoff picture. BU is capable of clinching a top-four seed in the Hockey East tournament and a first round bye in the following ways (also thank you Hockey East for providing this):
1. BU gets the No. 3 seed with a win on Saturday
2. BU gets the No. 4 seed with a tie on Saturday
3. BU gets the No. 4 seed with a loss AND the University of Massachusetts Lowell loss or tie to Boston College on Saturday
4. BU gets the No. 5 seed with a loss AND a UMass Lowell win over BC on Saturday
Senior forward Ahti Oksanen and Moran both notched goals in the win Friday, and senior assistant captain Danny O’Regan also registered a pair of assists for four of nine BU points in the game coming from the senior class.
Updated point total for the Terriers: 113-193—306
Updated point total for the seniors: 56-70—126
First win at Compton Family Ice Arena
Just a quick fun fact, but Friday’s win marked the Terriers’ first against the Irish since Oct. 10, 2010, and, subsequently, their first victory at the Compton Family Ice Arena, which opened in Oct. 2011.
BU ended both the first and second periods on the penalty kill Friday night, which is less than ideal for sure, especially since the Terriers gave up a goal at the end of the first. This hasn’t really been an issue during the rest of the season, so I’m being a little nitpicky since it’s not a trend, but naturally it’s something BU doesn’t want to and probably won’t continue.
I know, I know, it got a goal, but the power play did not look great in its one chance on the ice Friday. BU had trouble with its breakout and could not enter the zone cleanly while operating with the man advantage. It really took until Oksanen’s tally for the unit to generate much of anything at all. Still, a goal’s a goal, and the Terriers now have four markers on their last 11 power plays.
BC (20-4-4, 11-1-4 Hockey East) has now won the Beanpot five times in the last six years.
“Certainly an exciting game for everybody in the stands, and the last two periods it was a competitive hockey game,” said BU head coach David Quinn. “That’s what people expect when they see BU and BC play, and up-and-down action, both teams had great chances in the second and the third, they certainly had a majority of the chances in the first and we felt very fortunate to get out 0-0 after one.”
It was scoreless for almost 62 minutes, but that’s not to say there isn’t a lot to talk about. We’ll break this one down in this Beanpot championship Pluses and Minuses.
Senior netminder Sean Maguire was on his game throughout the title game and really the entire Beanpot Tournament. BC had a good deal of chances throughout the first three periods of the game, but Maguire stood on his head just about every time.
One of the few times Maguire didn’t see the puck, though, things went wrong for BU (16-8-4, 9-4-3 Hockey East). After both teams tried to get their legs back at the beginning of overtime, the Eagles got the first real opportunity about two minutes in and made it count.
As Tuch skated into the high slot area, BU’s defense tried to contain him before he could shoot, but the bodies standing in front of Maguire caused an unintentional screen, setting up an unpleasant result.
“I think if I saw all of it I would’ve stopped it,” Maguire said after the game. “But he [Tuch] made a great shot, and the shot crossed body post in. That’s a pro-level shot.”
Slog of a start
Against a rival like BC, and in a game of importance such as this one, it’s generally pertinent to get things started in the first period on the right foot. The Terriers, however, did not have one of their better opening periods on Monday night.
One thing that stands out right away on the shot chart is the fact that BC not only attempted 32 shots in the opening stanza, but a majority of them came in the slot and home plate area. Life was not easy for Maguire, to say the least.
BU was mostly kept to the outside of the faceoff circles and did not really kick things into gear until the second period.
Sloppy play, Greenway to the box
For anyone who’s watched a BU-BC, you know it can get chippy and downright nasty during and after the play. This one was no different, especially on the BU end of things.
Freshman forward Jordan Greenway seemed to be in the middle of it all on Monday, drawing the ire from a lot of the BC contingent in the arena.
Greenway was involved in a play in the third period in which BC goalie Thatcher Demko was knocked down for a few minutes, and he also drew three penalties during one scrum in the second period, including a 10-minute misconduct. BU killed off all of the penalty time, but was without Greenway’s presence until early in the third period.
“Well certainly missed him, but I thought we continued to play a pretty good second period,” Quinn said. “…But any time you’re missing a guy who’s 6 foot 5, 230 pounds against that team with the big, strong D corps that they have for an extended period of time, it’s not going to help you, that’s for sure, but I don’t think that had anything to do with the outcome of the game.”
BU’s offense could not muster a goal in what turned to be Demko’s ninth shutout of the season (a new single-season BC record), but the real issue tonight was the lighting at TD Garden.
With 8:53 to play in the first period, the main lights above the ice slowly dimmed and then turned out. The teams skated around the ice to stay loose, but were eventually sent back to their respective dressing rooms. The situation was finally resolved after nearly 30 minutes, but it took longer than a normal intermission to get the lights up and running.
BC head coach Jerry York said after the game said both teams were offered the chance to play a 29-minute second period instead of finishing the first, but York said he and Quinn declined the opportunity.
Maguire nearly perfect
We’ve mentioned it in this article a few times already, but Maguire was good in this one — really good.
He kept BU in the game with 23-first period saves and finished with 41 stops on 42 chances. Maguire, for the tournament, saved 65 shots on 67 opportunities for a .970 save percentage. He wouldn’t carry the Beanpot trophy, but he did earn Beanpot MVP and the Eberly Award for the highest save percentage in the tournament.
The only two goaltenders to have a higher single-tournament save percentage than Maguire were former BU netminders John Curry (.985) and Rick DiPietro (.981).
Sarah will have more on Maguire’s stellar performance in her sidebar.
The first period was not one BU will be writing home about anytime soon. The rest of the game, especially from a defensive standpoint, the Terriers did a much better job in their own end.
BU pushed the Eagles to the perimeter and limited the number of “Grade-A” opportunities they could get on net. By game’s end, the total shot attempts were closer than the first period may have indicated, with BC holding a slight 68-62 edge.
“…I thought in the second and third period we did a much better job of being decisive and just making a decision and doing it with conviction,” Quinn said, “and that made everybody else’s job easier and that’s why you saw the dramatic drop in shots and scoring chances and made it a hockey game.”
No. 9 Boston University men’s hockey head coach David Quinn praised his team last weekend for giving full, 60-minute efforts in two wins over the University of Maine.
Those are the kind of games, he said, that are needed down the stretch drive as points become even more valuable. Even against a team like Merrimack College, one that had lost nine in a row coming into Friday, the Terriers would need another complete performance.
In another wire-to-wire effort, the Terriers (14-7-4, 8-4-3 Hockey East) shut out Merrimack, 4-0, with the combined efforts of two netminders, senior Sean Maguire and sophomore Connor LaCouvee.
Four different Terriers scored en route to BU’s third consecutive win and fourth game in a row which the team has earned at least a point.
“I thought we played smart hockey, we possessed it, we didnt turn the puck over,” Quinn said, “a lot of good things and a tough game to play, tough game to play.”
We’ll take a look at the good, the bad and the straight up weird in this Pluses and Minuses.
Lane at the top
We’re going to go out on a limb and assume not many people had Matt Lane as their preseason pick to be the team leader in goals.
But as of the end of this game, that’s where Lane finds himself, though he is technically tied with his classmate, winger Ahti Oksanen.
A week after Maine head coach Red Gendron said his team had “no answer” for Lane and his linemates, Lane scored his 14th goal of the season about halfway through the third period of this one, getting his own rebound and tapping the puck past Merrimack (7-14-5, 2-8-5 Hockey East) goaltender Collin Delia.
The goal was one portion of his three-point night, the second straight game that Lane has recorded three points. In his last four outings, Lane is averaging two points per game.
A lot of what Lane has done to get better in the goal department, according to Quinn, is the fact that he is adding more practice time to his shooting.
“Well, number one, he skates so well,” Quinn said. “Two, he’s really worked on his shot, he’s scored some goal-scorer’s goals. He can really snap it, he gets it off quick, he understands you gotta get inside the hash marks to create some offense and it’s great to see him get rewarded.
“I mean, 14 goals for him is a heck of a senior year.”
Speaking of the other skater with 14 goals, Oksanen added his latest tally at the 18:42 mark of the third period, BU’s fourth and final goal.
But the goal, in the grand scheme of the game, was irrelevant. However, for Oksanen, it was more than just stat-padder.
The empty-netter was Oksanen’s 50th-career goal in the BU uniform, a pretty impressive feat considering the fact that he was a full-time defenseman at this time two years ago. He also joins senior assistant captain Danny O’Regan as the second Terrier to reach the half-century mark in career goals this season.
For as much as he shoots the puck — both during games and practice — Oksanen makes it work and continues to be a force any time he touches the puck in the offensive zone.
Seniors stand out
If it hasn’t been apparent already, the big takeaway from this game was the fact that the seniors played well.
Four elder statesmen (Lane, Oksanen, O’Regan and captain Matt Grzelcyk) combined for six points in the win. O’Regan’s lone point of the night came on a shorthanded attempt in the second period where he took the puck from center ice and broke all alone on goal, beating Delia up high.
“Danny played great tonight, had a lot of energy in the third period,” Quinn said, “him and Matt Lane I thought had really good third periods and, again, your seniors, your seniors have to deliver and three of them get goals tonight so good night for them.”
In the crease, Maguire made all the stops he needed to (27 total), including 10 on Merrimack power-play chances. But that’s only a smidgen of what happened with Maguire tonight. More on that in the minuses…
Bad break for Maguire
Early in the first period during a Merrimack rush, Maguire didn’t quite look himself. It wasn’t the fact that he wasn’t stopping the puck, but he couldn’t move from post-to-post with the quickness that he normally has.
But it was no fault of his own. In an unfortunate incident, his skate blade somehow popped off, and he was forced to come out of the game for a 5:49 stretch to get it fixed.
In that brief span, Maguire not only lost his bid for a shutout (he would have had to have played the full game), but he also lost his chance for a win. Junior forward Robbie Baillargeon scored what turned out to be the decisive goal, which gave LaCouvee the victory.
It wasn’t as if the BU penalty kill wasn’t good, as it went a perfect 6-for-6 for the evening.
But the fact that the Terriers took six penalties in one game is definitely on the negative side. The second period could have gotten out of hand, with the Warriors garnering seven shots on net.
BU’s power play had ample opportunity to get an extra-man goal, but went 0-for-4. Going back to the Terriers’ 1-1 tie with No. 5 Boston College, BU is 1-for-18 on the power play.
Quinn held no secrets about his feelings toward the power-play unit on Friday.
“Didn’t like it,” Quinn said. “Not surprised we didn’t have success. Just, we’re too slow. We’re too methodical, we’re too slow, there’s no pace to our power play right now, which is kind of funny because it was clicking at a great pace when we came back from Christmas but we’re just, we don’t have a shooter’s mentality, we don’t pass it quick enough.