By: Dan Shulman
- Jittery, Shaky Starts
For the fourth game in a row, including exhibition games, the Boston University Terriers experienced jitters in the early stages of the first period on Saturday. It certainly wasn’t a slow start, as the teams raced up and down the ice. However, UConn gave the Terriers an early scare, as Huskies’ forward Evan Richardson rung the crossbar in the opening seconds. Despite the shaky start, the Terriers were able to get the game’s opening goal for the first time in this regular season.
- Net Front Presence in Defensive Zone
Both UConn goals on Saturday night came as a result of poor coverage in front of the net. The defense was unable to clear loose pucks away from the crease, resulting in two goals from former Terrier commit Max Letunov. Regardless of whether the issue is poor coverage or failure to clean up the garbage in the net-front area, the Terriers need to work on better protecting their own cage to keep opponents off the scoreboard. However, the defense has looked much improved overall since the exhibition mishap against the US Under-18 Team.
- Potent Special Teams
Last season, the Terriers’ special teams units both thrived, as they were among the leaders in power play and penalty kill percentage in the nation. With a different look this season, BU doesn’t seem to have missed a beat. Scoring two power play goals on Saturday, the Terriers not only showed the ability to draw penalties, but also to capitalize on the man-advantage, converting at 21.4% on the young season. On the flip side, the BU penalty kill has been stellar this year, killing at a rate of 92.3% while allowing just 16 shots on 13 opportunities.
- Life after Eichel
The Terriers found themselves in a mode last season where if things went wrong, Jack Eichel would save the day. As Eichel has moved on to the greener pastures of the NHL, the Terriers have reacted well to the loss of such of prolific player. With an entirely different offensive approach, where all four lines are balanced and either one could be the best on any given night. BU has shown good poise without such a top player, taking a more team oriented philosophy that, in due time, will be tough to stop.